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A Cold Day for Murder

A Cold Day for Murder

Written by Dana Stabenow

Narrated by Marguerite Gavin


A Cold Day for Murder

Written by Dana Stabenow

Narrated by Marguerite Gavin

ratings:
4/5 (37 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Released:
Oct 18, 2011
ISBN:
9781455830817
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Eighteen months ago, Aleut Kate Shugak quit her job investigating sex crimes for the Anchorage DA's office and retreated to her father's homestead in a national park in the interior of Alaska. But the world has a way of beating a path to her door, however remote. In the middle of one of the bitterest Decembers in recent memory ex-boss - and ex-lover - Jack Morgan shows up with an FBI agent in tow. A Park ranger with powerful relatives is missing, and now the investigator Jack sent in to look for him is missing, too.

Reluctantly, Kate, along with Mutt, her half-wolf, half-husky sidekick, leaves her wilderness refuge to follow a frozen trail through the Park, twenty thousand square miles of mountain and tundra sparsely populated with hunters, fishermen, trappers, mushers, pilots and homesteaders. Her formidable grandmother and Native chief, Ekaterina Shugak, is - for reasons of her own - against Kate's investigation; her cousin, Martin, may be Kate's prime suspect; and the local trooper, Jim Chopin, is more interested in Kate than in her investigation. In the end, the sanctuary she sought after five and a half years in the urban jungles may prove more lethal than anything she left behind in the city streets of Anchorage.
Released:
Oct 18, 2011
ISBN:
9781455830817
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Dana Stabenow is a popular American author who has produced works in the science fiction, mystery, and sus-pense/thriller genres. She was born in Anchorage and lives near Homer, AK. www.stabenow.com


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Reviews

What people think about A Cold Day for Murder

3.9
37 ratings / 36 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed the book. The MC has to deal with her own tragedy to solve a crime. Great characters. The book is suspenseful and moves the story along.
  • (4/5)
    Kate Shugak left her job as a detective on the Anchorage police force, and retreated to her late father's homestead in a national park in the interior of Alaska. That apparently isn't remote enough, though. Her ex-boss, Jack Morgan, and an FBI agent find her and ask her to take on a case of two missing people. The first is a Park Ranger with powerful connections--and whom Kate was previously involved with. The other is the previous FBI agent that went looking for him.

    With one missing six weeks, and the other missing two weeks, there's not really any chance that either is alive.

    Kate is Aleut, and her grandmother is a respected leader in the community. Her grandmother pushes Kate to be a force for preserving the old ways; her younger cousins hope and expect her to be a leader for modernization. Meanwhile, Kate is mainly still trying to recover from the traumatic events that led her to quit the Anchorage police department.

    But she can't turn away from Jack Morgan's plea that she take up this search, in a place no one else he can send is able to do it as well, or perhaps at all.

    There's a lot going on here, emotionally, as Kate wrestles with her demons, the competing demands she faces, and where the evidence is leading her. I'm not doing justice to the book, but Kate Shugak is a tough, humane, interesting character.

    Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Great book
  • (4/5)
    I think that I will like later books in the series more - this first one has a lot of (necessary) background information about the characters and setting that at times was a bit too much.
  • (3/5)
    1st in police procedural set in Alaska and featuring Kate Shugak. While Shugak is set up as a feisty independent investigator following some sort of horrific incident while a police officer, we don't get to see her doing much investigation. Most of the story rests on her networks with family members of the Aleuts in Alaska and what she deduces from what they do or not say about a missing ranger and FBI investigator, a one time lover of Shugak's. The denoument, when it comes, is OK but not particularly exciting. A reasonable start to the series but more action is required if this is to follow in the footsteps of crime/ detective series. Either that or a much more brooding detective is required along the lines of Scandinavian noir.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first book I'd read by Stabenow and I really enjoyed it. Good background information on Alaska and how people live in the remotest parts of that state. The ending wasn't telegraphed nor was it too obscure for the reader to have figured out. The main characters weren't fleshed out as well as I would have liked, but the ancillary characters were terrific. She was able to convey a lot about them in very few words, relatively speaking. A quick, enjoyable read.
  • (3/5)
    I liked the setting, the beautiful descriptions, and the ambience of wilderness in Alaska. But I found the pace plodding, and while the conversations were interesting, it almost felt like a video game where you just click on all of the available characters and run down the conversation chain before moving onto the next meandering conversation, hoping to get to the next plot point. I may read further, maybe they get better, but I was, overall, underwhelmed.
  • (3/5)
    A Cold Day for Murder
    3 Stars

