Select one of the keywords
Restless in the Grave: A Kate Shugak Novel    by Dana Stabenow order for
Restless in the Grave
by Dana Stabenow
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Dana Stabenow certainly has fun with this latest Kate Shugak mystery - not only does she bring together Aleut private investigator Kate and her other main lead (Alaska state trooper Liam Campbell) in Liam's home turf of Newenham, but she has bad guys toss Kate and Mutt into a series of containers. Series fans will enjoy watching Kate extract herself from each and every one of them!

The author opens surprisingly, with the downing of a U.S. military helicopter in Afghanistan - what can that have to do with Alaska? We read on to find out. Next, Liam shows up in Niniltna to ask for Jim Chopin's help after the death of aviation entrepreneur Finn Grant. His Piper Super Cub crashed - accident or murder? Unfortunately Liam's pilot wife, Wy Chouinard, was seen having a heated argument with Finn before the accident and is the chief suspect.

Having just enthusiastically extracted herself from the Niniltna Native Association Board, Kate is keen to leave town and let Annie Mike settle in as chair. She takes on the case and flies to Newenham, where she starts working for Bill (the town's tough female magistrate) as a waitress, and rents an apartment over the Grants' garage. Meanwhile, Jim learns that Erland Bannister is moving in on Kate's home ground, but delays telling her.

Kate meets Wy, has run-ins with reporter Jo Dunaway, and is repeatedly forced by Wy's crotchety shaman grandfather Moses Alakuyak to join his tai chi classes (a large part of the fun in this episode)! Moses keeps saying to Kate, 'You know he didn't do it, right?' What does he mean? Again, we read on.

Of course, Kate being Kate, she begins to uncover dirt (in addition to extracting herself and Mutt from small enclosed spaces). She finds evidence of blackmail (on a large scale and over a long time) and of conscienceless arms dealers, with ties to terrorists. Before it's all over, there are more deaths (one that will particularly sadden readers). But on the lighter side, a hugely pregnant Diana Prince returns to town.

As always, Dana Stabenow does a fine job of balancing humorous moments with serious issues and an intriguing mystery. She also introduces Kate and action movie star Gabe McGuire in Restless in the Grave - Kate finds Gabe disturbingly like her dead love, Jack Morgan, and fights hard against their instant attraction. Where, we wonder, is this going? Guess we'll have to wait for more episodes to find out!

Audiobook Review:

I was a little reluctant to listen to the audiobook version of Restless in the Grave, because I have been a series fan from the beginning and have a mental image of Kate Shugak and how she sounds.

The unabridged audiobook (11 hours, 9 CDs) is masterfully read by Marguerite Gavin in a variety of voices. Though I somehow expected Kate's voice to be a little deeper, Gavin does a fine job of giving it a distinctive huskiness - and I loved what she did with shaman Moses' utterances, not to mention Mutt's woofs!

As always, I got something different from reading and listening - for me, an audiobook often conveys both emotions and the most dramatic scenes more effectively, so I appreciated revisiting those aspects of the story in the audio version after reading the hardcover. The audiobook simply doubles the enjoyment for me.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews