Stabenow, a mystery writer doing thoughtful whodunits, is making a name for herself as the creator of the Kate Shugak adventures, each set in contemporary Alaska. The books are authentic; Stabenow grew up in the country she writes about. Her latest, Hunter's Moon, is a locked-room puzzle, and it's a good one. Here, Stabenow adapts the classic Richard Connell Most Dangerous Game setup. A group of German businessmen hire Kate to guide them on a hunting expedition. But soon enough, it's the businessmen who are being hunted. Not to mention Kate.Agatha Christie did her own spin on this in And Then There Were None, but Stabenow makes the piece her own. You've got Alaska. You've got a cast of businessmen it's not easy to like. And you've got Kate and her friend Jack Morgan. Stabenow takes full advantage of each story element, sliding easily from a scene of great violence into a scene of tender, even winsome love. She can give you a full-blooded character in a few lines. And she can direct - and misdirect - a plot with great ease.Dana Stabenow is going to be with us for a long time. And in a major way. She's not just skilled, she's also unique. Yes, there's Alaska, and that's certainly unique as mystery fiction real estate. But she's also got her own take on humanity, and that's as interesting as the terrain. The businessmen here are a decidedly mixed bag, and it's fascinating to watch how Stabenow distinguishes one from the other, not in black and white, but in shades of gray.Hunter's Moon is a first-rate mystery told with real style and sly humor - Stabenow is playing in the big leagues now.
Back to top