My review of Dana Stabenow's Restless in the Grave appeared last month in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am reposting it here with their permission. If you do not already receive Shelf Awareness for Readers, you can sign up through the widget in my right-hand column.
In Dana Stabenow’s nineteenth Kate Shugak novel, Restless in the Grave, the Aleut private investigator joins forces with Stabenow’s other series protagonist, Alaska state trooper Liam Campbell, as an airplane accident leaves a prominent businessman dead, and a fight between Campbell’s wife and the victim has the town wondering if the accident was truly an accident. At Campbell’s request, Shugak goes undercover to expose the truth—and clear his wife—only to find an unfathomable evil no one expected.
Stabenow weaves a complex mystery, with each chapter bringing a new discovery, a new layer, a new suspect. The constant plot development sustains the momentum throughout the novel, with the strongest push coming in the final quarter. Stabenow's characters—including a “ninja demon,” his bar owner girlfriend and Mutt, Kate’s half-wolf, half-husky sidekick—are colorful and humorous, even if they aren’t always entirely believable. In exchange for giving the author a little latitude with reality, though, readers get plenty of entertainment as well as food for thought.
A cameo appearance from someone in Shugak’s past leaves a few loose ends untied and hints at what’s to come in future installments of the series. Additionally, the natural fit that Shugak and Campbell have in this novel suggests this isn’t the last time their paths will cross.
As one would expect with the nineteenth book in a series, there is obvious history working its way into the characters and plot, but a lack of knowledge in either the Shugak or Campbell series should not deter readers from enjoying Restless in the Grave.
Restless in the Grave is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780312559137) from Minotaur Books and on audio (ISBN: 9781427214836) from Macmillan Audio, narrated by Marguerite Gavin.