Kate Shugak #23
Kate Shugak has been around for awhile now, and she’s made a space for herself on the planet. She’s a fully realized, fully detailed character. As I was reading this book, number 23 in a beloved series, I couldn’t help but think about the spectacular very first book, A Cold Day for Murder. Dana Stabenow has always had a love for the traditional mystery in terms of plotting, and that hasn’t changed, though Kate’s universe has gotten more expansive.
At the moment, I’m re-reading (as time permits) Margaret Maron’s wonderful Deborah Knott series, and it struck me as I was reading that there were few series that actually resemble each other more. Sure, Maron’s books are set in North Carolina, not Alaska, but the surrounding sense of community and family are very, very similar. At this point I very much enjoy an outing with the “Aunties” or a look at the way Kate, Mutt and Trooper Jim spend their evenings. But it’s a different type of read from the first couple of tightly plotted novels. It’s more of a meander than a rocket.