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An affectionate nod to Romeo and Juliet, Stabenow's absorbing 20th Kate Shugak novel (after 2012's Restless in the Grave) focuses on two feuding villages in the 20 million acre Alaskan national park that Kate calls home. Kushtaka, founded by the Athabascan Mack family, is in decline, losing population and clinging to a subsistence lifestyle. Trappers led by the Norwegian Christianson family founded nearby Kuskulana, which has thrived with an airstrip, a growing population, and federal funds. When the body of Kushtakan Tyler Mack surfaces in a river, Sgt. Jim Chopin, a state trooper, thinks it's likely a homicide; when a second body, of a Kuskulaner, turns up, Chopin is sure more violence will follow. The secretive romance between Kushtakan Jennifer Mack and Kuskulaner Ryan Christianson might turn the feud into a war. Meanwhile, Kate has a plan to save the couple. Edgar-winner Stabenow's take on Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers ends in a tragedy likely to shock series fans. Author tour. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* In the twentieth novel in the Kate Shugak series, the part-time private investigator teams with her friend and occasional lover, Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin, to try to solve the murder of a young man. It's a complicated situation. The murdered man lived in the village of Kushtaka, and the prime suspect lives in the neighboring village of Kuskulana. The two villages have been bitter rivals for a long time (Kushtaka is a traditional Alaskan village; Kuskulana is more modern and more prosperous), and the elders of neither village seem interested in helping Jim and Kate get to the bottom of things. Jim, a representative of the state, is counting on Kate's tribal connections to help smooth the investigation, but Kate, a native Aleut, soon discovers her connections don't seem to mean much here. Long-time devotees of this popular series will devour the book in a single sitting, and if there happen to be any fans of Alaska-set mystery fiction books by John Straley, for example, or Sue Henry who have not yet made the acquaintance of Kate Shugak, they should change that sooner rather than later.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist