Monday, August 4, 2014

Mystery Monday: Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow


Title: Restless in the Grave
Author: Dana Stabenow
Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2012.  373 pages.
Source: Purchased ebook 

Stabenow has yielded to temptation at last and brought her two Alaska detectives together in one story. Liam Campbell has finally met a crime, or a possible crime, he can't handle himself. His own wife is a key suspect, and what he most wants is for Kate Shugak to prove it wasn't Wy who messed with a fellow-pilot's plane. What Kate encounters, of course, is way bigger than either of them imagined.

This book has everything I've come to expect of a Dana Stabenow mystery: a complex plot, a modest amount of violence, sex, and a touch of humor that holds it all together. In addition, it has both of her star detectives, whom I like very much: PI Kate Shugak (and her sidekick Mutt, who is "only" half wolf), and Liam Campbell, sole representative of the Alaska State Troopers in Newenham on Bristol Bay.

I found the mystery compelling (and far beyond my ability to predict, though I picked up on a couple of connections that I knew had to go somewhere), and the violence is kept to a level I can live with. Since Kate and Jim Chopin, her Significant Other, spend the story on opposite sides of the state, the sex is also kept at a more tolerable level. [This may or may not be an issue for some readers, but I'm beginning to find Stabenow's sex scenes a bit over the top.]  I do get a little tired of male characters who have a magical sex appeal that makes even sensible and otherwisely committed women lose their heads. Of course, Kate and some others have the same effect on a lot of the male characters, so maybe this is a comment on Alaska?

In any case, as a long-time fan of Kate Shugak and Mutt, I greatly enjoyed their latest adventure, and have no complaints about the plot and story development.

If you've read other Stabenow mysteries, read this. If you haven't, I recommend starting with Kate from the beginning. Each novel does stand alone, but there is a lot of backstory that has built up over 19 novels, and the read will be richer if you know the history. Besides, it's fun to watch Stabenow's style change and develop over the years. I do wholeheartedly recommend the series to anyone who likes mysteries with a bit of an edge (definitely not "cozies") but also just a touch of humor, in a great setting.

Full Disclosure: I purchased Restless in the Grave with my own money and of my own volition, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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