When I was on my way to Indiana, a librarian friend in Arizona did a couple guest posts for me. I was able to return the favor by giving her a copy of Dana Stabenow's Bad Blood. In return, Cindy wrote a guest review again. Thank you, Cindy!
Dana Stabenow is speaking at an Author Luncheon sponsored by the East Mesa Branch of the American Association of University Women on March 9th. I am on the author relations committee and was very happy to get an early copy of BAD BLOOD. The committee went to hear Dana at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale in November and Dana alluded to the ending and I have been dying to read the book ever since! Thanks, Lesa, for putting me out of suspense early!
BAD BLOOD is the twentieth book in Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak mystery series. Stabenow does a skillful job of putting this book in the context of the previous nineteen books and very subtly presents the back story by having Kate review events, identify main characters and give details of the setting. Readers who have not read previous books in the series will be able to understand what is happening.
BAD BLOOD is a Romeo and Juliet story. Two neighboring villages in the Park (the fictional setting of the Shugak series) are feuding. One village is modernized and the other is still very traditional. The feud leads to murders which Kate’s lover, State Trooper Jim Chopin, has to investigate. No one in either village wants to talk to him and some even try to disrupt the investigation. A girl from the traditional village and a boy from the other are caught in the middle. This is Jim’s investigation but Kate helps as always and gets involved with the young couple's romance. To a lesser extent another theme of the book is redefining who Kate is. She spends time thinking about her life and what she wants out of it. I don't think that Kate's role as head of the tribal council is mentioned at all.
Several aspects of this book will be very interesting to readers of the series. It moves away from the environmental and economic concerns raised by the proposed gold mine. Stabenow brings back a character, Anne Flanagan, from a previous book (I don't remember which one) and I'm guessing Flanagan will be in the next one, too. And there is definite foreshadowing of another faceoff with Erland Bannister. It is hard to keep a long running series fresh and I’m guessing part of the reason for this book is to start the series in a new direction.
The ending of the book is very intense. I can't say more without spoiling it, but I guarantee you will react when you get to the last page (do NOT cheat and read it early!) I can't wait to read the next book.
Dana Stabenow's website is http://www.stabenow.com
Bad Blood by Dana Stabenow. St. Martin's Press. 2013. ISBN 9780312550653 (hardcover), 288p.