    After a Park Ranger and the detective sent in to find him both disappear somewhere in the vast and freezing wilderness of Alaska, the Anchorage DAs office requests the aid of former investigator Kate Shugak. A member of the Aleut tribe, Kate has returned home to nurse wounds both physical and psychological incurred while on the job, and is reluctant to leave her self-imposed exile to search for the missing men. However, once she begins asking questions and the answers start hitting a little to close to home, Kate feels compelled to uncover the truth whatever the cost.

    The endless descriptions of the Alaskan outback detract from the flow of the narrative and pacing of the mystery. Nevertheless, the realistic characterization of both primary and secondary characters enable the setting to come alive in a way that the overly descriptive writing fails to do.

    Kate is a particularly engaging heroine. She is aggressive, blunt and prickly (one of my favorite types) and her no-nonsense approach to investigating the crime make her all the more appealing. There is also a smidgeon of a romance in the background that will hopefully be developed in future installments.

    The mystery is not all that tense or exciting and the solution comes somewhat out of the blue due to the fact that the clues are not only minor, but concealed within the abundance of descriptive passages. Moreover, the climax is disappointing and the villain gets off too lightly.

    In sum, the heroine manages to compensate for the problematic writing style and lackluster mystery so I will probably continue with the series.
  • (5/5)
    Marguerite Gavin gives this book a fantastic narration. She doesn't attempt to replicate the way Dana Stabenow probably hears Kate Shugak's ruined voice in her head, doesn't attempt to constantly "do" ruined, for which I was grateful for the five and a half hours of the book. I'm sure it's a good read, but it's a great listen. This takes place in a part of the world I'm just not that familiar with, that weird and wonderful great state of Alaska. I'll admit it – I think my only real "experience" of it is from "Northern Exposure" and [book:To Start a Fire]. It's someplace I think I'd have liked to go – but, after listening to this (and from what little else I know), I don't think I'd be very welcome. It was a little startling to hear the contempt that goes into some characters' discussion of "greenies"… I am so enveloped in "save the planet or we die – duh" that it's … truly weird to read about this alien mindset, valuing money – and, yes, I understand, jobs, but primarily money – far above the idea that … well, if you cut down all the trees, it will be hard to still be cutting down trees in five years, because … they will all have been cut down. Even just the simple enjoyment of the beauty of nature – meh. Let's go for a lunar landscape – people like the moon. Great sense of humor which for some reason I didn't expect – Bobby is a terrific character, funny without being comic relief. And the fact that a lot of the book is funny doesn't mean that the rest of it isn't heartbreaking. From the general poverty and misery of so many and rampant alcoholism, to the very specific pain of Kate with her trauma (physical and in memory), the disappearances she's investigating, to the wounded yearling moose being chewed on alive by a wolverine. I enjoyed listening to the cadences of the names. Chick Noyukpuk, the Billiken Bullet; the Kanuyaq River; Niniltna; etc. And the other names – the Lost Chance Creek, the Lost Wife Mine, Squaw Candy Creek…. It all adds to the atmosphere. Mutt's awesome and I want one.
  • (3/5)
    A good whodunit set in Alaska
  • (3/5)
    A park ranger goes missing in the interior of Alaska. Then, the investigator who is sent in search of him also goes missing. The Anchorage District Attorney's office turns to former investigator Kate Shugak, a woman haunted by her own demons, to search for them.

    Overall, A Cold Day for Murder is a quick and enjoyable read. Stabenow does an especially good job of sketching the main characters, particularly Kate, Jim, and some of Kate's extended family members who turn out to be involved in the investigation. Kate is well done as a complex character battling the memories and nightmares of the tragedy of her last investigation for the DA's office. The character development of several of the characters is probably 4 star, reaching toward 5 star, in quality for Stabenow does a really good job of developing the complexities of those like Kate Shugak, who balance between the two worlds of her Native Alaskan heritage and Outsider (anyone who is not Native Inuit).

