A Grave Denied: A Kate Shugak Novel by Dana Stabenow
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Sorry, folks. This one is disappointing., September 21, 2003
Roy E. Perry
from Nolensville, Tennessee
›› The 13th book in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak Series is a murder mystery involving the death of Len Dreyer, an expert handyman whose frozen body, mutilated by a shotgun blast to the chest, is found inside an ice cave of the receding Grant Glacier. ›› The novel is set in and around Niniltna, near Ahtna and Cordova, south of Anchorage. Shugak and Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin, accompanied by Kate's "adopted" son, Johnny Morgan, and Kate's faithful canine companion Mutt, investigate this baffling murder of a man whom everyone knew, and yet no one really knew. ›› A murderer is loose in "The Land of the Midnight Sun." So is an arsonist, a sexual predator and child molester, and a law enforcement wannabe who fatally miscalculates the lurking danger. ›› Regrettably, A Grave Denied is a disappointing read. Although featuring interesting characters, the novel has its problems. ›› The on-again, off-again mating dance between Shugak and Chopin, described in overheated and exaggerated terms, strikes this reviewer as the unintentional hilarious parody of a B-grade "romance potboiler." ›› Throughout the novel, the language of the characters varies from raw and rude to sleazy and crude. For example, at one point Kate says, "Not to be crude, but› . . ." and then proceeds with a crude remark. Such continual verbal abuse seems gratuitous. ›› Also, this novel from Stabenow, an Anchorage native and resident, is unnecessarily repetitious. The long-suffering reader must endure a rehash of the same clues, which, in the end, are quite unrelated to unraveling the identity of the killer. ›› The most serious flaw, though, is the deus ex machina that, suddenly and unexpectedly, provides a contrived solution to the apparently insoluble murder mystery. A big letdown, this lazy "solution" leaves one feeling cheated. A Grave Denied should be titled A Plot Denied.