In this mystery series by Dana Stabenow, the Edgar Award-winning author returns to the Alaskan setting she's famous for, with a wonderful character - state trooper Liam Campbell. Liam's just been transferred from Anchorage to the small fishing village of Newenham, Alaska - where a local pilot seems to have lost his head.
©1998 Dana Stabenow (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Well, I thought I was buying a crime novel ... I have had to give up on this for several reasons:
I absolutely hated the voice of the narrator - though by 3/4 of the way through side one I managed to get used to the strange raspy voice.
I started to think that I had stumbled into the Mills and Boon directory in error, the intimate sex scenes were totally unnecessary, were far too detailed and too long, I started to feel like a voyeur. There seemed no point to the inclusion of these scenes, and I really didn't want to know what she did with her mouth - nor what he did with his. Some things are private!
The book still hasn't gone through any investigation about 'the incident', and I am on side two.
I really cannot give up any more of my time to this non- story. I just don't care any more!
The characters don't interest me, the plot is non existent, and I am getting more and more irritated by its lack of direction.
How has it got so many 5* reviews?
"A quick heads up!"
Why pay $3.95 for this "Book Du Jour" when the kindle edition is $0.00 and after you "purchase" that book the Audible audiobook is $1.99. Obviously this is not a review but I didn't know where else to post.
"wonderful mystery and love story"
this is my second (maybe third time). The characters are wonderfully drawn. The main characters are diverse ethnically and in terms of personality but all have a strong moral core.
I'll confess -- the love story.
Liam Campbell is a great character - a strong male state trooper who struggles daily with the aftermath of personal tragedy.
Yes, to the detriment of my house work.
This whole 4 book series is excellent. I only wish there were more.
"Not sure I like Liam but I enjoyed the book"
I downloaded the “Fire and Ice” the first book in Dana Stabenow’s Liam Campbell series, to help bridge the gap while I wait for the Brilliance Audio version of “Killing Grounds”, book 8 in the series Kate Shugak series, to come out in January 2014 to get another slice of Alaskan life.
What I got was something quite different from the Kate Shugak series, even down to the writing style but something that gave me another view on what Alaska can mean to people.
Liam Campbell is a newly-demoted State Trooper, who steps off the plane at the remote town he has been exiled to, and steps into a storm of violence, eccentricity, lust and death.
The story is well-plotted, seasoned with humor and chaos, stuffed with larger-than-life characters that we know will be in all the future books and it gives a vivid view of what it feels like to take on the potentially lethal task of “herring spotting” from a light plane in an overcrowded sky.
Stabenow’s books are never just about finding out who killed whom. They are an exploration of why people live the way they do and what it is about Alaska that drives particular behaviors.
In this book Alaska is being shown as a place where people go to make a new start. It’s also shown as place with all the usual problems of violence against women, alcohol addiction, child abuse and the pressures of a small town to make you behave “appropriately”.
I couldn’t quite bring myself to like Liam Campbell, the man with a tragic past and a grief-filled present. Then I realized that this was what Stabenow intended. I couldn’t like Liam because he doesn’t like himself. His distaste for himself at first appears to be a reaction to things he couldn’t control but feels accountable for: death’s on his watch, a tragedy in his family; things that would damage any man. As the book progresses we realize that the fundamental source of internal disgust is that he is a man who has betrayed himself and everyone he loves and he can’t forgive himself for that. The problem was, I couldn’t forgive him for it either.
There are some signs that Liam is on a journey of redemption. In future books, I hope to see something about him that will make me care. I’d like to see his self-pity and self-absorption replaced by some passion for making a difference by actually doing his job. Perhaps the reason Stabenow keeps Campbell out of his uniform for most of the book, is to signal his failure to engage and to become who he should be.
The sex scene at the beginning of the book caught me by surprise. It is graphic without being gratuitous but it goes way beyond anything you’d find in a Kate Shugak novel. The scene is actually well written – it describes arousal without being arousing. It is necessary because the sexual attraction between Campbell and the Wy is central to how Liam came to be where he is. I like the fact that Stabenow sets this up so that we understand that lust does not explain or excuse Liam’s actions any more than alcohol explains why someone is a drunk.
I enjoy Marguerite Gavin as the narrator of the Kate Shugak series. I wish someone else had been chosen to read the Liam Campbell series. I think a male reader would have been more appropriate and would have made a clearer separation between Liam and Kate. She didn’t distract me from the book, but she didn’t add to it either.