    While an enjoyable read overall, the star rating falls to three star simply because the plot line is so transparent in places that it is far to easy to foresee what happened to the park ranger and who might have been behind his disappearance far too early in the book. Despite this transparency, however, the first book of the series was enjoyable enough that I will most likely pick up the next book in the series and give it a shot as well.


    I must admit that part of what drew me to this book, and thus to this series, is that I spent part of my childhood in Alaska. My father was a military man who was stationed in Alaska twice (once before I was born, and once after), so as I was reading, I kept wondering if I would recognize any of the places being described. While I glimpsed a few, especially Anchorage and Denali National Park, the book made me well aware that there is still much of Alaska that is unknown to me even after having spent a chunk of my childhood there. Additionally, the book quickly stirred the desire I have long had to go back for an extended visit/vacation.
  • (4/5)
    A COLD DAY FOR MURDER is the first in her Kate Shugak series--now 20+. It's not overly complicated except for the many characters -- one of them won't be in the next novel, but may pop in after a stretch in prison. The characters demonstrate Alaskan provincial racism very well. I liked the setting and the main character. Where's book #2?
  • (4/5)
    Book Description
    Publication Date: December 29, 2013
    Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise “The Park,” a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA’s department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she’s of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education, a career, and the righting of wrongs. Kate’s search for the missing men will take her from self-imposed exile back to a life she’d left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she'd hoped never to confront again.

    The first novel in the popular Kate Shugak Series, A Cold Day for Murder established Dana Stabenow as a new voice in Alaskan mystery writing, and earned her an Edgar Award.

    This book was a good start to an interesting series. I liked the characters and reading about life in Alaska with all its challenges made for a good read. Looking forward to the next installment!
  • (4/5)
    The story was very good, as were the characters. She did a great job of describing the setting in Alaska.
  • (4/5)
    Former District Attorney Investigator, Kate Shugak, retired after having her throat cut while capturing a serial killer. Both physically and emotionally scarred she now lives alone on her 160 acre homestead in Alaska. When a rookie park ranger and son of a congressmen goes missing in a huge wilderness area known as the “Park” an investigator and friend of Kate's is sent to find him and now he's missing too. Former lover and boss, Jack Morgan, convinces her to go looking for the missing men because Kate's Aleut family lives in the “Park” and she might be able to use that to her advantage in hunting for the missing men. Before long she discovers some of her extended family members may be involved in the disappearance.

    Kate is a well done character battling the memories and nightmares of the tragedy of her last investigation for the DA's office. The author does a really great job of character development and how Kate balances between the two worlds of her former Anchorage life and her Native Alaskan heritage. Every dog lover will fall for Mutt, Kate's half husky, half wolf dog. Alaska is the show here much the way Minnesota is in the Cork O'Connor series. The sparse frozen land and native culture is a character in itself.

    This was a well written story set in a fascinating setting. Kate is a strong character and a no-nonsense problem solver. It's an intriguing and enjoyable introduction to series and I plan to read more.
  • (2/5)
    Kate Shugak used to be an investigator for the DA in Anchorage – until she was seriously injured. Now she lives a reclusive life on the edge of a national park, her familial land where she was raised. When a young park ranger goes missing people assume the winter weather got to the inexperienced “Outsider.” But when the seasoned investigator sent to track him down also disappears it’s clear that something more than weather is involved. The ranger’s father is a U.S. Congressman and he brings in the FBI, who puts pressure on local authorities, so her former boss comes to Kate; will she take on this job?

    Okay, I wanted to like this. I’ve heard of the series for some time and thought the premise was interesting – a native Aleut, a woman, strong, confident, self-sufficient. Kate is all those things. But she’s so closed-off that we never get any glimpse as to what she is thinking or how she is working out the clues. In fact in one pivotal scene she literally shuts down, staring at nothing, not moving for hours (per the reports of her companions). Then suddenly she’s off on the chase because she knows who did it. This is just weak plotting in a mystery novel and a fatal flaw as far as I’m concerned.

    I also thought that most of the characters – especially the native Aleuts – were little more than stereotypes. Surely there must be people living in the park who do not hunt out of season or spend what little money they have drinking.

    And I have a bone to pick with the cover art … the images have absolutely NOTHING to do with the story.

