Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow is the sixteenth book in the “Kate Shugak” mystery series.  Publisher: Minotaur Books, February 2009

Inside Alaska’s biggest national park, around the town of Niniltna, a gold mining company has started buying up land. The residents of the Park are uneasy. “But gold is up to nine hundred dollars an ounce” is the refrain of Talia Macleod, the popular Alaskan skiing champ the company has hired to improve their relations with Alaskans and pave the way for the mine’s expansion. And she promises much-needed jobs to the locals.

But before she can make her way to every village in the area to present her case at town meetings and village breakfasts, there are two brutal murders, including that of a long-standing mine opponent. The investigation into those deaths falls to Trooper Jim Chopin and, as usual, he needs Kate to help him get to the heart of the matter.

Between those deaths and a series of attacks on snowmobilers up the Kanuyaq River, not to mention the still-open homicide of Park villain Louis Deem last year, part-time P.I. and newly elected chairman of the Niniltna Native Association Kate Shugak has her hands very much full.

Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series continues to be beloved among crime fiction fans, but also provides a fascinating window into life and death in Alaska.

Kate Shugak is a part-time private investigator living in Niniltna, Alaska with her 16-year old adopted son and her live-in lover, Alaska state trooper Jim Chopin.  Two people have been murdered since a gold mining company has been buying up the land.  Residents and tourists have been attacked while on the Kanuyaq River, including Kate’s adopted son.  Jim, still investigating a previous murder case is looking into one having hired Kate to assist him in solving the murder.  Meanwhile Kate suspects some locals may be responsible for the snowmobiling attack and sets out to capture them.  This was a good read that I couldn’t put down until I was finished.  [3.5 stars]

*new-to-me author

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