A Grave Denied

A Grave Denied

Book - 2003
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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, who was planning to ask him to help build a small second cabin on her property, knew him. But she, the Park's unofficial P.I., seems to have known less about him than anyone.

When Len Dreyer's body is discovered, frozen solid, in the path of a receding glacier with a hole from a shotgun blast in his chest, no one even noticed that he was missing for months. Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin asks Kate to help him dig into Dreyer's background, in the hope of finding some motive for his murder. She takes the case, mindful of the need for gainful employment as she copes with her responsibility for Johnny, the teenage boy in her care and a constant reminder of his father, her dead lover. Little does she imagine that by trying to provide for him she just might put him right in the path of danger.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2003
Edition: 1st St. Martin's Minotaur ed
ISBN: 9780312985646
0312985649
9780312306816
0312306814
Branch Call Number: STAB
Characteristics: 321 p

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DorisWaggoner
Oct 10, 2015

All the Kate Shugak novels are good, and well worth reading for the plot, characters, and Alaskan setting. This is one of the best. The Park's teenagers find a dead handyman's body on a school field trip, and have to deal with death in a very visceral way. All the Park rats "knew" him, but it turns out nobody did, not even his correct name. So the book turns on the notion of identity. The dead man isn't who anybody thought he was, so Trooper Jim hires PI Kate to find out his real identity, and when he was last seen in the Park. She has no idea that will put Johnny in danger, or cost her the cabin she was born in. Even Bobby, the only black man in the Park, whose past is a mystery, has his identity challenged when his bigoted brother shows up from TN begging him to come "home." Another man ends up murdered as well, because he tries to solve the first murder, and Kate and Mutt almost become victims themselves. Identity, that most precious commodity for each of us, can become a threat in the wrong hands.

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