A Grave Denied

A Grave Denied

Book - 2003
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Everyone knew Len Dreyer, a handyman for hire in the Park near Niniltna, Alaska, but no one knew anything else about him. Even Kate Shugak hired him to thin the trees on her 160-acre homestead and was planning to ask him to help build a small second cabin on her property for Johnny Morgan, a teenaged boy in her care. But she, the Park's unofficial p.i., seems to have known less about him than anyone.
Alaska is a place where anybody can bury his history and start fresh, and for any reason, but this particular mystery comes to light when Len Dreyer turns up murdered. His body is discovered, frozen solid, in the path of a receding glacier with the hole from a shotgun blast in his chest. No one even knew he was missing, but it turns out he's been missing for months.
Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin asks Kate to help him dig into Dreyer's background, in the hope of finding some reason for his murder. She takes the case, mindful of the need for gainful employment as she copes with her responsibility for Johnny, a constant reminder of his father, her dead lover. Little does she imagine that by trying to provide for him she just might put him right in the path of danger.
A talented writer at the prime of her abilities, Stabenow delivers a masterful crime novel that turns out to be as much about living as it is about dying.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, c2003.
Edition: First St. Martin's Minotaur edition
ISBN: 9780312306816
Characteristics: 321 pages ;,25 cm.


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Aug 18, 2019

An excellent read!

Mar 20, 2019


Oct 10, 2015

All the Kate Shugak novels are good, and well worth reading for the plot, characters, and Alaskan setting. This is one of the best. The Park's teenagers find a dead handyman's body on a school field trip, and have to deal with death in a very visceral way. All the Park rats "knew" him, but it turns out nobody did, not even his correct name. So the book turns on the notion of identity. The dead man isn't who anybody thought he was, so Trooper Jim hires PI Kate to find out his real identity, and when he was last seen in the Park. She has no idea that will put Johnny in danger, or cost her the cabin she was born in. Even Bobby, the only black man in the Park, whose past is a mystery, has his identity challenged when his bigoted brother shows up from TN begging him to come "home." Another man ends up murdered as well, because he tries to solve the first murder, and Kate and Mutt almost become victims themselves. Identity, that most precious commodity for each of us, can become a threat in the wrong hands.

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