06 September 2010

Alaskan summer

The other book I picked up at the Northfield library was A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow. I think I've been reading Stabenow's books for a couple decades. She's written more than 30. I keep reading them because most of them are set in Alaska. Kate Shugak or Liam Campbell show up in many of the books, and they are interesting characters. Besides creating interesting characters, Stabenow weaves good plots, tells good stories, writes good action scenes, and tells good jokes once in awhile.

I don't remember any jokes in A Night Too Dark, but the characters and plot are good. I never did figure out the title. I sort of expected that it might have something to do with short days and long nights of the Alaskan winter. Nope. The story takes place in the summer. Maybe it refers to the tragedy at the end. Or maybe things in Kate Shugak's future.

Oh well, the action centers on exploratory work on a potential gold mine just beyond the boundaries of a national park and native territory. Lots of new people flooding a once isolated community that welcomes the inflow of money more than the influx of people. A depressed mine worker walks off into the wilderness to return his body "to nature." A body is found. A month later, the missing guy stumbles out of the woods much the worse for wear, but very much alive.

And there are people and events as unusual and unexpected as anything in a script for Northern Exposure. It's Alaska, after all. Alaska state trooper Jim Chopin hires former PI Shugak (who is also his parmour) to help investigate. Old Sam goes fishing for salmon and hunting moose out of season. Kate's foster son Johnny gets a girlfriend and a paying job. Jim and Kate are as randy as usual.

It was fun to read. It's more chewing gum for the mind and a great summer book. Luckily, I finished it before summer was over.

Did you read A Night Too Dark? Write and tell this little bit of the world what you thought.

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