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Midnight Come Again (Kate Shugak Series #10)

Midnight Come Again (Kate Shugak Series #10)

4.3 41
by Dana Stabenow

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Kate Shugak, a former investigator for the Anchorage D.A. and now a p.i. for hire, is missing after a winter spent in mourning. Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin, Kate's best friend, needs her to help him work a new case. He discovers her hiding out in Bering, a small fishing village on Alaska's western coast, living and working under an assumed name -- working hard,


Kate Shugak, a former investigator for the Anchorage D.A. and now a p.i. for hire, is missing after a winter spent in mourning. Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin, Kate's best friend, needs her to help him work a new case. He discovers her hiding out in Bering, a small fishing village on Alaska's western coast, living and working under an assumed name -- working hard, as 18-hour workdays seem to be her only justification for getting up in the morning. But before they can even discuss Kate's last several months, or what Jim is doing looking for her in Bering, they're up to their eyes in Jim's case, which is suddenly more complicated -- and more dangerous -- than they suspect.

Midnight Come Again is magnificent crime novel about life in America's last wilderness, the heart-wrenching grief that goes with love, and murder.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“One of the strongest voices in crime fiction.” —Seattle Times

“Dana Stabenow's best book.” —Boston Globe

“Every time I think Dana Stabenow has gotten as good as she can get, she comes up with something better.” —Washington Times

The Barnes & Noble Review
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, you could pretty much write your mysteries the way you wanted to without editors laying down a lot of rules beforehand. The quality of the manuscript was what mattered, not the nitwit notions of some marketing moron.

That changed about ten years ago.

That was when you were asked, "What's he do?" To which you replied, "Oh, he's a private eye (if it was hard-boiled); a monsignor (if it was a cozy); or a CIA agent (if it was a thriller)." And that was when you were told, "He's got to do something we can promote, you know, to make the book different."

Now he or she has to have a specialized gig. He's a psychotherapist. He flies an emergency helicopter. He's a transsexual baseball player who knits Nazi flags on his nights off.

This is not the age of hard-boiled or cozy. This is the age of occupation.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Now, I must admit that many good things have come from this obsession with promotable occupations. Because of it, mystery fiction has taken on a realism that had been lacking before. The protagonists today work in the real world and face real world problems. They don't go around beating up stereotype mobsters or dawdling in sunny gardens where the primary color is peachy-keen. Thanks to such fine writers as Carolyn Hart and Nancy Pickard and several others, even cozies have their dark sides today.

The trouble is, despite the realism, the writing isn't sometimes so good, and the people aren't quite what you'd call realistically portrayed. The occupation becomes the primary concern for writer and reader (and marketing genius) alike.

Dana Stabenow has beaten the game. Her Alaska novels take us to a world as unique and thrilling as a science fiction world, her investigations there giving her a unique occupation indeed. And her characters, every one of them including the minor ones, work very well as honestly and sometimes touchingly drawn human beings. And in addition, the books are first-rate mysteries. The plots are equal to the people.

In Midnight Come Again, State Trooper Jim Chopin thinks he's working for the FBI on a case involving Russian smugglers...but in the course of his detective work, he answers an even more momentous mystery...that of where heroine Kate Shugak has been lately. Friends are worried.

She's healing, is what she's up to -- and she's in the vicinity of the smugglers. The healing has to do with her terrible personal loss of a few novels back. She needs to find her center, her purpose again, and Stabenow handles this part of the story with spare grace and no soap operatics.

This just could be Stabenow's best book yet. You have the feeling she pushed herself hard on this one. Her previous novels, good as they were, didn't have the cathartic power of Midnight Come Again, particularly near the finish.

She done good. real good. (Ed Gorman)

