by Dana Stabenow

Minotaur Books, $25.95, 445 pages

Get ready for a history lesson of Alaska in Though Not Dead, a Kate Shugak novel. It is 1918, and an influenza pandemic, has wiped out most of the population.Those not stricken by the influenza loot and steal prized possessions, including a Russian Icon that is said to have miraculous powers. Now fast forward to the present day and the death of Old Sam, Kate’s uncle and foster father. He leaves all his worldly belongings to Kate as the executor of his estate, including a terse three word note that reads “Find My Father”. ┬áThis sets Kate off on a chase following clues that abound in this fast paced novel with a long list of suspects. Just about the time you think you know all the answers ,a new clue drops on to the page. Old manuscripts from the likes of Dashiell Hammett and regional judges help guide and confuse Kate on her search. During her quest, as usual, Kate is whacked in the head enough times to give an NFL linebacker a serious concussion, shot at, and left for dead in a whiteout inside her wrecked truck. Overall this is a good read, and worthy of carting off to the beach for a long weekend.

Reviewed by Dick Morris