Thursday, July 20, 2006

“A Taint in the Blood” by Dana Stabenow

Stabenow is one author I am never disappointed with. Her books are set in Alaska, she has a great way of writing characters, and there is a real mystery in each book. Some series become just about the characters, but her books are true mysteries that happen to be a series. She doesn’t just write one series though; she has two along with lots of different editing jobs and short stories. Her website is www.stabenow.com where she has a blog and information about her writing and Alaska.

Her longest running series is about Kate Shugak who is an Aleut. She lives in a national park where she grew up. Her grandmother is a very important Aleut leader, which causes her some problems. Her grandmother is always after her to take up the reigns of leadership and Kate doesn’t want to. Kate went to college and worked as an investigator for the Anchorage D.A. She was investigating child abuse cases. We find out in the first book that she quit and moved back to the park when she was hurt badly during an investigation. Confronting a child abuser she ended up with her neck slashed. She ends up with both a scar on the outside, a rough voice and a bigger scar on her emotions. She hides out at her homestead and is brought back out by her lover who knows her skills are too important for her not to use them. She then goes on to investigate many crimes in the park and outside of it, but always in Alaska. The series characters are all wonderful. They are all believable with both good and bad characteristics. You learn about the modern native way of live and also the history and politics of Alaska.

This book takes Kate out of the park and into Anchorage. Charlotte Muravieff asks her to investigate a murder that happened 31 years before. Her mother was convicted of setting fire to the family home, killing one of her sons while the other escaped with a leg injury. Charlotte has found out her mother is dying and wants her to be released. She is convinced that her mother did not do the crime, even though her mother has confessed. Why did she confess and why doesn’t she want to talk to Kate about it? What is it about Kate investigating that has upset this powerful family? We get an interesting look into what the past of Alaska might have been, and also a look into the politics there.
Stabenow is one author I am never disappointed with. Her books are set in Alaska, she has a great way of writing characters, and there is a real mystery in each book. Some series become just about the characters, but her books are true mysteries that happen to be a series. She doesn’t just write one series


The series in order of publication:

A Cold Day for Murder
A Fatal Thaw
Dead in the Water
A Cold-Blooded Business
Play with Fire
Blood Will Tell
Breakup
Killing Grounds
Hunter’s Moon
Midnight Come Again
The Singing of the Dead
A Fine and Bitter Snow
A Grave Denied
A Taint in the Blood
A Deeper Sleep

1 comment:

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Sounds like a great character and the setting is not average either. Adding to my TBR Mountain...