Breakup (Kate Shugak Series #7)

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Overview

In Breakup, Kate Shugak's loyalties - to the land, her heritage, her home - are put to the test when a series of mishaps lead to murder. April in Alaska is typically a period of rebirth and renewal, and after the long winter Kate has nothing more strenuous on her agenda than paying her taxes. But mayhem abounds as the meltoff flows; this year's thaw is accompanied by rampaging bears, family feuds, and a plane crash quite literally in Kate's own backyard. What begins as a series of headaches escalates into ...
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Breakup (Kate Shugak Series #7)

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Overview

In Breakup, Kate Shugak's loyalties - to the land, her heritage, her home - are put to the test when a series of mishaps lead to murder. April in Alaska is typically a period of rebirth and renewal, and after the long winter Kate has nothing more strenuous on her agenda than paying her taxes. But mayhem abounds as the meltoff flows; this year's thaw is accompanied by rampaging bears, family feuds, and a plane crash quite literally in Kate's own backyard. What begins as a series of headaches escalates into possible murder when a dead body is found near her homestead. Initially unwilling to involve herself in the investigation, preferring instead to write off each odd occurrence as a breakup-related peculiarity, Kate is drawn irresistibly to seek the truth. Compelled by her friends to act as problem solver and guided by the spirit of her Aleut grandmother, she finds herself slowly taking on the role of clan leader, a post she is bound to by honor and blood. As breakup becomes increasingly fraught with danger and destruction, Kate must decide whether she can cross the line from passive observer to instrument of change, assuming the role of elder as the mantle of responsibility is passed.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The title of Breakup by Dana Stabenow refers to the April spring thaw in Alaska -- a season known for weird happenings. Kate Shugak, in her seventh adventure, is dreading both the thaw and doing her income taxes, with good reason. She is attacked by a bear shortly before a jet engine lands near her cabin, destroying her barn and her truck. While dealing with the crash investigators, Kate learns that a debris search team has discovered a man's body near her homestead. The bizarre string of events, which Kate attributes to breakup, continues with more bear attacks -- one of which leaves a female tourist dead -- the descent of a neighbor's Eastern Establishment parents for a visit, and yet another airplane mishap. Finally, the happenings become too unbelievable even for Kate and she is irresistibly drawn into the hunt for a cunning murderer.

—Sue Reider

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Early spring in Alaska is breakup season: the temperature rises, animals and humans come out of hibernation and the state "melts into a 586,412-square mile pile of slush." This book describes breakup in detail, but if you're looking for a competent Kate Shugak detective story, give it a miss. Stabenow, returning to the milieu of A Fatal Thaw (1992), offers too many picturesque breakup stories and not enough mystery. In an exciting beginning, a jet engine falls out of the sky and smashes into Kate's isolated cabin in the national park, bearing a body in the wreckage. Later, Kate, an Aleut freelance investigator, finds a tourist killed by a bear. Eventually, she realizes that the deaths are related murders and, amidst the hurley-burley of breakup, identifies the culprit. In addition, the strongminded Kate is unwillingly pulled into tribal politics as the Niniltna Native Association expects her to assume the leadership role of her late grandmother Ekaterina. Stabenow writes lively, intriguing descriptions of the magnificence of the Alaska wilderness, its quirky inhabitants and Aleut cultural traditions. But the mystery seems almost an afterthought in this disappointing entry in the Shugak series. (June)
Library Journal
The Alaskan spring brings problems and new hope for Kate Shugak. She must investigate a murder near home even as she takes over the role of clan leader from her Aleut grandmother. A wonderful series.
Kirkus Reviews
Spring has come to Kate Shugak's Alaskan park, and the snow is melting, along with every trace of social inhibition among the human and animal residents. Item: Kate has close encounters with two grizzlies in two separate incidents on the same day. Item: a 747 jet engine falls from a passing plane's cargo bay onto her spread, spreading it out just a little more. Item: the pointy- heads who arrive to survey the wreckage find a ripe corpse just beyond Kate's property line. Item: Kate, reluctantly taking her friend Mandy Baker's visiting Brahmin parents off Mandy's hands and on a tour of the park—she ends up landing a handsome fee for this service—shepherds them into still another grizzly attack, the discovery of another body, and (when they stop for a well- earned drink) a shooting feud between two families who just can't agree on a right-of-way for their neighboring homesteads. Still on tap is a disgruntled wife who takes her husband hostage and a Niniltna tribal council argument about whether the tribe ought to contract with a mental-health group for an on-site counselor. (By this time, you'll swear nobody ever needed one more.) It's no wonder that Kate is joined by every other important character in her seventh appearance (Blood Will Tell, 1996, etc.) in a rousing chorus of "I hate breakup."

