Stabenow takes readers on another journey into the wilds of Alaska in the latest installment of her Kate Shugak series. As the spring thaw begins near the town of Ninilta, a group of teenagers discovers the body of local handyman Len Dreyer in a glacier. Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin asks Kate to investigate the death of the man—whom no one seems to have seen since the previous fall.

While Kate's initial investigation hits a brick wall—Dreyer was pretty much of a loner with no nearby family or girlfriends—she has plenty on her plate, as she tries to keep custody of Johnny, the teenage son of her deceased lover, Jack, and someone burns down her family cabin. Eventually, the clues to this bizarre murder seem to fall into place, especially when Kate discovers a side of Dreyer that few knew about.

There's a hint of romance with the hunky trooper Jim and a gripping conclusion sure to shock even the most hardened mystery reader. Even those new to this series will eagerly anticipate the next installment. As a protagonist, Kate is as capable as she is likable. (Sep., 304 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick