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GRAVE DENIED, A
by Dana Stabenow
St. Martin's Minotaur, September 2003
321 pages
$24.95
ISBN: 0312306814


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A group of 14 year olds and their teacher are investigating a glacier field near Niniltna, Alaska. A few kids go investigating on their own with the teacher's permission, and Johnny Morgan, investigates a cave in a receding glacier. There's a dead body inside. Jim Chopin, Alaska State Trooper takes charge.

The dead man is Len Dreyer, general handyman to all the park rats. Kate Shugak had been planning to ask him to help her build a cabin for Johnny on her property. No one seems to know anything about Dreyer. He helped everyone who lived in the park. He did plumbing, carpentry, gardening, even helped fix fishing boats. But he never talked about himself or about his life before settling into the Park.

Jim asks Kate to help solve the case. The troopers are undermanned and Kate is a trained investigator, but when Kate's cabin is burned, with Johnny and Kate (and Mutt) escaping unhurt, he tries to take her off the case. She won't go. Now it is personal.

Dana Stabenow has created a bunch of Alaskan eccentrics to live in an imaginary park, near the imaginary town of Niniltna in southeast Alaska. It really is imaginary. I tried to look it up in an atlas and it just isn't there, but Stabenow has made it real. And the people are real. I care about what happens to Kate, and Jim, and Johnny,

Don't start with A GRAVE DENIED. Start with A COLD DAY FOR MURDER and A FATAL THAW, the first two in the series which also tale place in the Park, and then go to Dutch Harbor (DEAD IN THE WATER) and A COLD BLOODED BUSINESS (Prudhoe Bay) and... you get the idea. There are 12 books to read before you get to A GRAVE DENIED.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, August 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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