Readers will find much more to like in this easygoing, farcical series of not-very-mysterious riffs—even though every separate plot seems like an afterthought, and the whole parcel a circus with Kate more bemused audience than ringmaster.

Robert Wade
[Dana Stabenow's] novels could be described as equal parts Sue Grafton and Tony Hillerman, with a dash of Carl Hiaasen thrown in ... Stabenow excels at portraying both the vast Alaskan wilderness and the peculiar breed of human beings who inhabit it ... if it's entertainment you're after, you can't do much better than this.
Diana Pinckley
Stabenow 's seventh Kate Shugak book is a cross between a Marx Brothers movie and "The Perils of Pauline" - a laugh-out-loud farce in mystery clothing. I just love what that girl can do with a Caterpillar.
Judith Kreiner
Every time I think Miss Stabenow has gotten as good as she can get, she comes up with something better. Wrap your ribs for safety, find a place where you will not be disturbed for a couple of hours, and indulge yourself.
Linda Duval
"Breakup" is ... an examination of a cultural microcosm - the residents of a small town enduring an insane time of year. It comes every year, and everything bad is attributed to it. It's also very funny, in a "Northern Exposure" sort of way. In all, it's an engaging look at a very specific way of life in a unique place...
Jane Dickenson
Breakup gallops along... The book's mystery is a dark thread of murder woven among Kate's adventures in the bush. Breakup 's thrills and chills - and there are plenty - revolve on the challenges of life in the North, rather than the challenges of criminal investigation. But Stabenow 's crisp writing and wonderful cast of characters with their Alaskan wit and wisdom will keep you cool on a hot day.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736655323
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2000
  • Series: Kate Shugak Series , #7
  • Format: Cassette

Meet the Author

Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage and raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She knew there was a warmer, drier job out there somewhere and found it in writing. Her first crime fiction novel, A Cold Day for Murder, won an Edgar award. Her first thriller, Blindfold Game, hit the New York Times bestseller list.

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

In Anchorage, there is something called a Spenard divorce. It involves a husband, a wife, and a gun, with bullets. (A gun without bullets would signify a separation, not a divorce, and would usually lead to a reconciliation, which might lead then back to another try at a Spenard divorce. But I digress.)

You might say Breakup is the story of a Bush divorce involving a husband, a wife, and a grizzly bear, with claws. (A grizzly bear without claws would signify a tale of science fiction, not a mystery, and would take place on another planet. But I digress.)

Kate Shugak, not totally clawless herself, literally stumbles upon the crime scene after it happens, and through a series of events that includes a shootout at Bernie's Roadhouse, an engine falling off a 747, and a ride on a D-6 Caterpillar tractor, she then discovers whodunit, and why.

—Dana Stabenow

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 100 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 100 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Great book!

    I am stoked that I stumbled upon this author, Ive read four so far and have bought two more! This one was the best yet. Great read......I give it five stars!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    wickedly humorous mystery

    One of the most enjoyable reads I have come across. The author piles one unexpected incident upon another until only a strong, resourceful, woman like Kate Shugak could bear up under the burden of infallibilty her fellow Alaskans feel free to thrust upon her I laughed out loud frequently and hated to have it end. Some of the professional reviewers seem to have the missed the humorous nature of the book and the intent of the author to portray the effects of surviving another long Alaskan winter upon its inhabitants. The publisher's cover art and interior grey splotches do not do this author's work justice.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    Best of the series

    In my opinion this is the best of the Shugak books, the description of th breakup period is mesmerizing, linking the changes in nature with the psychological answers to them. It also is the funniest of the books in this series I have read so far, a nice change of pace.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    Okay for those following the Kate Shugak series.

