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Main page » Fiction literature » A Fatal Thaw - [02] Kate Shugak Mystery by Dana Stabenow

A Fatal Thaw - [02] Kate Shugak Mystery by Dana Stabenow


A Fatal Thaw - [02] Kate Shugak Mystery by Dana Stabenow
A Fatal Thaw (Second Kate Shugak Mystery)

Stabenow's ( A Cold Day for Murder ) writing has matured in her second effort featuring native Alaskan sleuth Kate Shugak. The Alaskan terrain and native culture add texture--the narrative includes both a potlatch celebration and an avalanche. Spring brings not only a thaw to the Alaskan wilderness, but a mass murderer. Roger McAniff cracks along with the ice on the first day of spring and goes on a killing spree, murdering nine and wounding two others. Or so it seems until ballistics tests prove that one of the victims, Lisa Getty, was killed by a different rifle. Shugak's investigation reconstructs Getty's life, uncovering her promiscuity, drug-dealing and endangered species-poaching, but all those leads prove false. The investigation reintroduces readers to some of the most intriguing characters from Shugak's previous mystery, including wheelchair-bound black veteran Bobby Clark and Shugak's manipulative grandmother, Ekaterina.

Stabenow is herself an Alaskan, and she makes you feel the very essence of the place, in all its rough and ready wildness. I felt I was there in the first spring thaw with Kate and her wonderful half-wolf dog (a bona fide character in her own right) as they stretch their winter-weary limbs. Kate has spring fever, and her very female dog, Mutt, is mesmerized by a giant and gorgeous he-wolf who can't seem to keep away from Kate's cabin.

This serenity is shattered very quickly, however, by the doings of a crazy-mad serial killer who, in one short span of a few hours, goes on a murder spree so deadly and so accurate that almost nobody in the tight-knit communty is spared outrage, shock or unbearable grief. After the dust settles, however, the real shocker sets in: One of the dead was not shot with the same gun. Somebody has used a crazy man's murder spree to cover up a real and nasty additional killing--and it's up to Kate to find out who.

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Tags: Shugak, Alaskan, Fatal, Shugaks, Mystery