Bad Blood: The Review

15785231  Bad Blood; Dana Stabenow, 2012; Minotaur Books, NY

Number twenty in the Kate Shugak murder mystery series and still packin a wallop. From the first Shugak book A Cold Day For Murder to her more recent Bad Blood author Dana Stabenow consistently delivers a great murder mystery over and over again.

I first came across this author’s work a couple of years ago and got so hooked that I immediately set about acquiring a copy of every one of her Kate Shugak, Liam Campbell and other assorted novels I could get my hands on (saving up for that hardback copy of “A Cold Day For Murder“). But it’s not just her  characters I love but it’s Stabenow’s ability to bring her readers into the media center of her home, ramp up the home version of whatever story she’s telling and feed you everything but the kitchen sink (and she’d probably do that too if she could figure out how to put it into words). She’s like a living Storyknife all on her own.

When I wasn’t seasick I wrote stories about NORMAL children who lived on SHORE, and made 5540871907_966c6ee2b9my mother read them. Probably some of my best work. – Dana Stabenow

There are a lot of authors who’s work I really like, but there are not a lot whose work is set apart not just by the characters they create but by the voice and cadence in which they create them. And in my not so humble opinion, Dana Stabenow is one of those rare finds who not only write great stories but who do it in that rare way, that should she ever decide to write under an alias with an entirely different genre, like Anne Rice and Norman McClean, I will still know it’s her.

As for the book itself. Dang! Dang! Dang! I read the last paragraph and yelled “What the….” at no one in particular, then thought, “That was absolutely brilliant Stabenow. Way to leave em hangin.”

Probably her greatest cliff hanger to date and if she doesn’t ever write another Kate Shugak novel again I will shoot myself. LOL! Not really. But I will do a slow burn until I find out what happened.

And if you’ve never read a Dana Stabenow book – well you can always repent, get your hinder parts down to the nearest library or book distributor of your choice and remedy the fact. I guarantee you’ll love it or your money…. well just do. It’s worth the investment.

On my reader’s scale of 1-5 stars Bad Blood get 4.5 stars for story, 4,5 stars for just being another great Kate Shugak novel and 3 for making me lose an entire nights sleep because my brain would not stop playing the story over and over again.

Dana Stabenow

Book Review: Restless in the Grave; Dana Stabenow; 2012 Saint Martin’s Press, NY

The nineteenth murder mystery book in the life of Alaskan native, Kate Shugak; PI, park rat, Aleut – five –foot – nothing of female wiles and intuition.

Author Dana Stabenow has yet to disappoint; whether she’s writing about Kate Shugak, Liam Campbell,  or branching out with stand alone like Blindfold Games or Prepared for Rage, her ability to weave mystery, social relevance, and character development never ceases to amaze me. Except for killing off some of my favorite characters and making me cry, I’ve yet to finish one of her books and found it wanting.

In this newest Shugak mystery  “Restless in the Grave”, Stabenow has once again  managed to write about the personal and political intrigues that govern the great state of Alaska without boring me to tears; making even the historical background of tribal politics palatable. Matter of fact, she is one of the very few writers that doesn’t make my eyeballs roll to the back of my head the moment I read words like statehood, association, politician and WWI – II.  She  is a master at weaving murder, bad – behaving – politicians,  Native American history,  and family conflict into murder, buried mystery, and just enough romance to keep hope alive.

“Over a third of the Newenhan population was under eighteen,which didn’t make his job any easier, the hormonally challenged being terminally and all too often fatally prone to acts of stupidity.” ― Dana StabenowRestless In The Grave

Liam Campbell novels

And best of all, being the prude that I am, I can still get through the scattering of sexual encounters (usually brief and to the point) as well as  potty mouthed character portrayal,  with barely a flinch; particularly as the author is brilliant at using one or both as enhancements to her story, rather than fill in props for poorly developed plot lines.

Let’s face it; Stabenow makes even law enforcement potentially sexy.

If you want a great read, and enjoy reading about characters that have more life in them than your Uncle Carl and Auntie Susie, then I highly recommend not only Dana’s newest Shugak mystery, but going back to the beginning with “A Cold Day for Murder

For continually keeping me entertained and wanting more, I give “Restless in the Grave” 4.5 stars.