    There are 27 Kate Shugak mystery novels to date regarding the rural Alaskan Aleut PI. You can skip this one and still have a lot of material left. A Cold Day for Murder, the first in the series, is a solid reading experience, making Breakup a comparative disappointment. If you are a devoted Kate Shugak reader, you will enjoy Breakup well enough. No boredom here, it runs at breakneck speed from beginning to end. It's just way over the top and devotes too little time to creating any identification much less empathy with any of its many characters. Maybe since its No. 7 in the series, the author assumed the groundwork had been laid and didn't bear repeating. Even assuming that rationale applies to recurring characters, it does not apply to new ones, who range from undeveloped to unlikely.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2014

    Fun time. Another good story

    I think Dana was having a good time with this one. I like this series. It teaches me about an area which I have never visited and a people I have never met. Nicely done.

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    Sometimes I struggle thru

    I enjoy Dana Stabenow's books, but sometimes it seems the descriptions and back story goes on forever. Great story lines, even with the constant reminder that I am having to back off from the "conservative attacks" and just read the story. This one seem to drag a little at times, but since I am trying to read the whole series about Kate Shugak, I stayed with it. Wish writers could leave their politics behind sometimes (Stabenow is not the only one, most seem to have this leaning). Having to ignore the fact that she seems to really dislike "right wing" conservatives" or anyone who seems to have those leanings makes the hair on my neck raise in response. So on with the story already...or I guess she feels that is the backdrop of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Absolutely recommended

    If you've never lived through Alaskan breakup, as I have, you may not get it, but the humor in this story kept me laughing all the way. Sure, there's a body, but that's her modus operendi. The combination of all those things that makes breakup so exciting are in this book. I laughed until I had tears. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who knows Shugak's work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2012

    Great Alaska content!

    I have all of her Alaska mysteries and they're all great! This one was quite fun, as well - in some ways the theme of what goes on at breakup was quite humorous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    my favorite so far!

    Full of mayhem, mischief, suspense and tons of humor to boot! This is a definite must read! Stabenow does it again!!!

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    This is must read of the Shugak series. My favorite.

    I enjoy all of the books in the Kate Shugak series. Breakup was fun and humerous depicting all the things happening in Breakup. For those who have lived in Alaska during Breakup when the ice melts and moves out, it will bring a smile to your face remembering your own springtime Breakup season. Different parts of the country experience different effects of going from winter to spring. Non so dramatic and entertaining as Dana Stabenow's BREAKUP.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    Absolutety my favorite so far!

    I have actually read this book more than once, and each time I am still as hooked! Great mystery, and also very humurous! Murphy's Law is definitely in effect in Kate's life all through this book! I LOVED IT!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    This is my favorite Kate Shugak novel -- enjoyable from start to

    This is my favorite Kate Shugak novel -- enjoyable from start to finish.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Check this out!

    The entire series is wonderful. You can't help but love this independent character. Read this one and all the others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Great Book

    This was my favorite of all the Kate Shugak Series! And funny!

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    Super, funny book; a must read

    Great book, funny and exciting. Moves rapidly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2011

    Always enjoy Kate Shugak stories

    Can't wait for the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2011

    good read but slow moving

    have read several Daa Stabenow books. this was a good book but a VERY slow read. kept reading expecting it to get better.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    I found this to be fair reading

    I probably wouldn't read future books by this author but I'm more into mysteries.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Really good read!

    It's spring thaw in Alaska when the people and bears go a little craxy. An easy read with lots of adventure and well drawn characters and as usual looks at the wilds of Alaska most of us will never experience up close.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Do not recommend this book.

    I did not enjoy this book at all. Thought it was poorly written, unbelievable characters, hard to follow at times, nothing believable about the story. Would not recommend.

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