Murder mystery is set in Alaska |

Murder mystery is set in Alaska

Jennifer Evans

“A Taint in the Blood: A Kate Shugak Novel” by Dana Stabenow

“A Taint in the Blood” is the 14th book in the Kate Shugak mystery series. This novel, set mainly in Anchorage, picks up where “A Grave Denied” left off. Native Alaskan Kate Shugak had become the top investigator for the Anchorage district attorney’s office.

After getting her throat cut while apprehending a child abuser, she retired to the Park, a 20-million acre patch of Alaskan wilderness.

Now Kate is a tough, independent private investigator.

Charlotte Muravieff hires Kate to prove that her mother, who is serving time for killing one of Charlotte’s brothers, was not responsible for the crime. Charlotte’s mother, Victoria, was convicted of setting a fire in her house 30 years earlier that killed one of her sons and injured another.

As Kate starts digging for answers she uncovers decades of buried secrets. People connected to the case and Kate’s investigation start dying, which only makes Kate more determined to learn the truth.

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In this latest installment in the series, the interplay between Kate and state trooper Jim Chopin, a Park legend and resident hunk, escalates and adds a humorous, romantic element to the story.

As in the earlier books, Kate’s best friend Mutt, who is half wolf and half dog, will appeal to animal lovers.

Readers of the series will notice that many of the characters from previous books are absent in this story, since it takes place in Anchorage and not in the usual Alaskan wilderness park. Even though it is easy to pick up the characters in “A Taint in the Blood,” it would be best to start at the beginning of the series. The first book, “A Cold Day for Murder,” won an Edgar Award, a prize named after Edgar Allan Poe, which is presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. Other books in this series include “A Fatal Thaw,” “Singing of the Dead,” “Breakup,” “Midnight Come Again” and “A Fine and Bitter Snow.”

Dana Stabenow has another mystery series starring Liam Campbell, an Alaskan state trooper with a troubled past and uncertain future. She also has written several science fiction novels.

Watch for Stabenow’s newest thriller, “Blindfold Game,” scheduled to come out in January. Visit the Lake Tahoe Branch Library at 233 Warrior Way in Zephyr Cove and get to know Kate Shugak and Liam Campbell. For more information about the library, please call (775) 588-6411.

– Jennifer Evans is thesenior library technician at the LakeTahoe Branch Library in Zephyr Cove.