Work hard, play hard. That's the credo on the oilfields of Alaska's North Slope, where harsh conditions and long, isolated shifts make for some of the best-paid jobs in the state. Management typically turns a blind eye to off-hours drinking and gambling, but a spate of drug-related deaths means it's time for Royal Petroleum to get its house in order. Working on behalf of the Anchorage DA, Kate Shugak is brought in undercover to identify the dealer and shut down the flow of cocaine. Of course, the dealer might have some very different ideas.
Informed by her own years working on the North Slope, Dana Stabenow's A Cold-Blooded Business captures a slice of life in a very Alaskan milieu.
Mystery matters less than people and place in this sixth adventure for Native Alaskan investigator Kate Shugak (after Play with Fire). Relishing the prospect of a solitary winter at her isolated cabin, Shugak is pressured back to Anchorage by her grandmother, a leader of her Native association. A member of the association board dies mysteriously as the group prepares to vote on a controversial development initiative for tribal hunting and fishing lands. Soon after Shugak agrees to help, another board member suffers a fatal "accident." With the help of her lover, Jack Morgan, a local policeman, and the 140-pound Mutt, her half-Husky, half-Arctic gray wolf, Shugak sorts through tribal politics and a long trail of corruption in battles over land and oil. Sensing that lobbyists and developers have penetrated the Native association, Shugak fears that the truth may hit close to home. Even if Stabenow sometimes lapses into lecture tones to solve the puzzle, Alaska's rough and tumble history fascinates, and Shugak is an eloquent voice for Native Alaskan concerns in changing times. Two contrasting chapters--Shugak's shooting a moose and her reluctant conversion to glamour at Nordstrom's--stand out. Major ad/promo; Mystery Guild alternate.
Fast paced ride of a story
Every book in this series so far makes me value certain amazing benefits of the electronic bookform.
Because I know so little about Alaska, her people (aside from one governor I will not name), its geology and geography, and its history, I end up looking up quite a lot of names, native words, places, and history. This means, due to that and meandering chains of links (but not a fence) from any Wikipedia pages, I may take 2-3 times longer to finish a book than had it been on paper.
I can't tell you how long I sought the meaning of "dobie fees", which I finally found in a court document of a case from 1960, about a Teamsters Union suit. It's what non-union members pay in order to be able to work on a site, such as a roustabout on Prudhoe Bay, or in Alberta Province in Canada. Nothing whatsoever to do with a comedy in the Sixties.
I really enjoy the chance to expand my knowledge in reading the Kate Shugak novels. I admire her spirit and her skills, and as many must, adore Mutt.
Having worked for an extinct oil company as a paralegal, I learned a lot about the oil industry, so some of the workings on the field here were familiar to me.
I find it hard to believe Kate can still be alive and functioning with all the damage done to her by the Bad Guys. In this book, if I hadn't known the were almost two dozen more, I would have been sure she -would- make it to the end alive.
I really enjoyed how one baddie got comeuppance in being captured by Kate, after one intensely painful fight. I didn't much care what happened medically afterwards to that person.
Read this book!
Love the Kate Shugak books!
I really love the Kate Shugak stories. They share a lot of history of Alaska and it is very interesting to read about the rituals of the Native Alaskan people. The stories themselves are good, but that makes them so much more interesting to read. I can't wait to start the next one!
Dana Stabenow is so good
Ms. Stabenow's characters just leap off the page and grab you. As a reader, you feel that you are right next to Kate cheering her on, worrying with and about her, and feeling just fine when another bad person is vanquished. Each of Ms. Stabenow's books has been, for me, a page-turner. They will be for you, too.