Alaska is home to Dana Stabenow's two series protagonists, Kate Shugak and Liam Campbell, as well as to the author herself, who excels at contrasting the vast emptiness of the bush with the close relationships and tangled kinship connections of the Native American and white characters who people her lively thrillers. Nothing Gold Can Stay
brings state trooper Liam Campbell back as lead investigator in a string of killings that stretch back through time, along with his colleague Diana Prince, an ambitious young policewoman who's excited about her first assignment after the academy. It also fleshes out Liam's complicated emotional life. Slowly rebuilding his career in the remote fishing village of Newenham after a deadly mishap in which five people were killed (and a devastating personal tragedy that claimed the lives of his wife and young son), he's now happily involved with bush pilot Wy Chouinard. Wy is the adoptive mother of a teenage boy badly abused by the birth mother who's suddenly returned to claim him. Campbell, for his part, finds himself caught up in the seemingly unconnected deaths of a postmistress and a prospector and the search for the latter's wife, who disappeared from the scene of her husband's murder.
Stabenow is a talented plotter, who keeps the action going as Liam and Diana close in on the deranged serial killer. She makes the most of her minor characters, especially a charismatic tribal elder who's a martial arts expert, a battered teenage wife, a sexy, 60-ish barkeep, and an unhappy yuppie who'd rather be hunting for bargains at the Anchorage Nordstrom than for gold in the wilds of the bush. Stabenow depicts the unforgiving wilderness of Alaska with the love of a native daughter and the skill of a writer who keeps getting better with every book. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
In Stabenow's third Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell mystery (following 1998's Fire and Ice), the physical descriptions of Alaska are awesome: Stabenow places you right in this lonely, breathtaking country. But a novel needs more than scenery and here the scenery, so beautifully evoked that it serves as another character, can't move the story along by itself. When Liam's lover, pilot Wy Chouinard, discovers the murdered Opal Nunapitchuk while delivering mail at lonely Kagati Lake, she calls Campbell and his assistant, Diane Prince. At first it seems a random assault; then a woman disappears after her husband is killed at their gold mining claim. When the troopers connect the crimes with a 20-year-old string of missing women, they know they're following a previously undetected serial killer. Meanwhile, Wy's adopted teenage son, Tim, is again in danger from his alcoholic birth mother. Wy hastens him to Moses Alakuyak's fish camp at Old Man Creek, where Moses and his girlfriend, Bill, take care of the boy. When Peter Cole, whose cabin is another stop on Wy's mail run, is found dead, she plots the track of the present crimes and realizes the madman is headed for Old Man Creek. Edgar-winner Stabenow is an accomplished writer whose books, including the Kate Shugak and the Star Svensdotter series, are always entertaining. But in this one the sense of place overwhelms everything else, although that may be what Alaska is all about. (Oct.)
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