Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow

Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow

Stabenow is very popular in our library system, but I had never read one, so I picked this one up to listen to while I was working around the house.  The book focuses on main series character Kate Shugak, a Native American PI living (most of the time anyway) in the Park – the wilds of Alaska some miles outside of Anchorage.  In this book she is mourning the loss of her Great Uncle, Old Sam.  Soon though, she is cursing her beloved Old Sam for leaving her a final letter to Find His Father!  Easier said than done since Sam was about 90 when he passed and it seems that other players are just as interested as Kate to solve the mysteries of Old Sam’s past. 

I enjoy mysteries that flit back and forth between the present and the past so I really enjoyed this one.  You get glimpses into Old Sam’s life as a young man and the experience of the Native Alaskans in the Aleutians during WWII and during the bid for statehood.  There is a lot of history in here.  The mystery is also well crafted.   I didn’t know who was responsible for what attempt on Kate’s life until almost the end.

Okay.  I have to say it.  I had a really hard time dealing with her dog Mutt.  She seems a nice husky/wolf mix but when one character asked Mutt, “Hey Girl, where’s Kate?” I had memories of Lassie and Timmy in my head and had a hard time taking Mutt seriously after that.  She’s a little too superdog for me.

If you want to learn about modern day Native culture in Alaska, what life (and food – they eat LOTS of moose in this book) is like and the climate (VERY cold) you couldn’t pick a better book.  Great on audio, because I don’t think I would have pronounced some of the place names correctly in my head!