Cover image for The singing of the dead
The singing of the dead
Stabenow, Dana.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001.
Physical Description:
254 pages ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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With Midnight Come Again, Dana Stabenow authored the most ambitious book to date in her acclaimed series of novels about life - and death - in the beautiful but forbidding wilderness of Alaska. Now, with Aleutian p.i. Kate Shugak back on her home turf and beginning to recover from devastating recent events, Stabenow has delivered a daring novel paralleling the lives of her series characters with their ancestors, the settlers of America`s forty-ninth state. In The Singing of the Dead, Kate hires onto the staff of a political campaign to work security for a Native woman running for state senator. The candidate has been receiving anonymous threats, and Kate, who went to college with two of the staffers, is to become her shadow, watching the crowds at rallies and fundraisers. But just as she`s getting started the campaign is rocked by the murder of their staff researcher. In order to track the killer, Kate will have to retrace the researcher`s steps and delve into the past, in particular the grisly murder of a "good-time girl" during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1915. Little can she guess the impact a ninety-year-old unsolved case could have on a modern-day killer. Seamlessly blending past and present, Stabenow`s richly detailed plot and stunningly rendered characters and Alaskan setting ensure that this newest entry in the Kate Shugak series will not disappoint.

Author Notes

Dana Stabenow is the author of the Kate Shugak series for Putnam/Berkley and the Liam Campbell Series for Dutton/Signet.

She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When Anne Gordaoff, an Alaskan State Senate candidate, begins getting death threats, she hires PI Kate Shugak to provide security. Then a campaign fund-raiser and a researcher are murdered. Kate soon learns that the clue to the killer's identity is hidden in the unsolved murder of a frontier dance-hall girl in 1915. This eleventh Kate Shugak novel combines historical material--the present-day mystery is interlaced with flashbacks to the 1915 crime--with a campaign diary and a meditation on modern parents and children. Unfortunately, with so many plot elements to juggle, Stabenow is unable to devote adequate time to Kate's quirky character and the striking Alaskan landscape--the hallmarks of the series. Steer readers new to Stabenow to an earlier Shugak book--Breakup (1997) or Killing Ground (1998)--and recommend this one only to committed fans, who will want to keep up with the series. --John Rowen

Publisher's Weekly Review

HThe background of a hard-fought political campaign in Alaska (where "in a gathering of four people there are five marriages, six divorces, and seven political parties") and the devastating effect of a century-old scandal on the candidates gives even greater depth than usual to Stabenow's 11th Kate Shugak mystery. Kate, slowly recovering from the death of her lover, Jack Morgan, in 2000's Midnight Come Again, is hired as a security expert by Anne Gordaoff, a state senate candidate of partial Native heritage who has received threatening letters. Also appealing to Kate for protection is Jack's teenage son, Johnny, who has run away from his abusive mother. When Gordaoff's future son-in-law and a woman doing background research for Gordaoff are murdered, Kate joins state trooper Jim Chopin and local police chief Ken Hazen in the investigation. 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. The character of Angel Beecham, known as the Dawson Darling, is compellingly portrayed as a complex woman whose relationship to the contemporary characters is slyly revealed in the epilogue (but wait until you've finished the book to read it). 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. (May 15) Forecast: Striking but rather generic jacket art may attract non-mystery readers, and planned national publicity should push Stabenow out of the "regional" category. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Anne Gordaoff, candidate for the Alaska state senate, is receiving threatening letters. Though sharp, fiesty Aleutian PI Kate Shugak is still recovering from her last job, she allows herself to be talked into protecting Anne. When two of Anne's campaign workers are killed, Kate must find the connection between the senatorial race and the unsolved death of Angel Beecham, an Alaskan Gold Rush prostitute who was murdered in 1915. Debates between Anne and the incumbent senator about fishing and hunting rights and Native self-governance are informative without being heavy-handed, and Stabenow's love of the Alaskan bush is infectious. Side stories involving a 14-year-old runaway and a rekindled romance for Kate add interest, but there is so much going on that the mystery doesn't build much suspense before it is rather precipitously and predictably resolved. Nonetheless, this 11th book of Stabenow's award-winning series is a good read and is recommended for public libraries. Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.