Review

Whisper to the Blood: A Kate Shugak Novel

by Dana Stabenow

It’s difficult to imagine that a population of
approximately 100 people living in a 20-million-acre park could
create enough mayhem to fill 15 exciting books. Yet that’s
exactly what Dana Stabenow does as she continues to pen imaginative
and engrossing stories about Kate Shugak, her traditionally
entrenched Aunties, her on-again, off-again lover Jim Chopin, her
adopted son Johnny and her best friend Mutt, the half-wolf canine
always at her side. Throughout the course of the series we have
gotten to know many of the other Park Rats as well, including Bobby
Clark, who mans the Park radio; Mandy Baker, dog musher and friend;
Bernie, who runs the Roadhouse Café; and a variety of others
both Native and from the Outside. Each one has a unique history and
distinct personality.

WHISPER TO THE BLOOD is woven around the plans that Global
Harvest Resources Inc. has to begin a mining operation that could
forever change the complexion of the Park. Not only would the mine
cut a physical swath across the face of the earth, but the addition
of 2,000 people to the sparsely populated area will surely affect
the lifestyles of those living nearby. In order to sell the idea of
the mine, Global Harvest sends marketing bimbo Talia Mcleod to the
Park. Her winning ways and convincing answers to all objections are
sure to pave the way.

Not only is dissention caused by the lovely Talia, but an
undercurrent of vigilantism seems to be developing in the park.
Given the independent nature of the Park rats, this should not seem
too surprising, but in the past residents were satisfied to rely on
Trooper Jim to handle any of the crime that occurred. Is it because
there were some unsolved murders still on the books, or is there
someone or something behind the changes?

Dana Stabenow weaves many moral and ethical issues into her
stories, which may not always exhibit the law but that always
provide justice. Trooper Jim says it best: “This is what
comes of crossing the line, Kate. You think the right reason trumps
doing the wrong thing, and then you never get to the truth, when
the truth is mostly a good thing and almost always the best thing
to get to.”

If you are a regular reader of the series, you will enjoy seeing
how Kate and Jim have grown…or grown up. While there is still
plenty of the salty style in both, some of the pepper has mellowed
and I like them even more now. Kate can still go out into the Bush
with a few pockets full of dried fruit and her down comforter to
stalk three outlaw brothers, but she can also cook up a mean moose
stew with a side of homemade bread. Trooper Jim is not completely
tamed, but he finds himself caring about how Kate feels, surprising
even himself.

For those who have never had the pleasure of joining the Park
Rats in an adventure, I would recommend starting with BREAKUP and
then moving on from there. Happy reading.

Whisper to the Blood: A Kate Shugak Novel
by Dana Stabenow

  • Publication Date: December 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312944071
  • ISBN-13: 9780312944070