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Fire and Ice: A Liam Campbell Mystery (Liam Campbell Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1999

451 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Liam Campbell Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Dana Stabenow won an Edgar Award for her books about Kate Shugak, a resourceful Indian woman living in Alaska. The series is full of respect for the landscape and the hard work it takes to survive in the far north. Now she starts a new series starring Liam Campbell, an Alaskan State Trooper with a troubled past and an uncertain future; the environmental issues of the 1980s appear to have been back-burnered in favor of the personal needs and feelings of the 1990s.

You might think there are one too many colorful eccentrics or jaunty drunks in the town of Newenham, where former Sergeant Campbell has been demoted after his own bout with booze and self-doubt. But you'll definitely admire the way Stabenow jumpstarts her story: within a few minutes of his arrival from Anchorage, Campbell has to deal with one murder (a pilot almost decapitated by his propeller), one old girlfriend (the exotic and possibly dangerous Wy Chouinard), and a man held hostage in the town's only decent burger joint--held for shooting out a jukebox that was playing Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

Stabenow can also grab your attention with the details of everyday life in an Alaskan fishing village, such as this description of the contents of a light plane: "There was a handful of candy wrappers, two maps of Bristol Bay, five small green glass balls which Liam recognized as Japanese fishing floats, a walrus tusk broken off near the root, a survival kit, two firestarter logs, two parkas, two pairs of boots, a litre-sized plastic Pepsi bottle half full of yellow liquid, a clam gun, a bucket, three mismatched gloves and three handheld radios, which to Liam seemed a bit redundant." The Kate Shugak books include A Cold Day for Murder, Breakup, A Cold-Blooded Business, Blood Will Tell, Dead in the Water, A Fatal Thaw, Killing Grounds, and Play with Fire. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Stabenow, author of the Edgar-winning Kate Shugak series (Killing Grounds, 1998), masterfully traces the twisting life of Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell in this series debut. Campbell steps off a plane in the town of Newenham, his new posting, leaving behind him in Anchorage a tattered career, a dead son and a wife in a coma. His first moments in town bring him into close contact with pilot Wy Chouinard, the woman he really loves, and the headless corpse of her flying partner, Bob DeCreft, who was decapitated by the propeller of Wy's plane. Meanwhile at the local watering hole someone has taken offense at Jimmy Buffet's singing and shot out the jukebox. Now the music critic is being held hostage by an enraged barkeep. The proliferation of grizzled macho thugs, sexy loner women and acts of nasty violence might makes readers' heads spin, but Stabenow weaves it all into a compelling tale with an assured hand. The young woman who lived in the dead man's house is attacked by the loutish owner of a fishing boat. It was he who hired Wy to spot fish from the plane that was sabotaged the first time to take Bob's life and is damaged again in an attempt to intimidate Wy. Liam's troubled past is only a precursor to the turmoil he faces in southwest Alaska. Happily, this much mayhem has rarely been in surer literary hands.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Liam Campbell Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451197704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451197702
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Carol Peterson Hennekens on June 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many other reviewers and fans of Kate Shugak, I was a bit reluctant to read the Liam Campbell series. It couldn't be as good. Well, I was wrong. It may even be better.
I suspect that Stabenow was simply getting bored with Kate and wanted to write something a little different. Well, in Liam she's created a great format to tell us about that unusual species, the Alaskan Male. (Hey, they even have - or had - magazine about the phenomenon.) A healthy chunk of this book is about the war between the sexes, Alaskan style. Sure, the mystery takes a back seat but the humorous observations more than made up for it.
As for the mystery, Liam is literally landing at the airport when the first suspicious death occurs. By the time the mystery is resolved, the reader has met a cast of eccentric characters that somehow ring entirely true, learned A LOT about herring roe fishing, and gotten under the skin of a macho man dealing with his world seemingly falling apart. There's plenty of crime in Newenham, much of it falling into the boozed up small town variety (shooting the jukebox and the post office) but something deeper and uglier is going on. There's an amazing amount of money at stake in the herring season. Could that be the cause? Or is it just small town romance gone wrong?
