This is book two in the Kate Shugak series. Kate is a former investigator for the Fairbanks police department who was nearly killed during a drug bust. The near fatal injury has left her with a raspy voice and a very noticeable scar on her neck. After this incident she “retired” to her homestead in the wilderness of Alaska, however, when crime happens in the Park area where she lives she is called on to investigate. She lived in the area all her life and knows better than anyone the people and their ways.
In this book a serial killer has gone on a killing spree. Nine people are killed before he ends up near Kate’s home and she and her faithful dog, Mutt, manage to disarm him and turn him over to the police. During the investigation it is discovered that one of the nine victims was not shot by the serial killer’s gun but by someone else’s gun. Kate is asked to investigate. Kate digs up more than few secrets about this victim and finds more than one person who was happen to see her gone. During the investigation Kate herself is shot at and also a park ranger. The motive in this case has been building for many years and while Kate suspects she knows who the killer is she desperately wants it to be someone else.
I found this book impossible to put down. I had thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series when I came across it a few months ago but I think this one was even better. There is plenty of action in the story to keep you on the edge of your seat but the author also gives you a break now and then from the action to get to know the characters and their relationships better.
I also really enjoy the author’s descriptions of the area in which the story takes place. She has a way of bringing the scene to life without being overly flowery or leaving you feeling bogged down in the description. She gives you enough so you feel like you are there and it always feels like the descriptions are helping to tell the story as a whole. I especially enjoyed in the book her recounting of the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis.
I would definitely give this book a 4 out of 4 stars. I think those who like action and those who like mystery/crime type stories will really enjoy this book.