Eighteen months ago, Aleut Kate Shugak quit her job investigating sex crimes for the Anchorage DA's office and retreated to her father's homestead in a national park in the interior of Alaska. But the world has a way of beating a path to her door, however remote. In the middle of one of the bitterest Decembers in recent memory ex-boss - and ex-lover - Jack Morgan shows up with an FBI agent in tow. A Park ranger with powerful relatives is missing, and now the investigator Jack sent in to look for him is missing, too.
Reluctantly, Kate, along with Mutt, her half-wolf, half-husky sidekick, leaves her wilderness refuge to follow a frozen trail through the Park, twenty thousand square miles of mountain and tundra sparsely populated with hunters, fishermen, trappers, mushers, pilots and homesteaders. Her formidable grandmother and Native chief, Ekaterina Shugak, is - for reasons of her own - against Kate's investigation; her cousin, Martin, may be Kate's prime suspect; and the local trooper, Jim Chopin, is more interested in Kate than in her investigation. In the end, the sanctuary she sought after five and a half years in the urban jungles may prove more lethal than anything she left behind in the city streets of Anchorage.
State of suspense: listen to more Alaskan mysteries in the Kate Shugak series.
©2011 Dana Stabenow (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
This is a standard murder mystery lifted above the pack by excellent writing, unique environment and charismatic characters.
Kate is... irascible, bright, loyal, terse... All kinds of person and it shows in the personal conflict she manages to deal with with grace.
Awful. I have given up on only two books in my life; and this is the 2nd. I really, really don't care about the method of heating for a shack in a native village in Alaska or how housing is transported, I certainly do not want a 5 minute description of each; just give me the story! Is there one? I'm in chapter 4 and NOTHING that is not on the front cover, has happened.
No redeeming qualities. Bin it.
Absolutely no depth to the story or any of the characters. There was no suspense, no build up, no tension, the story just trotted along aimlessly then ended. Had it been longer, I would never have finished it.
It was ok. I can't blame the narrator for the boring story.
All of it. The story was just too weak. Most of the story was filling, linking together a few uninteresting events.
The synopsis is the most interesting part of this book. For a book that was only 5.5 hours, I nearly gave up after 3 hours thinking that the story was going nowhere, but I thought as I was over half way, I would plough through. I had to force myself to listen to the last hour, including the big (or not so big) reveal, so I could write a fair review. Normally when I reach the last hour of a book, I am listening anywhere and everywhere. I listened to the last 10 minutes, purely to delete it and move on to the next book.
After living in Alaska for nearly 40 years and being away for 15, I enjoyed a visit back home through this book. That being said, the realism of the Alaskan Native struggle saddened me again as the author unfolded the story very well,I think, from the perspective of Kate Shugack,a well educated,strong Alaskan Native woman.
I found the story gripping, exciting, and true to the Alaskan life style of the "bush" areas. I loved the characters who were so well developed that I thought I may have known some of them. The author is very well acquainted with what it means to be Alaskan, Native or white.
If you are interested in a good mystery, in an exotic setting, this book is for you. Get your parka on, curl up to a warm fire, and enjoy a great, gritty, fast paced Alaskan adventure!
"Kate & Mutt Kick Ass"
When I recently listened to A Cold day for Murder for about the 10th time, I realized that Dana Stabenow is simply a genius. The character of Kate is strong, engaging, self-sufficient, funny and relentless. She may be burnt out from 5 years of protecting Alaskan children from physical & sexual abuse, but she isn't whining or looking for a man to rescue her.
Kate (about 30) was a breath of fresh air; a truly mature adult female in contrast to the wimpy young bimbos so popular in current fiction. I had a good laugh imaging some alpha jerk attempting to dominate her body & mind; Kate would have kicked his ass and left his bloody corpse for the bears.
The plot introduced all the park residents, an interesting mix characters and Kate's former boss and lover Jack plus her half wolf, half Husky. The murder mystery was engrossing with lots of surprises and twists. I am looking forward to listening to the entire series again.
"You never go wrong with a Stabenow novel"
I have been waiting until all Stabenow's books are in audible format, so I have "read" some of the latter books before this one. This book was not as complex, but it is great to get to know the characters from the beginning. Gavin's performance is, as usual, top notch.
One inconsistency, though, is the variation in the story of the how Kate received her throat scar. In "Though Not Dead", the 4 year old was a random victim, whereas in this (first) of the series, the victim was the child of the perpetrator. This does not diminish from the impact of the book, however -- it must be difficult to keep facts consistent over the course of more than a dozen novels.
The best character in the story is Alaska itself. Stabenow takes you there and it is a fun trip. Also love the partnership between Kate and her dog, Mutt.
Please make ALL of Stabenow's books available!
"Great Alaskan Character-Driven Mystery"
When I noticed A Cold Day For Murder was only $1.99 at Audible, I went back to look at my review here on my site. . . and realized, there isn’t a review here. Hum… Being a HUGE lover of Dana Stabenow, I am somewhat flummoxed that I only have a review for Fire and Ice, which is from her Liam Campbell series, reviewed on site. Well, fiddle. There are nearly 950 reviews on Amazon, so my review won’t make that much difference I suppose – and seeing as how I have over 500 reviews on Amazon (yea!) I am not going to go through pages and pages to see if I wrote reviews before I started SIRTBT. So, here is a short review (Me? A Short Review?! Will wonders never cease?)
