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.
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.
The demise of 89-year-old Samuel "Old Sam" Dementieff, Kate Shugak's friend, relative, and mentor, triggers a deadly treasure hunt in Edgar-winner Stabenow's brilliant 18th novel to feature the feisty Alaska detective (after 2010's A Night Too Dark). Through flashbacks, Stabenow covers key events in Sam's life and Alaska's history, from the devastating flu epidemic of 1918 to the state's newest and biggest gold mine, the Suulutaq. Sam's service during WWII in the real-life army unit known as Castner's Cutthroats, his meeting Dashiell Hammett in the Aleutians, and his surprising romances all are foundation and prelude to the search for a missing Russian icon, a manuscript possibly penned by Hammett, and a monstrous gold nugget. Kate is at her butt-kicking best as she and Mutt, her inseparable half-wolf, half-husky companion, deal with murder, theft, and deception from Anchorage to the wilderness of Canyon Hot Springs, where Old Sam staked his homestead. Author tour.
Though Not Dead is Superb
Artfully woven pieces of the long ago beginning of the story, the current dangerous mystery, and a side story that brings Jim home to Kate. In the end, you can’t put the book down and are immensely satisfied with the ending. My favorite Kate Shugak, ever.
A Comfortable Old Shoe
Objectively, my rating is probably a little exuberant. However, as a Kate Shugak and Dana Stabenow fan, I liked it a lot. The writing and plot could have been a little tighter but, for curling up with old friends, it was just fine for me. Some really interesting Alaskan history is woven throughout the story. Ms. Stabenow also continues to totally engage the reader in her characters' lives. Plot is maybe a little too much "twisty and turny", but still satisfying for the typical mystery/thriller reader.
Kate and Mutt are my heroes!
Another great book by Stabenow. Good adventure mystery and a fast read.