Its autumn in the Alaskan Bush, bear and moose season, and Kate Shugak and her lover, Jack Morgan, have signed on to guide big-game hunters. Unlike their clients, who just want trophies to hang on their walls, Kate, Jack and the other Alaskan guides need the moneyand the meatfrom the brief hunting season to help them survive the winter. Furthermore, Kates relationship with Jack is at a crossroads: he wants to live together, but Kates love for him is at war with her fiercely-guarded independence.
Their latest party of hunters is dreadfularrogant, trigger-happy German executives who carry a mini-arsenal of expensive weapons and expect everyone to wait on them. When one of them is shot in a tragic accident, Kate thinks its just Bush inexperience and bad luck. Then another death occurs, and she and Jack begin to get suspicious; what they fail to realize, until its too late, is what these Germans are actually hunting.
Dana Stabenows plot is taut and the suspense gripping. As always in this superb series, the Alaskan wilderness, with its beauties and perils, is both setting and character. (Dec., 256pp., $6.00—Hardcover published July 1999)