Bottom-line: A genuinely enjoyable read even if Stabenow digresses from the mystery plot at times. Liam Campbell is a nice mix of too good to be true and 1990's angst inside. I'll be reading the next book in the series soon.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Renee Shields on July 21, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I've read most of Stabenow's Kate Shugak novels, but never had any desire to read any of her other series, at least not until I got to know Jim Chopin. I like him, so I thought maybe I would like Liam Campbell as well. The big problem - Liam is basically Kate, in drag. He thinks like her, he speaks like her, and he solves his mystery the same way she would have. He even has the same way with people that she has, and the same relationship problems in his personal life. I would have liked this novel if I had never read any of Stabenow's books before, but Liam doesn't stack up next to Kate. I had the uneasy feeling as I was reading that all of this was faintly familiar, only a little skewed. Since Stabenow hasn't written a Liam novel after ' Better To Rest' in 2002, I'm assuming she came to the same conclusion. I'll stick to Kate from now on.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I hesitated to read "Fire and Ice," because I am such a fan of Kate Shugak's that I knew it would have to be a disappointment. Boy, was I mistaken! Kate's rough edge has been replaced by humorous eccentricity from the people Liam meets, but the same fast-paced plot and love of Alaska make this book a wonderful read in its own right. I laughed out loud in spots, and I hated to finish it--it was that good. There's no need to debate "better then" or "less than" Stanbanow's other series. This is a very good read, and I can hardly wait for the next one in this new series.
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61 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When I buy a mystery book, that's what I want. I don't mind a hint of romance but the best mystery writers only give you a hint. You can't get very far in this book before you realize that everyone is more concerned about their libido than anything else, and the author is very graphic. Either write a mystery novel or a romance novel; those of us who truly enjoy mystery novels would greatly appreciate it.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Electra on November 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read the other negative reviews before starting this book and found that many bemoaned the "romance-novel" bent of this particular book by Stabenow. Well, I love mysteries and enjoy a good romance, so I thought this book would be perfect. WRONG! A good romance novelist knows that what is left to the reader's imagination creates the truly juicy moments. Not Stabenow. She jumps right in with a woman "grabbing his c--k." She succeeds in wringing out any romance and leaving only the paltry, crass coupling of an affair. In addition to this scene (which is truly difficult to get over), Liam is hardly a likable character. A married man cheating on his wife who is in a coma is hardly a sympathetic character. To be fair, as the novel progresses, details come to light that make him more likable. However, I never bought in and spent the book trying just to finish it instead of enjoying it. Stick to Stabenow's other series.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Liam Cooper had it all. He loved his job as a sergeant with the Alaska State Troopers, was happily married and had a child, who he adored. However, his personal collapsed when a DUI killed his wife and son, and his career fell apart not long after that. He becomes an alcoholic in a failed attempt to stop the pain.
However, Liam gets an opportunity to start anew when he is assigned to serve as the state trooper at the fishing city of Newenham. When his plane lands, Liam is greeted with his first case: the beheaded corpse of Bob DeCreft lying on the tarmac as a nearby propeller whirls. With Bob's years of experience and his impeccable safety record, Liam wonders if foul play has occurred. Making matters more difficult for Liam is seeing for the first time in years the first woman he ever loved (and lost), Wy Chouinard, a pilot and peer of the deceased.
FIRE AND ICE is a remarkable regional police procedural that makes the reader believe that they are traveling over the rural areas of Alaska. The story line is crisp and action-packed as Liam literally take his first step from the plane into a murder mystery that impacts the woman he still deeply loves. The characters are well drawn and likable, but fans of the Kate Shugak series already expect that from talented Dana Stabenow. Readers will want more works starring Trooper Campbell and his superb support cast in their remote, often time feral locale.

Harriet Klausner
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