A Night Too Dark: A Kate Shugak Novel
Minotaur, 2010 (2010)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
Whisper to the Blood
, the sixteenth episode in this long-running and deservedly popular series, Kate Shugak settled into a degree of domestic bliss with half-wolf Mutt, her lover, Alaska state trooper Jim Chopin, and her sixteen-year-old foster son Johnny Morgan, legacy of Jack Morgan, the man she loved deeply and who died to save her in
. She also settled into the role the Park Aunties maneuvred her into taking, as Chairman of the Niniltna Native Association, just in time to deal with the arrival on the scene of Global Harvest Resources Inc., with plans to develop the world's second-largest gold mine.
ow Johnny and his girlfriend Vanessa Cox take summer jobs at the mine, the Aunties all find ways to exploit the new reality, Jim is kept busy with a rising crime rate, everything is changing - and Kate starts feeling crowded. Though the mine is good for the Park economy, Kate doesn't like the changes it brings. On top of all this, dead bodies start showing up. The first is identified as a depressed Suulutaq mine employee, Dewayne Gammons, who apparently chose to kill himself and ended up as a bear's spring feast. Then someone to whom Gammons was close also dies - an accident or murder? When a traumatized figure staggers out of the bush into Kate's homestead, the confusion thickens.
omplicating the mystery are environmental activist non-profit organization Gaea, corporate espionage, and money laundering under FBI investigation. Serial bigamist Randy Randolph - a mild-mannered baker who really doesn't look the part - adds comic relief. Kate and Jim solve the case. Life - and death - go on, as does this absorbing series. It looks like the mine, Gaea and the the Niniltna Native Association will continue to be the focus of at least the next episode in this consistently excellent series. As always, I look forward to it.
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