When winter’s done, but spring has not yet fully-sprung, much of Alaska tuns to slush. Locally, it’s called “breakup,” and it’s a… messy time of year. It’s certainly messy for Kate Shugak; between doing her taxes, being chased by grizzlies and getting shot-at by feuding families, she has to cope with an NTSB investigation that hits very close to home. Then, of course, there’s the body in the woods. And up at the old mining town. And… being Kate Shugak, somehow she can’t leave well enough alone, and begins to tease-apart a well-planned and surprising crime.
Breakup is the seventh novel in Stabenow’s Edgar Award-winning Kate Shugak series, and is often-cited as a fan-favorite.
In this gripping eighth appearance of former Anchorage, Alaska, investigator Kate Shugak, a fisherman is murdered, leaving almost as many suspects as fish in the ocean. Cal Meany was a cheat, a poacher, an abusive husband and father, an adulterer and an opportunist who disdains joining the fishermen's strike against the largest local wholesaler, which has drastically reduced the price it pays for salmon. While helping her relative Old Sam on his tender in the Gulf of Alaska, Kate discovers Meany's body in Alaganik Bay: he's been beaten, stabbed, strangled and drowned. Kate assists state trooper Jim Chopin's investigation. As they validate alibis, suspicions point to Meany's family. After Meany's daughter is murdered and his handyman disappears, Kate's lover, Jack Morgan, and his son, Johnny, visiting from Anchorage, help with her investigation. In a harrowing climax, Kate identifies the murderer and the unusual motive. The background allows Stabenow to examine the predicament of commercial fisherman threatened by fish farms, native subsistence fishing and lucrative sport fishing. As usual, Aleut customs are seamlessly woven into the plot; here, Auntie Joy is suing the government to retain traditional fishing rights. In powerful prose, Stabenow evokes Alaska's rugged physical splendors and the toll taken on the humans who live there.
Another Great Kate Shugak Story!
Mesmerized from the first page, I couldn't put the book down. Another terrific adventure with Kate, Mutt and her endearing group of friends and family. Some unexpected twists and turns kept me dying to find out what would happen next. I became so lost in the story I thought Kate was my heroine best friend and Mutt by beloved side kick. I was truly sadden when I read the last page and realized the journey was over. The good news is, its not over I can read the next Kate Shugak adventure. Keep writing Dana!!