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Death Trap (Jessie Arnold Series #10)

Death Trap (Jessie Arnold Series #10)

3.7 3
by Sue Henry

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Up north,
the summers are brief —
and winter, like death,
is cold and long . . .

Recovering from knee surgery that will cause her to miss the upcoming dogsled racing season, champion "musher" Jessie Arnold feels empty and bored — so she grabs an opportunity to fill her days manning the Iditarod booth at the Alaska


Up north,
the summers are brief —
and winter, like death,
is cold and long . . .

Recovering from knee surgery that will cause her to miss the upcoming dogsled racing season, champion "musher" Jessie Arnold feels empty and bored — so she grabs an opportunity to fill her days manning the Iditarod booth at the Alaska State Fair. But murder becomes an attraction here as well — an especially brutal one — when the corpse of a small-time hoodlum slain by a double-blade axe blow to the skull turns up on the fairgrounds. Jessie shouldn't get involved, having already seen too much violent death in her lifetime. But strange connections are linking the killing with a child's kidnapping . . . and with the sudden disappearance of her own beloved lead sled dog. Soon friends old and new will be pulled in as well when the unthinkable occurs: Jessie herself vanishes without a trace.

Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, intelligent, and filled with the spectacular beauty of the northern wilds.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Real thrills set against the wild beauty of Alaska.”
“Well-drawn characters...charm the reader.”
Washington Post Book World
“Twice as vivid as Michener’s natural Alaska.”
Associated Press
“Henry does an excellent job of building suspense. Then she sets hearts racing with nail-biting scenes.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Henry revels in the wilderness of Alaskan scenery and keeps the tension mounting. ”
Anchorage Daily News (on Cold Company)
“Henry has once again succeeded in crafting an engrossing mystery that...keeps the reader well-occupied.”
Charleston Post & Courier
“Sue Henry is an agile writer...hard to put down.”
New York Times Book Review
“Dazzling . . . adrenaline pumping.”
Baltimore Sun
“Wonderfully evocative.”
Associated Press Staff
“Henry does an excellent job of building suspense. Then she sets hearts racing with nail-biting scenes.”
Publishers Weekly
Anthony and Macavity Award winner Henry underutilizes her trademark Alaskan setting in her 10th Jessie Arnold mystery (after 2002's Cold Company). Told in flashbacks by the famed musher and a number of her friends and allies, the novel rarely achieves her usual level of suspense. Sitting around Jessie's cabin, the group recalls and recounts where they were, what they did and what they knew as this story of murder, dognapping and kidnapping unfolds against the backdrop of the Alaska State Fair. Despite the absence of the author's customary depiction of the magnificent and treacherous Alaskan environment, readers will welcome the return of a former suitor and the introduction of 10-year-old Danny Tabor and 82-year-old Frank Monroe. The spunky youngster and the verbose octogenarian form an unlikely but appealing alliance as they each confront the limitations placed on them by age. They also have to match wits with their pursuers when they unwittingly become possessors of important information. For Jessie, still recovering from knee surgery, this adventure tests her strength of will as she fights to find and rescue her lead dog and boon companion, Tank. Established fans should enjoy this tale, but others should start with another book in the series. (July 1) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Musher Jessie Arnold and her fans get a break from sadistic monsters and the frozen wilderness in her tenth outing (Cold Company, 2002, etc.). Henry’s latest tale begins in the cozy confines of Jessie’s new living room, where all the participants in this latest caper take turns telling the story. It all begins when a friend needs Jessie’s help for the Iditarod booth at the Alaska State Fair. Grateful for the break from the boredom of rehabilitating her knee, Jessie takes her lead dog Tank to the Fair, where, unbeknownst to them, other adventurers are converging. Elderly Frank Monroe has escaped to the Fair from the infantilizing discipline of his nursing home, and young Danny Tabor from familial chores. Danny meets Tank and a considerably less savory character who chases the boy when he accidentally makes off with the man’s gym bag. Luckily, Danny also meets Frank, who hides with him overnight in a Fair exhibit. The next morning, a man is found with an axe in his head and Tank is dognapped. Jessie and Tank survive their share of hardship before their rescue, but the State Troopers finally figure out the connection between the dog, the boy, the old man, the gym bag, and the axe murderer. Readers may be charmed by the reassuring narrative frame, but it defuses much of the tension, as does the conventional precocity of Frank and Danny. Even so, some will stick around to see the real mystery resolved: Who’s the unnamed yet familiar man joining Jessie’s crowd of friends? Agent: Dominick Abel

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Jessie Arnold Series , #10
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.76(d)

Read an Excerpt

Death Trap
An Alaska Mystery

Chapter One

"I wasn't here then," he reminded her. "So now that it's all over, will you please explain to me just what you were doing by yourself in that dog yard at Nancy Lake."

Jessie Arnold frowned at the trooper's question, narrowed her gray eyes, and a curl of honey-blond hair fell over her forehead as she shook her head, remembering. As all eyes turned toward her, she shifted a bit self-consciously in her place on the big sofa that had been a housewarming gift for her new cabin. She glanced around the group of people that had gathered for dinner and now sat companionably in her living room, drinking coffee or beer and discussing the circumstances in which they had all, in one way or another, found themselves involved in the preceding few days.

Two were finishing a second slice of pie, and one had lit an aromatic pipe, adding a faint fruity scent to the pleasant smell of the fire in the potbellied iron stove. The fire crackled suddenly in the ensuing silence, which was broken again as Alaska State Trooper Phil Becker set his bottle of Killian's on its stone hearth with a clink. Crossing his arms on the back of the straight chair he straddled, he rested his chin on them and looked across at Jessie, waiting to see what she would say and attempting, though not very hard, to hide the I-told-you-so grin that twitched his lips.

"Better answer the question," he suggested finally.

"Oh, cut it out, Phil," she told him, attempting to look severe and failing. "We all know you think I shouldn't have gone off on my own, and you're probably right. But I was worried and angry, and it seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time. How was I to know ... " She let the sentence trail off thoughtfully.

He shrugged, waiting for her to finish her defensive justification, but quit trying to control the grin and allowed it to spread across his face.

"I was looking for Tank," she began, turning to her questioner and ignoring Phil's expression.

At the sound of his name, Jessie's lead dog, Tank, sat up from where he was curled next to young Danny Tabor on the braided rug at her feet, all his attention focused on her face. She leaned forward and took the dog's face between both her hands and smiled as she spoke to him.

"Yes, I was looking for you. And found you, thank God, though it got us both into a lot of trouble."

He leaned blissfully into her caresses and gave her arm a lick, returning the affection.

"Lie down, good boy," she told him, and waited to continue her explanation till he had done so and laid his muzzle on Danny's knee.

"First, Maxie McNabb stopped by on her way to Colorado and -- "

"Who's Maxie McNabb?" Danny asked.

Jessie sighed. Explaining everything that had happened was obviously not going to be easy.

"Maxie is a friend of mine who lives in Homer, but she travels to warmer places in her motor home during the winter. I met her when I drove a Winnebago up the Alaska Highway last May for Vic Prentice, the contractor who built this new cabin for me. She was coming back to Homer for the summer, and we ran into each other in a Canadian campground. We kept in touch, then in August she stopped here for a visit she had promised me on her way back to the Lower Forty-eight. It was a short visit, but our conversation gave me the idea of searching local dog yards, so that's where I went.

"I had gone to the fair, you see ... " she continued, remembering what had transpired on her visit to one particular and unpleasant dog yard, and the situation in which she had found herself as a result.

The grin faded from Phil Becker's face. He listened intently, along with the circle of old and new friends who made up Jessie's audience, for there were details of what had happened that he had not yet heard and a few questions of his own to be answered.

Except for her voice and some gentle Celtic harp music from her sound system in the background, it was quiet in the room as the story began to unfold. Remembering how events had occurred, Jessie began to take herself back to that particular day and where she had found herself -- and Tank.

Death Trap
An Alaska Mystery
. Copyright © by Sue Henry. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sue Henry, whose award-winning Alaska mysteries have received the highest praise from readers and critics alike, has lived in Alaska for almost thirty years, and brings history, Alaskan lore, and the majestic beauty of the vast landscape to her mysteries. Based in Anchorage, she is currently at work on the next book in this series.

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Death Trap (Jessie Arnold Series #10) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Death Trap is another great book by Sue Henry. It doesn't contain her usual amount of suspense, but it still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Her majestic discriptions of the beautiful Alaska scenery are replaced by detailed explanations of the Alaska State Fair. This book is a nice change for established fans. If you like mystery books, I would highly recommend this one, as well as the others in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago