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A Cold Day for Murder (Kate Shugak #1) [Kindle Edition]

Dana Stabenow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (682 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise “The Park,” a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA’s department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she’s of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education, a career, and the righting of wrongs. Kate’s search for the missing men will take her from self-imposed exile back to a life she’d left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she'd hoped never to confront again.

The first novel in the popular Kate Shugak Series, A Cold Day for Murder established Dana Stabenow as a new voice in Alaskan mystery writing, and earned her an Edgar Award.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This whodunit rides the crest of today's styles: a female detective, a remote locale and the conflict between the traditional way of life (in this case Aleut) and modern America. Detective Kate Shugak became the top investigator for the Anchorage District Attorney's Office. But after getting her throat cut while apprehending a child abuser, she has retired to the Park, 20 million acres of Alaskan wilderness, snow and eccentrics--yet the children's cries keep reverberating in her head. When a park ranger--a congressman's son--disappears, as does the investigator sent after him, the FBI and Shugak's old boss ask for her help. In the process Shugak gets shot at twice and readers get a guided tour of the local landmarks, including Shugak's manipulative grandmother's house in Niniltna (pop. 800) and Bernie's Roadhouse, site of a hilarious showdown between two drunken pipeline workers with a stolen 30-ton excavating machine and a helicopter-flying state trooper. Stabenow's ( Second Star ) tale lacks tension, and Shugak's unfocused anger at the world seems a bit forced, but overall this is an enjoyable and well-written yarn.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Up in the cold Alaskan countryside, a young National Park Ranger disappears. When the investigator on the case also vanishes, it's time for detective Kate Shugak to start hunting for answers. For those who like murder mysteries, female sleuths, and books set in Alaska, this is the one.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1702 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 042513301X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Gere Donovan Press; 2.2 edition (December 29, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004S87M92
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #721 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A candidate to replace Hillerman? December 24, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's a lot to like about A COLD DAY FOR MURDER. Kate Shugak is a much more realistic character than most female private eyes on the best-seller list. She's an Aleut Indian and former investigator for the Anchorage District Attorney's office, but at the beginning of the story, she's returned home to the Alaskan northland, sulking about a case gone wrong during which she was brutally injured. She's been hiding out, pretty much living a hermit's existence when Jack Morgan, her former boss and lover, shows up to ask her to investigate the disappearance of a Park Ranger, who's been missing for six weeks, and one of his investigators who went looking for him. Coincidentally, the park ranger is also a Congressman's son.
The best part of the book is the atmosphere. It's cold up there and people get around by snow machine and plane or helicopter. Everything is expensive because it must be flown in. There's moose hunting and played out gold and silver mines and drunken Aleuts whose favorite pastime is fighting. The Aleut families are close-knit and there is reverence for seniors, as is evidenced by Ekaterina, Kate's grandmother, one of the first people Kate talks to about the case. She's the former president of the Native American Council and she plays dumb about what happened. The Aleuts hate Outsiders and a missing park ranger doesn't concern them much.
The structure of A COLD DAY FOR MURDER is pretty straight-forward. Shugak, and her dog Mutt, a part wolf Siberian husky, track the ranger's movements the day he disappeared. He wasn't too popular, being a greenie and all and recommending that the park be opened for Outsiders. The dialogue is sometimes repetitive and any astute reader can figure out who done it by about mid book. But I'm so starved for a Hillerman replacement that I plan to order another Kate Shugak mystery.
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155 of 164 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once more, with gusto January 12, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A rookie federal Park Ranger/son-of-a-congressman, and an investigator sent to find him, go missing in the cold expanse of Kate Shugak's Alaskan Park (occupying "twenty million acres, almost four times the size of Denali National Park but with less than one percent of the tourists.") Reluctantly, Kate, a former D.A's investigator herself until a run-in with a child molester left him dead and her soured her on the job and a major portion of "civilization," is on the case.
This is the first of Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak mystery series, and I'm glad I went back and started at the beginning. The reader is introduced to Jack Morgan, the aforementioned D.A., with whom Kate had an affair before leaving his employ in Anchorage to return home to the environs and inhabitants of her native Village and Park. The characters and locale will become old familiar friends as this series wends on.
The introduction to Jack Morgan is particularly resonant:"He looked like John Wayne ready to run the claim jumpers off his gold mine on that old White Mountain just a little southeast of Nome, if John Wayne had been outfitted by Eddie Bauer." (If you are clueless about the humour, I suggest you go over to videos and get a copy of the movie "North to Alaska" - pay attention to the song being sung during the credits.) That Johnny Horton song is on jukeboxes everywhere here in our part of the Tundra, and everybody sings along ;-) And, speaking of jukeboxes and bars, the scene at Bernie's Bar in the book is really a hoot!
Along the way to finding out what happened to the Ranger and his would-be rescuer, Stabenow gives the reader an overview of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and life in the villages. It's a good start to a good series and I recommend it.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive debut September 29, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kate Shugak is a loner. She's a loner on a homestead on federal land in Alaska. She's a loner because she killed a child abuser years ago and it haunts her. It left physical and mental scars. All of this makes Kate a unique personality in mystery fiction. But she also has friends-half the people on the tribal grounds are relatives and many of the others are good friends. They add more unique flavor to this mystery. Kate is called in to find a friend who went missing while searching for a congressman's son who is missing. During the investigations, all of these unique personalities come together along with plenty of other local flavoring. Dana Stabenow has created a compelling, sympathetic series family. I hope to see a lot more of Stabenow and Shugak.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Aleut detective Kate Shugak, formerly a gifted investigator for the Anchorage D.A.'s office, moved back to Alaska's far north country after a horrible child abuse case left her scarred physically and emotionally. She now resides on a 160-acre homestead with her half-wolf, half-husky, half-breed canine, Mutt, and makes her living as a private investigator. "A Cold Day for Murder," Dana Stabenow's debut mystery in this wonderful series featuring PI Shugak won an Edgar award in 1993.

A national park ranger has gone missing in the Alaskan boondocks in the middle of winter, which signifies almost certain death from exposure. It has been more than six weeks since anyone heard from him. The young man's father, a US Congressman, demands that every effort be made to find his son. When the FBI agent assigned to search for the ranger goes missing, Kate Shugak, a native of the area where the two men were last seen, and an expert in Arctic wilderness survival skills, is asked to take the case, she accepts although their trail is now colder than the weather.

Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak novels are consistently good to excellent, and this first one is a real favorite of mine. The author delves into Kate's background, presents some of her family members, spins a thrilling mystery, and touches on the political issues of environmental protection and loss of native cultures that Ms. Shugak holds dear. She also explores the relationship between Jack Morgan, Kate's former boss and lover, and our sleuth heroine.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much, and many others in the series, is their Arctic setting and the details of native life and culture. The author's descriptions of the region's physical geography are wonderful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it!
I liked the believability of the characters, the setting, the story. I'd be to thrilled to read more stories in this series.
Published 2 days ago by Rb
4.0 out of 5 stars Alaska Murder Mystery
An interesting story well told. Loved the detailed descriptions of the Alaskan setting, history and heritage. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Sharon Miner
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it enough to continue with the series
It was a lucky day when I received this recommendation - it you like Nevada Barr, you will also like Kate Shugak. Turned out to be true. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Judy Grupp
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it
Well written, easy to get into the scenes and generally likable characters. I feel that all the characters have some sort of personal scars or flaws but not dwelt upon. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Derek
2.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre first book
I give Dana Stabenow credit for writing the book. It takes a lot of dedication and concentrated effort to develop a logical plot and to write a book length manuscript. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Maia
1.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing
About 20-25% of the book is long detailed description of the land, the terrain, the climate and people and did not seem to be a part of the actual story. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Kimberly K Hannah
4.0 out of 5 stars Spot on regarding rural Alaska
Great book for someone who spent time in the Alaskan bush. Ending was telegraphed early on. One could close eyes and picture each character.
Published 5 days ago by Jorge7
4.0 out of 5 stars Good twists!
This book held my attention and was, at the same time, a learning experience for learning about Alaska and American Indians that live there. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Linda W.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loves the book
An intriguing well written book set in a beautiful state. I really like this author and can't wait to read more.
Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Alaskan Mystery
My wife's mystery book club chose this book, She and the club liked it so she recommended it to me.
It really is good. I learned a lot about Alaska and her Natives. Read more
Published 8 days ago by David H Hyatt
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More About the Author

Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage and raised on 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She knew there was a warmer, drier job out there somewhere and found it in writing.

Her first science fiction novel, Second Star, sank without a trace (but has since been resurrected as an e-book), her first crime fiction novel, A Cold Day for Murder, won an Edgar award, her first thriller, Blindfold Game, hit the New York Times bestseller list, and her twenty-eighth novel and nineteenth Kate Shugak novel, Restless in the Grave, was published February 14, 2012.

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