From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The demise of 89-year-old Samuel "Old Sam" Dementieff, Kate Shugak's friend, relative, and mentor, triggers a deadly treasure hunt in Edgar-winner Stabenow's brilliant 18th novel to feature the feisty Alaska detective (after 2010's A Night Too Dark). Through flashbacks, Stabenow covers key events in Sam's life and Alaska's history, from the devastating flu epidemic of 1918 to the state's newest and biggest gold mine, the Suulutaq. Sam's service during WWII in the real-life army unit known as Castner's Cutthroats, his meeting Dashiell Hammett in the Aleutians, and his surprising romances--all are foundation and prelude to the search for a missing Russian icon, a manuscript possibly penned by Hammett, and a monstrous gold nugget. Kate is at her butt-kicking best as she and Mutt, her inseparable half-wolf, half-husky companion, deal with murder, theft, and deception from Anchorage to the wilderness of Canyon Hot Springs, where Old Sam staked his homestead. Author tour. (Feb.)
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*Starred Review* In her newest Kate Shugak thriller, Stabenow proves she’s as comfortable dealing with Alaskan history as she is portraying Kate’s insular contemporary world and the harsh, beautiful, changing landscape she and her extended family call home. When her beloved uncle, Old Sam, dies, he bequeaths Kate an odd assortment of belongings, including a remote old cabin and a cryptic message, Find My Father. With her boyfriend in California on his own family-linked quest, the five-foot Aleut powerhouse and her wolf-dog companion have time to indulge their curiosity about Sam, who had plenty to say about others in the Park but spoke very little about himself. As Kate delves into the old man’s life, she unearths a morass of confusing and surprising bits of fact, including Sam’s abiding love for one of the Park’s aunties, his connection to a vanished Russian icon, and his association with the famous writer Dashiell Hammett, whom he apparently met in the Aleutians during WWII. The only clear thing in the mix is that someone else is also interested in the artifacts of Sam’s past, and he seems to have no compunction about putting Kate permanently out of the picture to get what he wants. A standout entry in a consistently good series, though best appreciated by readers who have met Shugak already. --Stephanie Zvirin