State of suspense: listen to more Alaskan mysteries in the Kate Shugak series.
©2004 Dana Stabenow; (P)2004 Books on Tape Inc.
"A Taint in the Blood, like its predecessors, can be read on two levels - as a cleverly-executed thriller with an intriguing protagonist or as a fascinating exploration of an exotic society with its own unique culture. Either way, you can't lose." (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"Among the best in a consistently strong series. Along with the series' typical appealing features - Kate's erotically charged romantic life with Trooper Jim Chopin; delightful character sketches of various residents of the Alaskan bush, including a dog named Mutt; and, of course, the vivid rendering of the Alaskan landscape - Stabenow adds a new element this time: setting the case in Anchorage allows her to portray Kate dealing with life in the city and to consider Alaskan history outside the backcountry." (Booklist)
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
This book is a departure for Kate Shugak -- she is hired by a wealthy woman to free her mother from prison due to a conviction on the arson murder of her eldest son over 30 years before. Kate reluctantly accepts the case, which takes her to Anchorage with Jim Chopin on her heels.
This is a good mystery and it is interesting to see Kate mingling with high society; but this novel does suffer from departure from the Park and its denizens. Also, there is a lot more sex in this novel than in previous novels, which might be a bit off-putting to some fans.
I found the mystery intriguing and this novel a difficult one to which to stop listening. Highly recommend.
As usual, Gavin delivers an excellent performance.
Reading allows me to travel through time, to visit the world's unique and stunning places, to become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
I enjoyed the storyline involving Jim. Kate is rejoining life and enjoying herself again - 2 years after losing Jack. Her flirtation with Jim - her enjoyment of the playfulness of their sex life - is a fun part of this book. It allows the reader to escape the grief that has been so integral to the story for several books.
However, the story here takes place in Anchorage. This means that Bobby is completely absent, as is the character of Alaska. My favorite part of this series is its glimpses into the culture of Alaska. I love learning about life in the 49th state, especially among some of the "park rats". I love examining the Aleut culture, I love the craziness brought to life due to the wildlife, and I love the personalities of the supporting cast. All of that was missing in this book and that was a big disappointment for me.
I have only one complaint. Would the readers please check the pronunciation of Alaska place names. It is very annoying to hear them shredded. Adak begins with a long "A" and ends with "ak" as in back.
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
"A Taint In The Blood" is the most lighthearted, optimistic, Kate Shugak novel since "Breakup" (which was book seven - way back in time).
I liked the humorous start to the book, with Kate offering I-hate-owing-people-anything motivated "help" to the people who rebuilt her home at the end of the last book and driving them crazy in the process.
I also liked that Kate has now come out of her trauma-induced hibernation and is ready to toy with Jim Chopin, the habitual womanizer who keeps telling himself that he does NOT want a relationship with Kate - just good sex. Kate frustrates his expectations by taking him at his word, having mind-blowing sex with him and then leaving him to wake up alone while she heads off to work. Chopin's bemusement is a joy to behold.
Kate's relationship with the late Jack Morgan was always described as intensely physical but most of it happened off camera. In "A Taint In The Blood" everything is much more up close and personal. It seems to me that, as well as being lighthearted fun and a development of Kate's relationship with Jim, this reawakening of Kate's sexual confidence shows her taking another step towards being more like her grandmother - a woman known for the impact she had on her lovers.
The murder mystery in this book is slight in terms of plot complexity but that's not really the point. This thirty-year-old murder case provides an opportunity to look back into how life used to be in Alaska. I enjoyed the tales of the old-timer bush cop and the peek into the rawness of the Alaskan "Frontier". I guessed the murderer fairly early on but that didn't spoil my enjoyment because the characters were so well described.
This was a light, fun, sometimes sexy read that gave a welcome change in pace from the depressed mood of the books that started with "Hunter's Moon". Now I'm looking forward to see what Kate is going to do with her life.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Always a good mystery and great with the romance. The Narrator was pretty good. I've heard better but I've definitely heard worse. She wasn't monotonous and kept me interested. I haven't been up on all the series but had read a few of the earlier ones and 4 of the previous books and was looking for more electricity between Kate and Jim. Definitely not disappointed. Lots of fun.
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