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by Dana Stabenow
New American Library, September 2002
272 pages
ISBN: 0451207025

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Liam Campbell, Alaska State Trooper who has been banished to Newenham after falling into a deep depression caused by the accidental death of his infant son, has redeemed himself. His rank has been restored, and Sgt. Campbell has been asked to return to Anchorage.

. While Liam and his assistant, Trooper Diana Prince, are dealing with the run of the mill minor crimes and crazies, Wy Chouinard, bush pilot and Liam's lover, is in the local hangout, magistrate Bill Billington's bar, preparing to get some takeout burgers and fries for dinner. She loves Liam and doesn't want to push him into a decision he will regret, but she doesn't want to leave her home and business, and resettle in Anchorage with the boy she rescued two years previously. Wy's best friend, Jo, a reporter, turns up unexpectedly, with her brother, to whom Wy had been married for a minute several years earlier, so they decide to stay at Bill's for steaks.

Liam finally shows up. He and Diana had been to the home of one of the local troublemakers to tell him to lay off the ATM machine at the local bank, when a human arm comes flying out of the door and lands at their feet. He has brought the arm to Bill's so she can put it in the safe until he can figure out who it belongs to.

Wy and Liam fly out to the rotting glacier where the men had found the arm and find a crashed C-47, the workhorse cargo plane of the military and, in its civilian guise, as a DC-3, the workhorse passenger plane, just beginning to melt out of the ice. When they get back to town, Diana meets them at the terminal and tells Liam that a 74 year old local woman has been found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Stabenow loves Alaska, its history, and its people and that affection shows in this, the 4th in the series. She explores the relationships between Bill and her Yupik lover, Moses; Wy and Liam and Wy and Tim; Tim and his birth mother; Liam and his father. She gives us a glimpse of what Alaska was like in 1941, and how it has changed over the intervening decades, and almost as an afterthought, solves a couple of crimes. I do prefer her Kate Shugak series but I wouldn't miss one of these either.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, July 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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