Dead In The Water by Dana Stabenow

Cunning marketing brought me to the Kate Shugak series, now nineteen books strong. A Cold Day For Murder had a good rating on Amazon, and, most importantly, was and still is completely free as an ebook. I enjoyed both it and the second book in the series, A Fatal Thaw, despite having a problem with one aspect of the plot. And, most importantly, Dana Stabenow stopped by the blog to say hello, which always puts an author a bit higher in my TBR pile. So I feel a bit bad that it’s taken me so long to get round to Dead In The Water.

Kate, ex-assistant to the Alaskan DA, has been hired by her sometime-lover Jack Morgan to investigate the disappearance of two men from a crab-fishing boat, apparently left to die on an island in the middle of nowhere. The only way of doing this is by going undercover, but can Kate get to the bottom of things while surrounded by hostile hairy fishermen – that is, when she’s not being sick over the side of the boat?

OK, I’ll put my hand on my heart and say that I never thought I’d enjoy reading about crab fishing in Alaska. Never even thought I would read such a thing, let alone enjoy it. But just as I enjoy historical mysteries for the different world they represent, this does the same thing with Alaska – a completely different environment from what I’m used to.

You can add into this Dana Stabenow’s talent for writing people who feel real – especially our heroine herself. She’s an interesting, flawed (but not terminally so) character and her determination to get to the truth drives the book forward. I’m also enjoying her understated relationship with Morgan – an author I very recently reviewed could learn something about how to write sex scenes from this book.

Overall, this book’s a great read.


… despite what the cover says, this is a thriller, not a mystery. Obviously it’s kind of hard to do a whodunnit when the crime is “being abandoned by a fishing boat”, and the story is much more about what are the villains of the piece up to. It’s to the writer’s credit that once I realised this, I carried on with the book. Sometimes I’ll do that hoping against hope that there’s a killer twist coming, but I carried on with this book simply because I was enjoying it.

So I’ll finish with a hearty recommendation for this book as a thriller, and I’ll certainly be back for more soon. Although there had better be more page-time for Mutt (Kate’s wolf/husky) in the next book! He was missed…


  1. For someone who’s apparently rather picky, you must not be missing Mutt that much if you don’t know she’s a she. But yeah. Dana Stabenow’s THRILLERS are reliably entertaining, with some of the best characters in either genre.


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