…the incredible Alaskan adventures of Kate Shugak? Dana Stabenow’s latest book, Though Not Dead, follows Kate as she searches for answers after the death of Old Sam Dementieff. Old Sam left Kate most of his possessions, including a homestead she never knew he had and a mystery involving his father and a religious icon that used to belong to their tribe. Unfortunately, Kate isn’t the only one looking for answers, particularly not when those answers could also lead to a priceless treasure.
The Kate Shugak mysteries* are a fascinating look at Alaskan culture, from the wilderness to Anchorage. Many of the books involve glimpses into the world and history of the people (Native and non) who still live subsistence lives in a harsh, beautiful place that can be difficult for those of us Outside to understand. Dana Stabenow gives us access to this world and helps us appreciate it. She also gives us wonderfully convoluted mysteries to solve along with the protagonist, peppered with humor that runs the gamut from dark to wry and biting to absolute slapstick. It isn’t necessary to read all of the previous books to appreciate the latest, but they’re all worth it.
* Previous Kate Shugak mysteries include 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, Whisper to the Blood, and A Night Too Dark.
Reviewed by Fran (staff)