Two crewmen of the crab vessel Avilda are missing—presumed dead—under very suspicious circumstances. The Bering Sea offers ample means and opportunity, but without bodies, a motive, or evidence of foul play, the DA doesn’t have a case. And so, freelancing again for her former employer, Kate Shugak finds herself working undercover in one of Alaska’s most dangerous professions: crab fisherman. It’s an assignment that will take her from the debauchery of Dutch Harbor to the most isolated of the Aleutians, and if the job itself doesn’t kill her, her unsavory crewmates just might.
Third in Stabenow’s Edgar Award-winning series of Alaskan mysteries, Dead in the Water is richly informed by the author’s own upbringing aboard an Alaskan fishing vessel.
In Stabenow's third Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell mystery (following 1998's Fire and Ice), the physical descriptions of Alaska are awesome: Stabenow places you right in this lonely, breathtaking country. But a novel needs more than scenery and here the scenery, so beautifully evoked that it serves as another character, can't move the story along by itself. When Liam's lover, pilot Wy Chouinard, discovers the murdered Opal Nunapitchuk while delivering mail at lonely Kagati Lake, she calls Campbell and his assistant, Diane Prince. At first it seems a random assault; then a woman disappears after her husband is killed at their gold mining claim. When the troopers connect the crimes with a 20-year-old string of missing women, they know they're following a previously undetected serial killer. Meanwhile, Wy's adopted teenage son, Tim, is again in danger from his alcoholic birth mother. Wy hastens him to Moses Alakuyak's fish camp at Old Man Creek, where Moses and his girlfriend, Bill, take care of the boy. When Peter Cole, whose cabin is another stop on Wy's mail run, is found dead, she plots the track of the present crimes and realizes the madman is headed for Old Man Creek. Edgar-winner Stabenow is an accomplished writer whose books, including the Kate Shugak and the Star Svensdotter series, are always entertaining. But in this one the sense of place overwhelms everything else, although that may be what Alaska is all about.
Customer ReviewsSee All
It's a rough, tough life Of toil and strife
That's crabbing in a nutshell!
I wasn't too surprised to see Rolling Down to Old Maui come out of Kate's mouth, and glad I am she's considering singing again. I will always hear that song in the late Stan Rogers's voice.
As always, a Kate Shugak book takes me on several side trips to Wikipedia to learn more about a place or an event. This time, I started the book about 11:30pm, and finished it at--what do you mean it's almost 6am? Better than tossing and coughing and wishing I could sleep with this cold!
I always appreciate the history, more exposure to Aleut culture, and geography lessons. This time I was introduced to story knives, and basket weaving with rye grass.
I saw at least a bit of Deadliest Catch, and in the SF Bay Area, we're likely to have Dungeness rather than tanner crabs, and the crabbers are out of Half Moon Bay instead of Anchorage, but I knew something going in about how scary open ocean crabbing is. That didn't really matter: you're taken out of your favorite reading location and dropped on the deck of a crabber in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea so well that your hands numb from the cold, and your exhaled breath turns to ice, upon leaving your body.
Read this with something hot to drink. It'll help warm your hands back up.
Fun & Addictive
Dana gives you a glimpse into life in Alaska, only without the cold or mosquitoes.
The stories ave enough color and background to make it very easy to become part of it.
Kate Shugak series ROCKS.
Written by an Alaskan about an Alaskan. Dana is a visual writer, with the ability to pace her novels to draw you in from the first page and keep you with her to the last. I'm on the fifth in the series, and hoping they never end.