Dana Stabenow’s fifth book in the Liam Campbell series, Spoils of the Dead, involves secrets from the past—and an inexplicable murder in the present.
Liam hasn’t even formally started his new job as an Alaska state trooper when trouble starts. An archaeologist, Erik, has made a discovery, and its connection to native Alaskan tribes could shut down drilling work—the source of income for many local residents. Just days later, the skeleton of a boy is discovered on Erik’s dig site; then Erik’s body is found mere feet from where the skeleton was found. With the help of his new assistant, the new friends he’s already made in town, and his beloved wife, Liam investigates, but the case could turn his small Alaskan town upside down.
Spoils of the Dead is filled with colorful characters whose contributions make each step of the investigation rich and detailed. An elderly former nightclub owner often turns up nude on the road into town, while an action movie star throws film-viewing parties for the locals. There are also plenty of grumpy old men who don’t want things to change in their town.
Fascinating glimpses into Alaska’s history and geography come in; Liam’s wife, Wy, is a pilot, and she delivers detailed observations of the area’s topography. Erik’s interest in the history of Alaska’s native tribes results in intriguing clues about the town’s past. Each element enhances the book’s action, and Liam slowly eliminates suspects and hones in on the one person who is tied to both victims. The revelation of the murderer’s identity is perfectly timed, leading to a solid, satisfying conclusion.
The past meets the present on the wild Alaskan tundra in the expressive mystery novel Spoils of the Dead.
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