Kate Shugak is one of my favorite female characters of all time. Tough and determined, she is also damaged and flawed – in other words, a very real, very human character. Kate is Aleut, raised by her grandmother Ekaterina, a former Tribal Council member and still chief. She grew up in The Park, “twenty million acres, almost four times the size of Denali National Park but with less than one percent of the tourists.” Occupied by Native Aleut and a collection of oddballs and “stay away from them or you will get your ass shot – and you might be dinner as well” types, The Park is a wonderland – and a cold, heartless land where the slightest misstep could mean a brutal death.
The story itself has been well described by others, and you get the gist from the summary. What I want to tell you about is the world of Kate and her tribe. The Aleut have suffered for centuries, first at the hands of the Russians, then the Americans, and Stabenow weaves that story in to her narrative – giving you a good idea of just why the tribal members could really care less that a rich little white boy has gone missing – good riddance to the Outsider with the rich and powerful daddy.
What is truly breathtaking about Stabenow’s writing is her descriptive narrative – her true love for her native land shines out through her writing. And being a huge Marguerite Gavin fan, I am always pulled into all of the Kate stories.
Book Two, A Fatal Thaw, is now on Audible, and I can finally add it to my collection! There are 20 books in the series now (Book 11, The Singing of the Dead, is still not available on 271297Audible, but hopefully whatever is keeping it unavailable will be corrected soon.)
I will warn you – if you like the first book, they are like potato chips – you can’t listen to just one!
"I may listen to others in the series"
This is the first novel I have read or listed to by Dana Stebenow. It was okay, but most novels in the 20 book Kate Shugak Mystery series get much higher listener ratings. Like the novel, narration gets only 3 stars. The protagonist in this modern detective mystery series is very likeable as is her dog Mutt.
"Mystery in the Beautiful Alaskan Wilderness"
STORY (mystery) - A Cold Day for Murder introduces Kate Shugak, a native Alaskan and previous investigator for the Anchorage DA's Office who has retired to a quiet and peaceful life deep in the Alaskan wilderness. She is asked by Jack, her ex lover/boss, to conduct an investigation into the disappearance of two men who were last seen in her area. What follows is the typical murder investigation you've heard many times, but this one is set in Aleut territory with descriptive imagery of crisp winter mornings, snowmobile rides and encounters with wildlife. The investigation is interesting and the conclusion is somewhat unexpected. I enjoyed the author's treatment of the "past" between Jack and Kate.
PERFORMANCE - I have commented about this narrator before. She has a lovely voice, but she seems to lose her place while reading and then tack on the rest of a sentence as an afterthought. It doesn't happen enough to detract from the experience, but you will notice it when it happens.
OVERALL - This is the first book in the series, but it can stand alone. It is short (5 1/2 hours) and enjoyable, but there's nothing special about it except the Alaskan scenery. There is cursing and some violence, but not a lot. I don't plan to continue the series, except maybe an occasional book that may come on sale.
"A review I looked forward to writing!"
Saw this, the first in the Kate Shugak series, on Audible for $1.99, and snapped it up. Even though I'd read the book long ago I decided to start the series over again and I'm so glad I did. The experience of listening to the story, as opposed to reading it, was great fun. I'd forgotten about Ms. Stabenow's sharp wit and her special talent for painting her people and places into in my mind.
Of course Kate is my favorite character, with Mutt a close second, but each of them leaves an impression. Perhaps the fact that I've read all the books in the series contributes to that -- the feeling that I know them all as old friends with very different strengths.
I really enjoyed Kate's exchanges with Bobbie and with the bar owner, whose name escapes me because I'm having a senior moment. Interesting. Even though I can't remember the name I can see the bar owner's face in my mind's eye. I love the wit, the dry sarcasm, the literary allusions. The crying comes later with this series, but I chuckled and laughed out loud as I listened yesterday. Not gonna tell you where, but, oh Jack!! I'd forgotten that about you!
While I think the narrator did a good job overall, I felt she didn't do justice to the damage Kate's voice had suffered.
"Hooked by the Alaska connection"
A fan of mystery/detective stories all my life, I've been looking for a new (to me) author/series to listen to. The Alaska setting drew me to Dana Stabenow and Kate Shugak. While a little short of compelling, I found the story interesting and the characters well-defined. I found myself drawn into their lives and caring about what happens to them. I'm going to try another in the series.
"A Cold Day for Murder"
Marguerite Gavin does a great job bring Kate Shugak to like. Kate is a realistic and sympathetic character that I enjoyed reading about. The plot was strong and well developed as was the other characters. There was enough twist and turns to keep you guessing through out the book. I ususally read light and cozy mysteries and this was a bit darker. I spent an entire day listening to it. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries.
I've been intrigued by some of the other books in the series. It was highly recommended to me that I read the first few books to learn the background of Kate Shugak. I didn't find the story to be all that suspensful.
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it instead of listened to it. I thought the narrator's voice didn't suit what I thought the protagonist should sound like. Kate seemed to be a no-nonsense country gal with an injury to her throat. Her voice should have been husky at the very least. I was distracted by Marguerite Gavin's interpretation, so much so that I didn't focus on the story the way I should have.
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