In this mystery series by Dana Stabenow, the Edgar Award-winning author returns to the Alaskan setting she's famous for, with a wonderful character - state trooper Liam Campbell. Liam's just been transferred from Anchorage to the small fishing village of Newenham, Alaska - where a local pilot seems to have lost his head.
©1998 Dana Stabenow (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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!)
Great first book in a new series by Stabenow, best known for her Kate Shugak series set in Alaska. This series is also set in Alaska, following Liam Campbell, who has just been demoted from Sergeant to Trooper and reassigned to the Alaskan Bush. We are familiarized with his past through remembrances as the story progresses, which can be a bit confusing if you don't pay close attention, but is a good way to keep the plot moving while still providing the backstory. I was surprised at how much I liked this book, as I was afraid I would continually compare it (unfavorably) to the Shugak series. Stabenow introduces characters I look forward to learning more about in later books. I was enveloped from the beginning, with Campbell observing all his fellow air travelers, assigning them nicknames (moccasin man, old fart, the flirt) and predicting what future crimes they might commit.
Like "Dead in the Water" of the Shugak series, I learned something of Alaskan industry (in this case, herring fishing and aerial spotting, whereas it was crab fishing in "Dead in the Water.") This was an extra bonus to the book. As with the Shugak series, the Alaska setting only enhances my enjoyment of the volume.
Highly recommend this novel for any fans of mystery.
Gavin, as usual, delivers an excellent performance. A female narrator may seem an odd choice for a book with a male protagonist, but Gavin has proven to be THE voice of Stabenow's Alaska, and does not let her listeners down here.
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
I downloaded the “Fire and Ice” the first book in Dana Stabenow’s Liam Campbell series, to help bridge the gap while I wait for the Brilliance Audio version of “Killing Grounds”, book 8 in the series Kate Shugak series, to come out in January 2014 to get another slice of Alaskan life.
What I got was something quite different from the Kate Shugak series, even down to the writing style but something that gave me another view on what Alaska can mean to people.
Liam Campbell is a newly-demoted State Trooper, who steps off the plane at the remote town he has been exiled to, and steps into a storm of violence, eccentricity, lust and death.
The story is well-plotted, seasoned with humor and chaos, stuffed with larger-than-life characters that we know will be in all the future books and it gives a vivid view of what it feels like to take on the potentially lethal task of “herring spotting” from a light plane in an overcrowded sky.
Stabenow’s books are never just about finding out who killed whom. They are an exploration of why people live the way they do and what it is about Alaska that drives particular behaviors.
In this book Alaska is being shown as a place where people go to make a new start. It’s also shown as place with all the usual problems of violence against women, alcohol addiction, child abuse and the pressures of a small town to make you behave “appropriately”.
I couldn’t quite bring myself to like Liam Campbell, the man with a tragic past and a grief-filled present. Then I realized that this was what Stabenow intended. I couldn’t like Liam because he doesn’t like himself. His distaste for himself at first appears to be a reaction to things he couldn’t control but feels accountable for: death’s on his watch, a tragedy in his family; things that would damage any man. As the book progresses we realize that the fundamental source of internal disgust is that he is a man who has betrayed himself and everyone he loves and he can’t forgive himself for that. The problem was, I couldn’t forgive him for it either.
There are some signs that Liam is on a journey of redemption. In future books, I hope to see something about him that will make me care. I’d like to see his self-pity and self-absorption replaced by some passion for making a difference by actually doing his job. Perhaps the reason Stabenow keeps Campbell out of his uniform for most of the book, is to signal his failure to engage and to become who he should be.
The sex scene at the beginning of the book caught me by surprise. It is graphic without being gratuitous but it goes way beyond anything you’d find in a Kate Shugak novel. The scene is actually well written – it describes arousal without being arousing. It is necessary because the sexual attraction between Campbell and the Wy is central to how Liam came to be where he is. I like the fact that Stabenow sets this up so that we understand that lust does not explain or excuse Liam’s actions any more than alcohol explains why someone is a drunk.
I enjoy Marguerite Gavin as the narrator of the Kate Shugak series. I wish someone else had been chosen to read the Liam Campbell series. I think a male reader would have been more appropriate and would have made a clearer separation between Liam and Kate. She didn’t distract me from the book, but she didn’t add to it either.
this is my second (maybe third time). The characters are wonderfully drawn. The main characters are diverse ethnically and in terms of personality but all have a strong moral core.
I'll confess -- the love story.
Liam Campbell is a great character - a strong male state trooper who struggles daily with the aftermath of personal tragedy.
Yes, to the detriment of my house work.
This whole 4 book series is excellent. I only wish there were more.
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