Stabenow manages to capture perfectly the chaotic feel of Alaska life. I worked up there several summers and it felt like I was back in one of the frontier towns that I remember fondly. This is pretty far into the Shugak series, but a librarian recommended that I start with this book. I found that I did not need to read any of Stabenow's other books in order to fall in love with Shugak and the series. Since then I have pretty much read them all and I would say that none of them quite matches this one. So if you have not read any Shugak mysteries yet, this might be a good place to start.
What's so unusal about this book while comparing it to both others in the series as well as other mysteries, is that it pretty much doesnt have a mystery. Instead what makes this such a fun read is that you are lead on an excursion into the life of the protagonist that is well worth following along upon.
This is my favorite book in the Kate Shugak series. I laughed when I read this book. Some of the books have a more serious tone, but they are all good.
Either Stabenow was tipsy when she wrote this, or she deliberately set out to have fun and create a Warner Brothers cartoon. Reading suspiciously like several episodes of Northern Exposure rolled together (which one inspired the other, I wonder?), this book is a departure from her usual straight style with its (not-so) tongue in cheek humor wrapped around a mystery. Its madcap atmosphere is perfectly in tune with the story's setting, which is Alaska in the beginning of spring, called "breakup", a time when residents are going stir crazy as they anxiously await the end of winter. Kate's troubles begin when she encounters a bear on her homestead and narrowly escapes being its first spring meal, followed by a jet engine falling from the sky onto her truck in her yard, and then the discovery of a dead body under the ice. And that's just the beginning. This one is a rollicking good romp, though mystery purists be warned - this is another installment of the series where the murderer gets away with it.
Liked this book. Not quite a cozy and occasional language or adult themes but it was a quick and good read. Set in Alaska at ice and snow break up time when people start to go a little crazy.