Play With Fire -  Kate Shugak Mystery by Dana Stabenow
The crisp crunch of snow gives way to mosquitos and mushrooms as both
cold weather-loving Kate Shugak and her latest adventure wilt in the
warmth of an Alaskan June. Kate and photojournalist Dinah Cookman are
harvesting forest mushrooms when they discover a naked, much-decomposed
corpse and call in a trooper, who says that no one within 100 miles has
been reported missing in the last year. But then the grandson of the
local Bible-thumping preacher asks Kate to find his missing father,
Daniel. The corpse is identified as the boy's father's and, while the
police suspect no foul play, Kate wonders how the man died. Few share
her curiosity: the boy asks her to stop investigating, and other locals
answer her questions evasively. Then a gang of thugs wrecks her camp
and injures Dinah. Even readers sympathetic to Stabenow's (A
Cold-Blooded Business) plot-linked message on religious intolerance
will struggle with the crudely inserted mushroom lore and other
extraneous material that doesn't even yield a credible red herring.
Maybe the likable Kate will perk up again when the temperature plummets.
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