Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.
Alaskan Wild Mysteries.
Who is the Kate Shugak series about?
Written by Anchorage native writer Dana Stabenow (Liam Campbell, Eye of Isis), the Kate Shugak series takes us to Alaska for some dangerous mysteries.
The series revolves around Kate Shugak, a native Aleut, who is working as a private investigator in Alaska. She has light brown eyes, black hair, is five foot one with an angry scar from ear to ear, and owns a half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt.
Described as resourceful, strong-willed, and defiant, Kate is tough, and she needs to be if she wants to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her.
How to read the Kate Shugak Books in Order?
Every book in the Kate Shugak series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
You can find the Kate Shugak short stories in “The Collected Short Stories and Essays,” a book published in 2013.
- Nooses Give (short story)
- A Cold Day for Murder – Somewhere in twenty million acres of forest and glaciers, a ranger has disappeared: Mark Miller. Missing six weeks. It’s assumed by the Alaskan Parks Department that Miller has been caught in a snowstorm and frozen to death: the typical fate of those who get lost in this vast and desolate terrain. But as a favour to his congressman father, the FBI send in an investigator: Ken Dahl. Last heard from two weeks and two days ago. Now it’s time to send in a professional: Kate Shugak.
- A Fatal Thaw – Eleven days ago, Roger McAniff bought himself a new Winchester 30.06 rifle. Ten days ago he went out to test it. Now nine people are dead. But only eight were killed by McAniff… Considering she would have been his final victim, private investigator Kate Shugak almost regrets not killing Roger McAniff. But Lisa Getty was killed by a different rifle. Different rifle, different shooter. And Kate is tasked with tracking this unknown killer down before the case goes completely cold…
- Dead in the Water – Last March, two men disappeared whilst loading supplies on a remote island in the Bering Sea: two million square miles of dark capricious ocean and tempestuous squalls. Their Skipper, Harry Gault, should have been fired, at the least. But six months later he’s still aboard the Avilda, and the families of the missing men are making noises about corruption. With the crew backing his version of events, what the authorities need is an investigator who can survive the torturous conditions on an Alaskan fishing trawler. Someone like Kate Shugak…
- A Cold-blooded Business – In three months, the Prudhoe Bay oil operation has logged half a dozen drug overdoses, and one death: a man found floating face down in the company pool wearing full flight gear. Now the Alaskan Royal Petroleum Company is in need of a discreet investigator on the inside. Someone who can navigate a flat-bed truck against Arctic wind at forty degrees below freezing and find out who is running a narcotic ring from within the company. Sounds like a job for Kate Shugak…
- Play With Fire – A ten-year-old boy has hired Kate Shugak to find his father. Daniel Seabolt has been missing since the summer, but his disappearance has never been reported. The boy’s grandfather, the Right Reverend Pastor Simon Seabolt, has forbidden the tight-knit community even to speak Daniel’s name. Unfortunately for the boy, Kate is already investigating the body of a man found buried under the ash of last year’s forest fire.
- Blood Will Tell – Ekaterina Moonin Shugak, tribal elder and community leader, is a fierce friend and an even fiercer foe. So when she arrives unannounced at Kate Shugak’s homestead asking for her granddaughter’s help, Kate knows there must be something seriously amiss in town. And her suspicions are confirmed when she arrives in town to find that two people are dead.
- Breakup – Breakup: the time of year when Alaska awakens from its Arctic slumber. Snows melt. Rivers flood. Winter’s secrets emerge. This spring, the retreating ice reveals a corpse, and a starving she-bear mauls a woman to death. The corpse matches the description of a man missing since last year, the woman has been so badly mutilated she’s barely recognizable. Investigator Kate Shugak will dodge bullets, bears, and a plane crash before she realizes that, somehow, there is a connection between the two deaths.
- Killing Grounds – Cal Meany is a cheat, a poacher, an abusive father, and an adulterous husband. So nobody is that surprised when Kate Shugak finds his body floating in the bay. What is surprising is that the corpse has been beaten, stabbed, strangled, and drowned. Meany’s happily bereaved wife and children are prime suspects. Then again, so are most of his neighbors. But when Meany’s daughter is murdered, and her lover disappears, Kate begins to think that this unusual crime may not be so readily solved…
- Hunter’s Moon – It’s autumn in Alaska: hunting season. Kate Shugak is acting guide to ten big game hunters carrying an arsenal of expensive weaponry. Unfortunately, not one of them seems to know one end of a shotgun from the other, and all are a danger to themselves and anyone else in range. So when one of the men is killed, his death is dismissed as a tragic accidental shooting. But when the weather worsens and Kate finds herself stranded in the wilderness with the hunting party, she begins to have her doubts about the group.
- Midnight Come Again – Kate is missing after a winter spent in mourning. Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin, Kate’s best friend, needs her to help him work a new case. He discovers her hiding out in Bering, a small fishing village on Alaska’s western coast, living and working under an assumed name. But before they can even discuss Kate’s last several months, or what Jim is doing looking for her in Bering, they’re up to their eyes in Jim’s case, which is suddenly more complicated–and more dangerous–than they suspect.
- The Singing of the Dead – The candidate has been receiving anonymous threats, and Kate, who went to college with two of the staffers, is to become her shadow, watching the crowds at rallies and fundraisers. But just as she’s getting started the campaign is rocked by the murder of their staff researcher, who, Kate discovers, was in possession of some damning information about the pasts of both candidates.
- A Fine and Bitter Snow – Change never comes easy, but it comes just the same, and it’s on its way to the Park, to Niniltna, in southeast Alaska. This time it concerns the possibility of drilling for oil in a wildlife preserve near there, near Aleutian P.I. Kate Shugak’s home territory. Battle lines are drawn across their community, but at least it gives Kate something to do. Still just months after her lover’s violent death, though she doesn’t know quite how, she is trying to get back into her daily life.
