A Cold Day for Murder (A Kate Shugak Investigation) by Dana Stabenow
|A Cold Day for Murder (A Kate Shugak Investigation) by Dana Stabenow|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It might be twenty years since this - the first book in the series - was first published but it's as good now as it was then. Good writing never dates. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: January 2013|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
|External links: Author's website|
Mark Miller is a park ranger in one of the Alaskan National Parks, but it's six weeks since he's been seen - and there are twenty million acres for him to get lost in. Two weeks ago an investigator was sent in to look for him, but he's not been seen since either. There's little choice now but to hand the case to the expert who knows the park and the people: Kate Shugak is Aleut by birth and upbringing and she knows the people - is related to an extraordinary number of them - and she knows the Park. She's thirty years old, five feet tall and has a scar from ear to ear where her throat was cut.
Firstly, you'll need to wrap up warm to read this book. It's Alaska. It's winter - and they do snow well there. It is bitterly cold and Dana Stabenow can bring it off the page like you've just opened the door to the freezer. She knows Alaska - she lives there - and you know immediately that this is someone writing from experience rather than shoehorning in every bit of research. There's a lot of information in there too, about the area, the people and the politics - but it never feels like exposition, perhaps because it's all so fascinating.
Kate Shugak is one hell of a character too. Feisty doesn't even begin to describe her - she's not an over-the-top, all-American heroine, but she carries the plot well. It's not overly complicated but there are some neat twists and it relies on Kate's knowledge of the culture and of the people - and, on occasions, her ability to separate what her family would have her think from the truth.
If I have a quibble it's that I found it difficult in the beginning to separate out some of the male characters. The female characters come of the page fully dressed (or, on occasions, not so fully dressed... you've got to love Kate's cousin Xenia) but the touch with some of the minor male characters is less assured. That's me being very picky though! You might wonder if the book is dated - it was first published in 1992 - but good writing never dates and this is good writing. There was a perfect reason why it won an Edgar.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
This book substantially pre-dates The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney but if you enjoyed that book I think you'll enjoy A Cold Day For Murder. For more from Alaska you might want to look at the work of David Vann.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Cold Day for Murder (A Kate Shugak Investigation) by Dana Stabenow at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Cold Day for Murder (A Kate Shugak Investigation) by Dana Stabenow at Amazon.com.
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