cover image Capitol Offense: A Nik Kane Alaska Mystery

Capitol Offense: A Nik Kane Alaska Mystery

Mike Doogan, Author Putnam $25.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-399-15431-

In veteran Anchorage journalist Doogan’s uneven second Nik Kane mystery (after 2006’s Lost Angel ), a wealthy widow hires Kane, a disgraced former Anchorage cop turned PI, to help defend a promising Native Alaskan state legislator, Matthew Hope, against the charge of murdering an aide to conservative senator O.B. Potter. The first half of the book reads like a traditional detective novel, with a tough, troubled protagonist, mysterious client, unjustly accused suspect and reluctant informants, including Kane’s estranged son, Dylan. Kane even acquires a sarcastic sidekick, Tlingit cab driver “Cocoa” Paul. The story eventually falls apart as Kane, working by instinct, suffers threats and beatings en route to an unsatisfying conclusion. Though most books set in Alaska take place in the glorious and forbidding wilderness, almost all the action is in the state capital, Juneau, a city that seems carved out of ice and rocks. Unfortunately, strong writing and evocative descriptions can’t save a predictable plot and a hodgepodge of stock characters. (Aug.)