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Though Not Dead: A Kate Shugak Novel | [Dana Stabenow]

Though Not Dead: A Kate Shugak Novel

The residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned by the death of one of their oldest members, 87-year-old Old Sam Dementieff…Even private investigator Kate Shugak. Sam, a lifelong resident, dubbed the “father” of all of the Park rats—even though he had no children of his own—was especially close to Kate, his niece, but even she is surprised to discover that in his will he’s left her everything, including a letter instructing her simply to, “find my father.”
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Audible Editor Reviews

This 18th novel in the Kate Shugak series features dozens of characters, ranging from a two-bit thug and a former “good-time girl” to a Chanel-suit wearing librarian and a soft-spoken aunty. Two or three of the characters appear both as wizened senior citizens, and — in flashbacks from a half-century before — as teenagers. In light of the intricate web of characters, narrator Marguerite Gavin’s ability to differentiate each voice is utterly impressive.

Gavin reprises here a role she’s performed in several other Stabenow novels: Kate Shugak, a no-nonsense, Aleutian private investigator. In the tradition of the best gritty procedurals, Kate doesn’t go looking for trouble — trouble finds her. Gavin voices our hero with the perfect mix of brittle toughness, latent vulnerability, and the dogged fierceness peculiar to an ass-kicker who is also less than 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds. Kate has the quintessential tough broad attitude and analytical mind that make a great P.I., but Gavin also understands how to portray the uniqueness of Kate’s character within the detective novel genre: not only is Kate a female private investigator; she’s also a Native American.

Stabenow, who grew up in southern Alaska near the Chugach National Forest, deeply understands the values of the Aleutian community she's portraying, as well as the motivations of the "park rats" who live in the Chugach. Asking a park rat what brought him to Alaska is considered the height of rudeness in this culture. Knowing this, Gavin conveys reticence in her voice — the reticence to speak up, to say more than one should, to trust someone — extremely effectively. As the mystery unfolds, Gavin’s voice never betrays the next plot twist that is just around the corner. Even when Stabenow’s description veers toward hackneyed, Gavin finds a way to make the salient details stand out and keeps the listener engaged, providing a satisfying listen for crime novel fans. —Maggie Frank

Publisher's Summary

The residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned by the death of one of their oldest members, 87-year-old Old Sam Dementieff…even private investigator Kate Shugak. Sam, a lifelong resident, dubbed the “father” of all of the Park rats—even though he had no children of his own—was especially close to Kate, his niece, but even she is surprised to discover that in his will he’s left her everything, including a letter instructing her simply to, “find my father.”

Easier said than done, since Sam’s father is something of a mystery. An outsider, he disappeared shortly after learning about Sam’s existence, taking with him a priceless tribal artifact, a Russian icon. And in the three days after Kate begins her search through Sam’s background, she gets threatened—and worse.

The flashbacks from Sam’s fascinating life, including scenes from major events in Alaska’s colorful history, punctuate a gripping story in which Kate does her best to fulfill Sam’s last wish without losing her own life to the people who are following her every move, though what they are searching for Kate doesn’t even know.

In Dana Stabenow’s breathtaking new novel, Though Not Dead, the 18th to feature Kate Shugak, Kate’s search for the long-lost family secrets that have been interwoven with the epic history of an unforgiving land leads to an extraordinary treasure hunt with fatal consequences.

State of suspense: listen to more Alaskan mysteries in the Kate Shugak series.

©2011 Dana Stabenow (P)2011 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (332 )
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4.2 (151 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Deborah Cedar Grove, TN United States 04-01-12
    Deborah Cedar Grove, TN United States 04-01-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
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    49
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    "Good, but too much history"

    Murder Mystery with a little romance:
    Good narration
    Starts out with the death of a long time well loved local.
    The story surrounds his history and also his beneficiary, Kate's history.
    A good story, but too much history about Alaska. Admittedly, I am not a history fan. So if you are, you'll enjoy all the extra info on the history of Alaska.
    I would have rated 4 out of 5 if the history part had been abbreviated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cjfquilts Denver, CO USA 12-23-11
    cjfquilts Denver, CO USA 12-23-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    "I love Kate!"

    I have read several of Dana Stabenow's books and I love Kate Shugak. These are not always fabulous but this particular one has tons of twists, turns and flashbacks to the past. If you have followed Kate, Old Sam and the aunties this book will explain a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynette KANSAS CITY, KS, United States 08-10-11
    Lynette KANSAS CITY, KS, United States 08-10-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    2
    Overall
    "Bad Narrator"

    I am not sure whether I like this book or not; I could not listen the the mono-toned narrator any longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarai Sacramento, CA, United States 06-13-11
    Sarai Sacramento, CA, United States 06-13-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Good Enough"

    This book was enjoyable enough to listen too. There are definitely lots of plot twists and turns and the flash backs are good for breaking up monotony. The Alaskan setting is refreshing. I've never read anything based there (except for "snow" stories).I realize that this is a book somewhere in the middle of a series so it's kind of written from the standpoint that you and the characters are familiar with each other. You do not have to have read the others to understand this book though. It's like jumping into an ongoing series on TV like CSI or Law & Order SVU, it's interesting, you think you like it, but you gotta watch more to really grab all the nuances of the stories and characters. You also start to like all of it so much more once you and the characters are acquainted. I think the same will happen with this series. Good enough as a stand alone book, I suspect really, really great as a series.
    As for the narrator, she was good, but more than a few times it's like she's reading and she doesn't realize that the sentence is continuing so there's this awkward pause a second or two too long and then she continues. Other than that, she does a good job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 05-08-11
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 05-08-11 Member Since 2002

    Old Broad with Keyboard

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I love Kate Shugak!"

    I discovered Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series by sheer accident when I bought Midnight Come Again. I loved Kate & Mutt so much I actively sought out all the other 'Shugak' books that Audible had & then hunted down the rest of the series from other sources. I even resorted to READING some of the books when I couldn't find audios!! Kate, Mutt & Jim Chopan make an excellent team of investigators but I don't think it's fair that Kate ends up with all the black eyes this time around. Marguerite Gavin is the perfect voice for all the action, Alaskan history, murder, mayhem, "Good Time Girls" & crazy families. I can't wait for the next one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose Mexico City, Mexico 04-11-11
    Jose Mexico City, Mexico 04-11-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not much action"

    I'm used to more intrigue and suspense, this book does not have any of that. Too much description of history and characters, and very little action.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vivian Bastrop, TX, United States 02-26-11
    Vivian Bastrop, TX, United States 02-26-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Nevada Barr"

    Like the family history part but Stabenow does not get as descriptive as Nevada Barr. When Barr describes cold , you feel cold. When Barr describes animals, she describes them in the wild. I detest the fact that this writer thinks it is ok to walk into situation with a captive wolf.

    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
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