Stabenow continues her enigmatic series when Alaska P.I. Kate Shugak investigates a 30-year-old murder. She goes to Anchorage after Charlotte Muravieff hires her to prove that her imprisoned mother, Victoria, is innocent of an arson-related murder. Kate's visit proves intriguing. She discovers Victoria has no interest in clearing her name and continues to proclaim her guilt.

Victoria allegedly torched her home, killing teenage son William. But the pieces to the puzzle of William's death don't fall into place. Witnesses are dead and Victoria's attorney has disappeared. From the mansions of the most wealthy to the solitude of an isolated cabin, Kate is always in her element, employing her survival skills to suit her environs.

With escalating suspense and Kate's sensuous new love affair with Alaska state trooper Jim Chopin, this book reveals previously hidden depths of Kate's personality. It's helpful, but not necessary, to have read prior novels in this series. New readers will be enthralled by Stabenow's latest read, a standout in the mystery genre. (Sep., 320 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick