Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow is the 18th book in the “Kate Shugak” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, February 2011

The residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned by the death of one of their oldest members, eighty-seven-year-old Old Sam Dementieff…Even private investigator Kate Shugak. Sam, a lifelong resident, dubbed the “father” of all of the Park rats—even though he had no children of his own—was especially close to Kate, his niece, but even she is surprised to discover that in his will he’s left her everything, including a letter instructing her simply to, “find my father.”

Easier said than done, since Sam’s father is something of a mystery. An outsider, he disappeared shortly after learning about Sam’s existence, taking with him a priceless tribal artifact, a Russian icon. And in the three days after Kate begins her search through Sam’s background, she gets threatened—and worse.

The flashbacks from Sam’s fascinating life, including scenes from major events in Alaska’s colorful history, punctuate a gripping story in which Kate does her best to fulfill Sam’s last wish without losing her own life to the people who are following her every move, though what they are searching for Kate doesn’t even know.

In Dana Stabenow’s breathtaking new novel, Though Not Dead, the eighteenth to feature Kate Shugak, Kate’s search for the long-lost family secrets that have been interwoven with the epic history of an unforgiving land leads to an extraordinary treasure hunt with fatal consequences.

When Kate is named heir to her uncle’s possession, she astounded at what she is learning about him and his life. On a search for her uncle, as bequeathed by him, she is repeatedly harmed by persons unknown who is looking for whatever Kate is seeking. With Jim taking care of family matter, Kate is alone on her journey of discovery. With a great locale filled with history, wonderful cast of characters and intriguing storylines, this was an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages until the end. I can’t wait for the next adventures with Kate and Mutt.

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