This 15th entry in the wonderful Kate Shugak series is like candy for regular readers like me. In a quick and dirty (which is to say not long, not complicated, NO explanation for readers who have not been following the series) visit to Kate et al., we find the loathed Louis Deem getting off the hook in court for a crime he does so well: Murdering yet another young wife. Everybody in the Park, Kate included, knows he did it, but he has a great lawyer and a way of sliming himself out of the worst crimes.
Before Kate and her fellow Park Rats can recover from this latest miscarriage of justice, a double murder of a well-known mother and her teenaged son shocks the Alaskan countryside into a dangerous, simmering rage. Everybody knows Deem did it. Will he get away again? Can Kate's new love interest, law enforcement officer Jim Chopin, collect enough evidence this time? And what about the strange 17-child family, the Smiths, who seems ready to sacrifice their oldest daughter to marriage with the smarmy Deem? Why would they do this and why are they protecting him?
There's a lot of angst and worry in this book, about Mutt, about whether Kate is ever going to escape her karma of being the native community's leader after the death (several books ago) of her grandmother, whether Kate and Jim can really become an item, whether Kate's adopted son Johnny can get over seeing his friend Fritz being murdered by Deem...and that's not even the half of it!
I think if somebody new to the series picks up this book, he or she will be sorely confused. There is a bit of impatience to this story, a bit of "I'm not going to tell you again." So if you don't know the characters and the ins and outs of Park Rat doings, I would suggest starting at the beginning, with the first book. For the rest of us, Yahooo!