Dirty tricks abound in Dana Stabenow’s, “The Singing of the Dead”, the 11th in the Kate Shagak series. Kate Shugak, an Aleutian private investigator living in a generic national park in Alaska is hired to act as a security expert by a Native American woman, Anne Gordaoff, who is running for the Alaskan state senate. Kate needs to protect Anne but also find out who has been sending the candidate anonymous threats.
Anne is doing her political glad handing, her campaign manager will stop at nothing to get her elected, Anne’s husband is finding other ways to interact with the voters, her campaign researcher is finding dirt on Anne as well as her opponent, and her opponent has planted a mole in Anne’s campaign.
Still recovering from a case that went very wrong, killing her boyfriend and leaving Kate with a horrible scar, Kate would rather be anywhere else. But before Kate can get started the campaign researcher is murdered and Kate learns that the researcher was in possession of damning information about both candidates’ pasts. While investigating the murder Kate finds she needs to dig into the past for some answers and the grisly murder of a “good-time girl’ during the Gold Rush days of 1915. Could this unsolved case have a bearing on a present day psychotic killer?
If “The Singing of the Dead”, the 11th novel in the Kate Shugak series, is your first introduction to Kate and the vast, unforgiving corner of Alaska she calls home, it will most likely send you scrambling for installments one through 10. If you’re already a confirmed Shugak fan, it will have you waiting impatiently for number 12. –Kelly Flynn
The novel shifts effortlessly between the present and the past, tracing the career of one of the state’s most notorious “good time girls” from the gold mining era. The author paints a strong, striking picture of the tough life in Alaska 100 years ago and the narrow choice offered women housekeeper or whore. With well-drawn characters, splendid scenery and an insider’s knowledge of Alaskan history and politics, this fine novel ranks as one of Stabenow’s best. Publishers Weekly