Despite the gloomy title, Kate is having fun in “Restless In The Grave”, even if she is constantly being beaten up and locked into confined spaces. Having freed herself from her duties as Chair of the board of the Niniltna Native Association, Kate grabs the chance to head out of town to carry out an undercover investigation of a possible murder at Newenham, Trooper Liam Campbell’s domain.
For those of us who have read the Liam Campbell books, “Fire And Ice”, “So Sure Of Death”, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and “Better To Rest”, much fun is had from seeing Liam’s world through Kate’s eyes. I was a bit surprised to find how much Kate enjoyed the sight of Liam in uniform. I figured that she and Wy Chouinard would work something out and I expected (and got) fireworks when Kate and Moses met.
Kate’s investigation uncovers something much larger and more sinister than she had expected and gets her involved with all kinds of Federal agencies. The plot twists are nicely timed, the story is both plausible and cautionary with respect to security in Alaska.
Meanwhile, back in Niniltna, Jim Chopin finally acknowledges to himself that Kate’s house is now his home and that it is empty without her. He also discovers that Kate’s nemesis has been release from jail and has become a shareholder in the gold mine.
Although Kate has a good time in this book, there is a sense that her freedom, and perhaps her happiness, will be short-lived. It seems that “Restless In The Grave” refers to the spirit of Old Sam and that his legacy to Kate has still fully to unfold.
In bringing Kate’s and Liam’s worlds together Dana Stabenow again demonstrates her ability to bring characters to life with relatively few words and to maintain an ensemble cast without letting them slip into plot devices. This crossover also made me aware of what a good job Marguerite Gavin, the narrator of the Liam Campbell series and the Kate Shugak series, does in creating and maintaining distinctive voices for this wide range of characters.
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