This week, I’m headed to two locations in America that I’ve only ever visited via fiction: Alaska and the Ozarks. To me, they both feel like exotic places where the landscape and the climate reshaped the American Dream of the people who settled there giving them unique cultures linked to the land and its history.
My guide to Alaska is Dana Stabenow. It will be my twenty-eighth visit with her and I’m looking forward to it.
I’m visiting the Ozarks with a new author of whom I’ve heard great things.
Both books were published in April 2023. I’ve bounced them to the top of my TBR pile because I want to get them while they’re fresh.
‘Not The Ones Dead’ by Dana Stabenow (2023)
When a new Kate Shugak book comes out, I don’t even read the publisher’s summary, I just buy the book.
I started reading the series back in 2012. By then, the first book, ‘A Cold Day For Murder’ was already twenty years old. I loved Kate Shugak but felt the story was showing its age. The second book, ‘A Fatal Thaw’ was much stronger and turned me into a fan not just of Kate but of the landscape she lived in. I reached book twenty ‘Bad Blood’ three years later. At the time, I thought it was the last Kate Shugak book. It had been published in 2013 and it seemed to bring the series to a close. By then, Kate had become very real to me and I didn’t want to let her go.
Then, in 2017, after four years of silence, I was delighted when Kate came back in ‘Less Than A Treason’. I had to wait until 2020 to see her again in ‘No Fixed Line’ and now, three years later, I have ‘Not The Ones Dead’ waiting for me. I can hardly wait to start. I’ve bought the audiobook version so I’ll have the pleasure of Marguerite Gavin’s excellent narration, including all the voices she’s given to the ensemble cast over the years.
‘Ozark Dogs’ by Eli Cranor (2023)
Just about everything I know about ‘Ozark Dogs‘ presses my BUY IT NOW button.
I love the title: simple, distinctive and promising something hard-edged but grounded.
I love the cover: the urban image of a junkyard full of once-loved cars now crushed into scrap, twisted into something different by being set against wooded mountains.
The author’s background: a professional sportsman turned coach, turned writer, who writes about the place he’s spent his life in.
The fact that his first book ‘Don’t Know Tough’ won an award sponsored by Peter Lovesey, a crime writer from my city of Bath and who sets his novels here.
So, I’m starting this one with high hopes a dark, character-driven crime thriller with a distinctive Ozarks flavour.
2 thoughts on “#FridayReads 2023-05-05 – An American Crime Week – ‘Not The Ones Dead’ and ‘Ozark Dogs’”
Thanks Mike, I look forward to the respective reviews. I did have to wiki the location of the Ozark region, but now I’m oriented the combination also seems to offer some interesting contrasts. Enjoy!
One of the things that fascinates me about the Ozarks is that it manages to keep a regional identity even though it’s split between four states. The only thing holding it together is shared culture of the settlers and the topology.
The only other place I know of like that in the US is the Four Corners region on the Navajo reservation.
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