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A Fatal Thaw (A Kate Shugak Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 190 customer reviews
Book 2 of 21 in the Kate Shugak Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stabenow's ( A Cold Day for Murder ) writing has matured in her second effort featuring native Alaskan sleuth Kate Shugak. The Alaskan terrain and native culture add texture--the narrative includes both a potlatch celebration and an avalanche. Spring brings not only a thaw to the Alaskan wilderness, but a mass murderer. Roger McAniff cracks along with the ice on the first day of spring and goes on a killing spree, murdering nine and wounding two others. Or so it seems until ballistics tests prove that one of the victims, Lisa Getty, was killed by a different rifle. Shugak's investigation reconstructs Getty's life, uncovering her promiscuity, drug-dealing and endangered species-poaching, but all those leads prove false. The investigation reintroduces readers to some of the most intriguing characters from Shugak's previous mystery, including wheelchair-bound black veteran Bobby Clark and Shugak's manipulative grandmother, Ekaterina. Meanwhile, the tension level rises when a park ranger is killed and Shugak herself is wounded by a sniper's rifle, and Stabenow succuessfully sustains the tension until the killer is found.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

'For those who like series, mysteries, books with rich, idiosyncratic settings, engaging characters, Strong Women and reasonably hot sex on occasion ... let me recommend Dana Stabenow' Diana Gabaldon. 'A darkly compelling view of life in the Alaskan bush, well laced with lots of gallows humor. Her characters are very believable, the story lines are always suspenseful, and every now and then she lets a truly vile villain be eaten by a grizzley. Who could ask for more?' Sharon Penman. 'Stabenow is blessed with a rich prose style and a fine eye for detail. An outstanding series.' Washington Post. 'One of the strongest voices in crime fiction' Seattle Times. 'An antidote to sugary female sleuths: Kate Shugak, the Aleut private investigator' New York Times. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425135772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425135778
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.6 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found "A Fatal Thaw," the second in the Kate Shugak series set in the Alaskan wilderness, much easier to read and follow than the first, and I zipped through it with great interest.
Stabenow is herself an Alaskan, and she makes you feel the very essence of the place, in all its rough and ready wildness. I felt I was there in the first spring thaw with Kate and her wonderful half-wolf dog (a bona fide character in her own right) as they stretch their winter-weary limbs. Kate has spring fever, and her very female dog, Mutt, is mesmerized by a giant and gorgeous he-wolf who can't seem to keep away from Kate's cabin.
This serenity is shattered very quickly, however, by the doings of a crazy-mad serial killer who, in one short span of a few hours, goes on a murder spree so deadly and so accurate that almost nobody in the tight-knit communty is spared outrage, shock or unbearable grief. After the dust settles, however, the real shocker sets in: One of the dead was not shot with the same gun. Somebody has used a crazy man's murder spree to cover up a real and nasty additional killing--and it's up to Kate to find out who.
I found the mystery less than the story telling, which kept my interest all the way through. This is a good, solid series, one that I am reading from the beginning, and I see no reason at all not to move on quickly and with pleasurable anticipation to the next!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thanks for finally putting some of the earlier Kate Shugak books on Kindle. I love the depiction of life in Alaska, both harsh and beautiful. Kate, Mutt, and an assortment of other great characters, make this one of my favorite series.
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I enjoy mystery series and also enjoy almost anything set in Alaska. When you have a murder mystery set in Alaska, I can guarantee you I will give it a try. I read the first one and enjoyed it quite a bit, but (as is often the case) trying to lay the foundation for the setting and characters means that most authors don't hit a home run since there is too much ground to cover. Ms. Stabenow did a nice job with that first installment in drawing me in and setting the stage so that this second one was even better.

Heavy on character and location, this is more of a cross between cozy and traditional mystery. The characters are interesting and becoming well developed and the location plays a major role in the storyline. With that combination, it lends itself more toward the cozy mystery side but this is gritter and more graphic with a main character who has a police background --- that lends itself more toward the traditional mystery.

A book I enjoyed from beginning to end. Well worth a read and I am on to the next one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am very glad that I discovered Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series through a free book for the Kindle. The first in the series introduced me to Kate and her dog, Mutt. I've finished this second, A Fatal Thaw, in the long series. This second installment is better than the first, and I really like the first one. I love the character of Kate and her homesteading ways in the wilds of an Alaskan park. Her Aleut roots make for excellent reading and also for learning about the wonderful terrain and beauty of Alaska.

In Fatal Thaw, spring is coming along with its annual thaw and Kate is out washing windows on her garage and doing her spring cleaning. She has a problem with Mutt, because a male wolf is hanging around and all she needs is a litter of pups again, so Mutt is tied up where Kate can keep an eye on her. In another location, not far from Kate's, a deranged man is on a shooting spree and before he's finished he has killed nine people. Much to Kate's surprise, Chopper Jim lands right at Kate's place to tell her what has happened and to warn her that this man is headed in the direction of her home. Shortly after Jim leaves, his warning becomes reality.

As Kate's life usually goes, she is asked to help with the investigation of the awful murders that have taken place. One very interesting thing is revealed when ballistics results come back, and that is that one of the dead, Lisa Getty, was shot with a different rifle than the rest of the victims, and by a different shooter. Who killed Lisa and why is the major mystery that Kate must investigate and solve before anyone else is killed, but another person will die before it's over.

We see a lot of Bobby in this book, the wheelchair-bound Vietnam vet and it just made me love him even more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are mysteries and there are mysteries that stand above the rest. This book, the second in a series, and those that follow are first rate. Apart from the fact that the author writes well, she knows her subject. Like Martin Cruz Smith knows Russia, like Nevada Barr knows the National Park System, Dana Stabenow knows Alaska and her people. Her central character, Kate Shugak, is unique, facinating and believable. An Aleut women with a past, proven talent, issues with which to deal in her life and relationships, I would put her in the same league as Anna Pigeon, Arkady Renko, Joe Grey, and even Holmes. This is another of those series of which all I need to know is another book is available and I'll buy it knowing I'll be guaranteed of hours of adventure in reading. Like the other great series it is best enjoyed by reading them in order and I am most appreciative of the fact that the cover for each includes its number. I seriously suggest starting with the first, A Cold Day for Murder, and you can't go wrong.
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