Edgar-winner Stabenow’s richly nuanced, highly entertaining 21st Kate Shugak mystery (after 2013’s Bad Blood) finds the Alaskan PI, who’s recovering from a gunshot wound she suffered months before, enjoying her solitude at her isolated cabin at the foot of the Quilak Mountains when some unwelcome visitors, who call themselves “orienteers,” pass by. One of them, a woman whose looks remind Kate of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, seeks Kate’s aid after she tumbles off a ridge—and falls on a heap of human bones. The intrepid Kate packs up the scanty remains, which a variety of animals have picked clean, and heads for the nearest town. Soon a woman hires Kate to find her missing husband, and the plot goes off in some surprising directions from there. The book is sprinkled with wit, studded with exquisite descriptions of the rugged landscape, and filled with opinionated and endearing characters, including reality TV show producers, park rangers, geologists, and barkeeps. The dialogue is smart, authentic, and reminiscent of Elmore Leonard, had he trained his shrewdly ironic eye on the wilds of Alaska rather than the seamier side of Detroit. A line from a Robert Frost poem provided the title. (May)
This review has been corrected; an earlier version listed the wrong publisher.