    On the plus side, it was a fast read, and the next time I need a book set in Alaska for a challenge I might give book #2 a try.
  • (3/5)
    A reasonably interesting start to what is now a long murder mystery series set in Alaska. This first book in the series is from 1992. When I started on it I was slightly put off by a number of cultural references. I got the John Wayne one in the opening paragraph (the 1960 film North To Alaska) - the rest were lost on me. I guess I didn't watch the right TV shows or movies or read the same books. The one in the second paragraph references Sam Magee in the oven, so this, from Wikipedia: "The Cremation of Sam McGee is among the most famous of Robert W. Service's poems. It was published in 1907 in Songs of a Sourdough. (A "sourdough", in this sense, is a resident of the Yukon.(1) It concerns the cremation of a prospector who freezes to death near Lake Laberge,(2) (spelled "Lebarge" by Service), Yukon, Canada, as told by the man who cremates him. WhewI read on through this and the story setup began to intrigue me. I know very little about Alaska, but now I know maybe a little more. This turned out to be a reasonably good mystery that clocks in around 200 pages, which is about perfect for me when I want a light read. A newly minted park ranger (with a congressman for a father) has gone missing as well as the investigator sent to find out what happened to him. Our "heroine" Kate Shugak is dispatched to unravel this. There arise some obvious suspects with motives, but of course that would be too simple. There's a complex web of relations and relationships. I just enjoyed the story and didn't try to figure it out so the conclusion was a real surprise for me. This isn't really my style of book though, so I probably won't read more in the series, but I might. I'm glad I gave this a try.
  • (4/5)
    I haven't read many crime fiction novels set in Alaska. Similarly while I have heard of Dana Stabenow I have never read one of her books. A COLD DAY FOR MURDER is the first in her Kate Shugak series of which there are now 20, the latest published just this year. See Fantastic Fiction.I think I solved the mystery of what had happened to the two missing people, and who was responsible, about half way through the novel, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment. The characters are well drawn and the plight of the Alaskan Aleuts trying to make their way in a "modern" world is well described. As is the concern of the elders to preserve the old ways and their wish to keep the young people from leaving.So if you are ready for a new series, maybe this is the one for you. I read it as part of my reading for the USA Fiction Challenge.
  • (4/5)
    This is a murder mystery set in a national park in Alaska among a native Indian community. The setting is not the usual for me so it adds an interesting aspect to the story. It's not overly complicated except for all the almost endless list of characters who pop in and than pop out again. It's hard to keep track of them all as most are related in some sort of way.A nice quick read.
  • (3/5)
    A fast-paced and atmospheric introduction to an unusual Alaskan detective series, but very, very short! I thought 200 pages was skimpy, but the novel actually ends 20 pages earlier, with a brief preview of the next instalment tacked onto the end. Dana Stabenow's distinctive covers have been passing back and forth under my nose at the library for ages now, so I thought I would give the books a try, even though I don't really read detective novels. From the clipped but concise opening murder investigation, I would say that I enjoyed the quirky humour, loved adding to my limited knowledge of Alaska (and by that, I mean limited to episodes of Northern Exposure), but didn't really warm to Kate (pardon the pun). If book two drifts into the library, I might read on, but I'm not in any great hurry to plough through the next twenty or so books in the series. (Pardon all the puns!)
  • (3/5)
    If you're a fan of Sue Grafton's feisty Kinsey Millhone, you'll know Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak already. I like her well enough, but I'm not sure that in spite of the fact that she didn't exist before, anyone really had to invent her.The setting, though, is wonderfully exotic: Alaska is certainly a foreign land to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed encountering a whole new way of life and the lexicon that goes with it.The investigation can seem glacially slow at times, as much Alaskan background and research is delivered between times, but that's OK - and perhaps now that #1 in the series has done this job, #2 etc can get moving in what will soon be more familiar territory.
  • (3/5)
    Kind of torn on this one.

    So much I liked (the characters, the scenes, the setting (Alaskan wilderness)) but yet so much that was just average. I don't like to be told things, I like to be shown them and Dana Stabenow just spent so much time describing Alaska & the native Alaskans instead of using her words to show me what it was like.

    Wasn't really a mystery either. She spend 90% of the books searching for missing people and then in 5 minutes figured it out but didn't provide the reader with any clues so that we might try to figure it out ourselves.