- A Grave Denied – Everyone knew Len Dreyer, a handyman for hire in the Park near Niniltna, Alaska, but no one knew anything else about him. Even Kate Shugak hired him to thin the trees on her 160-acre homestead and was planning to ask him to help build a small second cabin on her property for Johnny Morgan, a teenage boy in her care. But she, the Park’s unofficial p.i., seems to have known less about him than anyone.
- Under the Influence (short story)
- Wreck Rights (short story)
- A Taint in the Blood – Thirty-one years ago in Anchorage, Alaska, Victoria Pilz Bannister Muravieff was convicted of murdering her seventeen-year-old son William. The jury returned a quick verdict of guilty, believing the prosecutor’s claims that she had set fire to her own home with both her sons inside; William died and the other, Oliver, narrowly escaped. Victoria was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and though she pled not guilty at the trial, she never again denied her guilt. Now her daughter, Charlotte Muravieff, has hired Kate Shugak to clear her mother’s name.
- A Deeper Sleep – Kate has been working on a case for the Anchorage District Attorney involving the murder of a young woman by her husband, a man named Louis Deem. Deem has been the subject of investigations before, and he’s never been convicted of a crime. But Kate and state trooper Jim Chopin, who arrested Deem, are convinced that this time it’s different, and he’ll finally be punished for his actions. When the jury returns a verdict of not guilty, Kate and Jim are devastated. A few weeks later a shooting leaves two dead in an apparent robbery. But this time Kate and Jim have a witness, and they’re not going to let Louis Deem get away again. Or will he?
- Conspiracy (short story)
- Whisper to the Blood – A mining company has discovered a rich mineral deposit in Alaska’s enormous Iqaluk Wildlife Refuge. Politicos see dollar signs for the state, but Ninilta residents, who live near the proposed site, are split: Will outsiders take the jobs? Will the environment be harmed by pollution? Will roads disintegrate . . . tourists invade? As the new chairperson of Ninilta’s Native Association, a job she never wanted, Kate is embarrassingly ill-equipped to handle the questions. Nor is she prepared when two individuals associated with the company turn up dead.
- A Night Too Dark – In Alaska, people disappear every day. In Aleut detective Kate Shugak’s Park, they’ve been disappearing a lot lately. Hikers head into the wilderness unprepared and get lost. Miners quit without notice at the busy Suulutaq Mine. Suicides leave farewell notes and vanish. Not only are Park rats disappearing at an alarming rate, but so is life in the Park as Kate knows it. It’s almost a relief when Kate finds a body. This she can handle. Until the identity of the body vanishes, too.
- Siren Song (short story)
- Cherchez la Femme (short story)
- Though Not Dead – The residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned by the death of one of their oldest members, eighty-seven-year-old Old Sam Dementieff…even private investigator Kate Shugak. Sam, a lifelong resident, dubbed the “father” of all of the Park rats—even though he had no children of his own—was especially close to Kate, his niece, but even she is surprised to discover that in his will he’s left her everything, including a letter instructing her simply to, “find my father.”
- Restless in the Grave – Alaska aviation entrepreneur Finn Grant died in the fiery crash of his Piper Super Cub. Someone sabotaged his engine, and virtually everyone in southwestern Alaska has a motive, including his betrayed wife, his bullied children, and Liam’s wife, bush pilot Wyanet Chouinard. With few places to turn, Liam asks his former mentor Niniltna post commander Sergeant Jim Chopin, for help, and Jim quickly brings Kate onto the case.
- Any Taint of Vice (short story)
- Bad Blood – One hundred years of bad blood between the Alaskan villages of Kushtaka and Kuskulana come to a boil when the body of a young Kushtaka ne’er-do-well is found wedged in a fish wheel. Sergeant Jim Chopin’s prime suspect is a Kuskulana man who is already in trouble in both villages for falling in love across the river. But when the suspect disappears, members of both tribes refuse to speak to Jim. When a second murder that looks suspiciously like payback occurs, Jim has no choice but to call in Kate Shugak for help.
- Less than a Treason – Two thousand people go missing in Alaska every year. They vanish in the middle of mountain footraces, on fishing boats in the Bering Sea, on small planes in the Bush. Now a geologist known for going walkabout with his rock hammer has disappeared from the Suulutaq Mine in the Park. Was it deliberate? An accident? Foul play? Native Aleut Private Investigator Kate Shugak may be the only person who can find out. But for the fact that Kate, too, is now among the missing…
- No Fixed Line – It is New Year’s Eve, nearly six weeks into an off-and-on blizzard that has locked Alaska down, effectively cutting it off from the outside world. But now there are reports of a plane down in the Quilak mountains. With the National Transportation Safety Board unable to reach the crash site, ex-Trooper Jim Chopin is pulled out of retirement to try to identify the aircraft, collect the corpses, and determine why no flight has been reported missing. But Jim discovers survivors: two children who don’t speak a word of English. Meanwhile, PI Kate Shugak receives an unexpected and unwelcome accusation from beyond the grave, a charge that could change the face of the Park forever.
- Not the Ones Dead – A mid-air collision in the Alaskan wilderness between two small aircraft leaves ten people dead. Was it a bird strike, pilot error… or premeditated murder? Then an eleventh body is found in the wreckage: a man shot gangland style, twice in the chest and once in the head. In an investigation that reaches to the highest levels of government, justice may not be served, but Kate Shugak is determined that the truth will out, even at the risk of her life and the lives of those she loves most.
If you like our article about reading the Kate Shugak series in order, don’t forget to bookmark it!