"You'll lose your head over this Alaskan mystery!"
Great first book in a new series by Stabenow, best known for her Kate Shugak series set in Alaska. This series is also set in Alaska, following Liam Campbell, who has just been demoted from Sergeant to Trooper and reassigned to the Alaskan Bush. We are familiarized with his past through remembrances as the story progresses, which can be a bit confusing if you don't pay close attention, but is a good way to keep the plot moving while still providing the backstory. I was surprised at how much I liked this book, as I was afraid I would continually compare it (unfavorably) to the Shugak series. Stabenow introduces characters I look forward to learning more about in later books. I was enveloped from the beginning, with Campbell observing all his fellow air travelers, assigning them nicknames (moccasin man, old fart, the flirt) and predicting what future crimes they might commit.
Like "Dead in the Water" of the Shugak series, I learned something of Alaskan industry (in this case, herring fishing and aerial spotting, whereas it was crab fishing in "Dead in the Water.") This was an extra bonus to the book. As with the Shugak series, the Alaska setting only enhances my enjoyment of the volume.
Highly recommend this novel for any fans of mystery.
Gavin, as usual, delivers an excellent performance. A female narrator may seem an odd choice for a book with a male protagonist, but Gavin has proven to be THE voice of Stabenow's Alaska, and does not let her listeners down here.
"Beautifully written Alaskan mystery"
Ms. Stabenow is a wonderful writer. Her knowledge of Alaska is from her own perspective, having lived there all her life. And she uses that knowledge exceptionally well. Admittedly, I am not as crazy about the Liam books as I am about her Kate Shugak mysteries, but that is a personal preference which has nothing to do with whether the Liam books are good. They are very very good. This is the first in the Liam series, and I highly recommend you read all of them. I have, and they are right up there on my all time favorites list.
The characters in all of Ms. Stabenow’s works are quirky, to say the least. They are the kind of people you would expect in a dangerous land like the wilds of Alaska – strong, determined, and sometimes weird beyond measure! Another thing I really like about the book is the fact that her heros and heroines are in no way perfect. Liam is a recovering alcoholic, riddled with self doubt and wanting badly to turn his life around. Moving from the “big city” of Anchorage to a small fishing village, Liam is immediately drawn in to the weirdness of an Alaska fishing village – the odd ducks, alcoholics, and various and sundry detritus of society who are more comfortable in the wilds than in civilization. And nobody writes these characters better than Dana.
The story grabs you from the first and doesn’t let go. Overall, Highly recommended. Then go buy all her other books too – they are well worth the read!
"A real page turner"
I truly enjoyed this story. I listened to it after I listened to the first book in the Kate Shugak series. I loved the well developed characters and plot. The story started out fast and kept that pace throughout the book. I was happy that I was able to take this book everywhere. I bought the next book before I finished the first.
"Couldn't Get Into it.."
I seriously had no interest in finishing the book. I usually make myself finish, but I just couldn't. The main character is a man and the woman does a poor job trying to sound like a man....for some reason this really bugged me...sorry.
Yep - will never purchase another
Nothing - couldn't stand it
Wasted a credit on this for sure....don't bother
"I'm not a fan of Liam Campbell"
I did not realize this was not a Kate Shugak story when I bought it. I had some trouble getting into this one, as I did not find the character of Liam engaging. I will pay more attention now that I know the author has another character in the mix.
Honestly, I don't recall finishing it. If I did, I was not sufficiently impressed to recall.
Again, I do not recall the specifics, but I DO like Marguerite Gavin's performances. It took a while to get used to her, as sometimes the inflexions seem out of character or inappropriate, but her depictions of the Alaskan natives, and their mannerisms is spot on!
I am not saying it was a bad book or story, or that you should NOT take it on. For me, this character simply cannot compete w/ Kate Sugak, which is what I was expecting. Some readers/listeners may prefer Liam to Kate. It just depends on the listener.
I rarely refuse to finish a book. In point of fact my average is less than 1 out of a 100, however, this has the dubious honor of joining that club. Not only is the handoff, then the town, a witty parody of reality, but the sex scene with a prime suspect at the scene of a grisly murder destroys any hope of realism. This is bad, if well narrated. Avoid it.
This is a solid story and set of characters with a beautiful Alaskan backdrop. Still, I just wasn't able to connect with the lead character and it didn't leave me wanting to read more...
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