    Probably a 3.5 but Goodreads doesn't do half stars
  • (4/5)
    First Line: They came out of the south late that morning on a black-and-silver Ski-doo LT. Somewhere in the endless acres of "The Park" a ranger has gone missing. No one puts up much of a fuss about it, figuring his body will be uncovered in time for the ground to thaw so he can be buried. But when a detective sent in to look for the missing ranger disappears as well, something has to be done. The Anchorage, Alaska District Attorney's Office sends two men out, hats in hand, to their former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she was born there. She's an Aleut who left her home village in pursuit of education and a career. In reluctantly agreeing to search for the missing men, Kate finds herself being pulled out of her self-imposed exile back to the life she'd left behind.This slim little volume is a quick read that introduces the reader to two prime objects: the Alaskan wilderness and the prickly character of Kate Shugak. In many ways, I think my reading experience was tempered by the fact that I'd already read Stan Jones' mystery series set in Alaska that also features a Native American main character. If I'd come to Stabenow's book totally fresh, I would have been much more in awe of what I was reading. Alaska is shown to be the beautiful, wild place that it is; Shugak is the strong, silent type of female that we're still not quite accustomed to; and although the story line didn't hold many surprises for me, I'll be back for more. This is the first book in a very popular series, and Stabenow not only marks her territory, she populates it with a woman I just have to know more about.
  • (3/5)
    Easy reading airplane thriller set in Inuit Alaska. After suffering emotional and physical scarring during a child abuse investigation, hard-nosed Kate Shugak has separated herself from her abandoned career, former lover, and well-meaning but overbearing family. When a park ranger and a recent lover disappear on her doorstep, her old boss (and lover) persuade her to look into it. Soon she finds herself investigating her own sprawling family. Lightweight fluff - adequately written and the vision of Alaska feels authentic, but light on tension or surprises (or perhaps it just failed to make me care enough) - still enjoyable enough that I'd consider reading another on another flight.
  • (4/5)
    A rookie federal Park Ranger/son-of-a-congressman, and an investigator sent to find him, go missing in the cold expanse of Kate Shugak's Alaskan Park (occupying "twenty million acres, almost four times the size of Denali National Park but with less than one percent of the tourists.") Reluctantly, Kate, a former D.A's investigator herself until a run-in with a child molester left him dead and her soured her on the job and a major portion of "civilization," is on the case.
    This is the first of Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak mystery series, and I'm glad I went back and started at the beginning. The reader is introduced to Jack Morgan, the aforementioned D.A., with whom Kate had an affair before leaving his employ in Anchorage to return home to the environs and inhabitants of her native Village and Park. The characters and locale will become old familiar friends as this series wends on.

    The introduction to Jack Morgan is particularly resonant:"He looked like John Wayne ready to run the claim jumpers off his gold mine on that old White Mountain just a little southeast of Nome, if John Wayne had been outfitted by Eddie Bauer." (If you are clueless about the humour, I suggest you go over to videos and get a copy of the movie "North to Alaska" - pay attention to the song being sung during the credits.) That Johnny Horton song is on jukeboxes everywhere here in our part of the Tundra, and everybody sings along ;-) And, speaking of jukeboxes and bars, the scene at Bernie's Bar in the book is really a hoot!

    Along the way to finding out what happened to the Ranger and his would-be rescuer, Stabenow gives the reader an overview of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and life in the villages. It's a good start to a good series and I recommend it.

  • (4/5)
    For a quick trip to Alaska, you can either spend $1300 on airplane tickets, or read Dana Stabenow's A COLD DAY FOR MURDER. I knew right away I would like this book when Stabenow alluded on the first page to both The Cremation of Sam Magee and North to Alaska (the song).

    A COLD DAY FOR MURDER is the first of Stabenow's Kate Shugak series. Kate is an Alaska Native, an Aleut (with some Russian ancestry as well), who formerly worked in Anchorage as a police officer specializing in sexual abuse cases. After a particularly horrific experience which left her scarred in mind and body, she quit, and lives alone in the bush with her dog Mutt. When her former boss, who has also been her lover, shows up, FBI agent in tow, to ask her to track two missing men, she at first refuses. But when she learns that one of the men is also her current, from time to time lover, she agrees.

    The search takes her where she least wants to go -- back to her grandmother, a fearsome and manipulative matriarch, and to the troubles of her various cousins. She renews acquaintance with a variety of characters worthy of Northern Exposure -- Bernie the bar owner and kids' basketball coach, and Bobby, the wheelchair-bound ham radio operator, are two of the most memorable. She learns the truth, but would rather not have.

    The book is set in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, created in 1980 in southeastern Alaska. As it's referred to only as The Park throughout, I had a little trouble locating it on the Rand McNally one-page Alaska map in my road atlas. Looking at the National Park website was much more helpful in giving me an idea of where I was as I traveled with Kate by snowmobile and small plane through the winter landscape.

    I will definitely be reading more of this series. Stabenow combines a rich sense of place, an ability to describe engaging, three-dimensional characters, and sure-handed plotting with plenty of red herrings to produce an excellent mystery.
  • (4/5)
    Kate Shugak is asked to look into the disappearance of a park ranger who is the son of a Congressman and of a detective sent to find the ranger. Working for her former employer Jack on behalf of the FBI, Kate returns to the park which was her home for so many years to question relatives and friends. It's not long until she's dodging bullets herself. Although this series is long-running, this is the first book that I read in it. I enjoyed the mystery, but I would have enjoyed the book more with a little less profanity which seemed to be concentrated in a few scenes. I will probably read more installments of this series in the future.
  • (4/5)
    It’s December in the Park, and a ranger is missing. It’s no great loss to the rest of the Park rats, they figure he’s stumbled into a snowbank and will re-emerge come breakup, just in time for the ground to thaw and them to bury him. But when the man sent to look for him also disappears, Kate Shugak, ex-investigator for the Anchorage D.A. and Park homesteader, is sent in search of them both.
  • (4/5)
    First in the Kate Shugak series.Set in a National park in the Arcticwilderness area of Alaska near Anchorage, this series features a Native female protagonist, Kate Shugak, who, prior to the series opening was an investigator with the District Attorney’s office in Anchorage. A horrific encounter with a child abuser left Kate both physically damaged--her throat was cut from ear to ear, damaging her vocal cords--and emotionally scarred. She resigned from the D.A.s office and returned to her homestead within the environs of the Park.But her former boss (and lover) will not leave her to her retirement, and engages Kate with an intriguing case of a Park ranger gone missing as well as the detective from the D.A.’s office sent to find him.The setting is exotic and Stabenow, who is a native of Alaska, describes the equally exotic life of the “Park rats” very well. The writing is not terribly exciting, and the characters are pretty one-dimensional, no matter how Stabenow tries to dress them up. It’s a good book and interesting so long as you don’t expect top quality writing or plotting. But this was a first novel, and the premise is interesting enough to warrant further reading.Good for escape.
  • (4/5)
    Having read an advance readers copy of Though Not Dead and loving it, I decided to go back to the beginning and allow myself to be introduced to Kate Shugak good and proper. What can I say? I am in love with Dana Stabenow and her creation, Kate Shugak. Kate is an Alaskan native in every sense of the word. She can trace her Aleutian roots deep into the Alaskan soil and ice. She is living in a homestead cabin in the Park, away from civilization, with only her half-wolf/half-husky companion Mutt as company. She does not want to be bothered by anyone or anything, so she is not terribly pleased to hear the roar of the snow machine heading for her homestead. She is even less pleased to see who climbs off. After she is told that her help is needed to find not one but two missing people, a Park ranger and the man sent to find him, she is definitely unhappy. But she agrees to help because she knows that she is the only one who can find them. One of the things that I love about Dana Stabenow's writing is this: she alludes to things past without feeling the need to explain anything. She gives small glimpses, little teases, tiny but sometimes horrific snapshots. The reader is then allowed and encouraged to put these bits together and figure out what happened. No lengthy backstory is required. The snippets provided are plenty enough to understand. Another thing I love about Stabenow is the way she paints a portrait of the glorious Alaskan wilderness. She writes in such a way that I feel the deadly coldness through the pages. I can smell the crispness of the winter air. Stabenow opens little windows everywhere so you can peek into the souls of the characters, their lives, their cultures. And it's not always pretty. Or happy. Or fair. But it is what it is.And that's why I will continue reading this series. Besides, Kate and Mutt are the greatest kick-ass team around. On to book two.