Ed Gorman's latest novels include Wake Up Little Susie, Harlot's Moon, and Black River Falls, the latter of which "proves Gorman's mastery of the pure suspense novel," says Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. ABC-TV has optioned the novel as a movie. Gorman is also the editor of Mystery Scene magazine, which Stephen King calls "indispensable" for mystery readers.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kate's tough life took a tragic turn when her long-time lover, Jack Morgan, was killed in last year's Hunter's Moon. In this ninth entry in the award-winning series, a guilty, inconsolable Kate, impulsively leaving her Alaska bush home for a coastal fishing village, goes to work incognito for Baird Air, a cargo airline. At Baird, she soon runs into Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin, a friend who's on an undercover job for the FBI. This is only one of several plot-churning coincidences in an otherwise poignant and gripping novel featuring breathtaking descriptions of natural scenery and incisive depiction of Alaskan natives caught between traditional and modern cultures. The FBI thinks that Russian gangsters are using a fishing vessel to smuggle stolen plutonium to right-wing groups, with Baird Air the likely shipper. Two arrogant "Fibbies" get their comeuppance when Jim and Kate uncover a Russian money-laundering scheme aided by a venal Alaska state senator and a crooked banker. The book has an uneven pace, with the slow first half reflecting Kate's grief; as the investigation speeds up, so does the action. In a heart-stopping climax aboard a hijacked airplane, pilot Jim performs aerial stunts to forestall the Russians pushing Kate out the door. Stabenow's evocation of the Kuskokwim delta and its inhabitants is as artful as her portrayal of the Alaskan bush country. And Kate, finally coming to terms with Jack's death, befriends a determined 10-year-old girl whose intelligence and independence mirror her own. Let's hope she reappears in further Shugak adventures. Author tour. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Kate Shugak, Stabenow's Aleutian p.i., doesn't appear until halfway through her ninth adventure, which begins with an armored car hijacking in St. Petersburg, Russia, and moves to the FBI Russian Mafia Task Force in Washington, D.C., before touching down in Kate's hometown. Kate has vanished from Niniltna without a trace, and State Trooper `Chopper` Jim Chopin must leave for an undercover assignment in Bering without her. Coincidentally, Bering is where Kate has hidden herself, working 12-hour shifts as the one-woman ground crew for transport company Baird Air in order to keep her despair over her lover's murder (Hunter's Moon, 1999) at bay. Bering is also where the FBI, Chopper Jim, and the Russian Mafia play hide-and-seek with stolen plutonium. Enraged over Kate's desertion, and feeling something else he can't quite sort out, Jim gets scrambled still further when someone shoots him in the head. Swallowing her annoyance at Jim's interference, Kate goes to his rescue, touring a Russian fishing vessel and enlisting the help of a friend who gets beaten to death. Kate's wolf/husky Mutt foils one attempt on her life, but even she can't help when Kate and Jim have a showdown with a cargo of criminals at 30,000 feet. An exciting finale, a ten-year-old girl who flies model airplanes, and the return of Kate's fighting spirit make up for a slow start. Stabenow plumbs new depths in the once-shallow Chopper Jim and the violence of Kate's despair.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Kate Shugak Series , #10
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
4.32(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.88(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Niniltna, June 25

"Lots of spirits all over, this year," They whisper.
—A Quick Brush of Wings

They would argue later about when it all began, perhaps with the death in July, or maybe the meeting in Washington, D.C., the month before, or even with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but as far as First Sergeant Jim Chopin was concerned it began that day in late June when he flew his Bell Jet Ranger from the regional post in Tok to the Bush village of Niniltna on the Kanuyaq River, and drove the twenty-five miles of rough gravel road through a green and fecund Park to Kate Shugak's homestead.

    "She's not there," Bobby had said when the trooper asked for the loan of Bobby's pickup.

    His wife, Dinah, a worried look on her face and baby Katya on her hip, added, "We haven't seen her since before Thanksgiving, Jim. She's just vanished."

    "Can I borrow the truck or not?" Jim said.

    "Goddamn it" Bobby roared, "I said she ain't there!" He rolled his chair forward so that he could glare straight up into the trooper's face. "We drove out three weeks ago. The Ford's parked in front of the garage, the snow machine's parked in the garage, and the cabin's empty except for some canned food and a lot of dust. She ain't there, and she ain't been there."

    "Where is she, Jim?" Dinah said. "Have you heard something? Is that why you want to go out there? Billy's really worried. He hasn't seen her since the funeral."

    "She was at the funeral?" Jim said, startled. "I didn't see her."

    "I didn't either," Bobby said, making it sound like an accusation.

    "She was standing in the back," Dinah said. "I only caught a glimpse of her. She left right after, before everybody started telling Jack stories."

    "Goddamn it!" This time the tops of the trees seemed to sway in response to Bobby's roar. His black face was made blacker with rage, made all the more furious by a dark fear no less tangible for remaining unspoken. "I will kill her when we catch up with her, I swear I will kill the bitch!"

    Katya, used to Daddy's decibel level, was so upset she burped, loudly. Dinah, looking at the trooper, said, "Why are you looking for her, Jim? Is it something to do with the case?"

    He shook his head. "No. The suits are fighting for extradition to Germany, but it doesn't look like it's going to fly. Their own country doesn't seem much interested in getting them back. Big surprise."

    He pulled the gimmee cap from his head and ran a hand through a thick pelt of hair. He'd recently abandoned the more formal Mountie-type hat for the baseball-style hat with the trooper insignia above the bill. The Mountie hat, especially the way Chopper Jim wore it, was a first-class babe magnet, which had been its chief attraction to him when he opted for it at the beginning of his service. He had suffered a great deal of joshing at the switch over the last six months. All he would say in response was that wearing the smaller hat made it easier to get in and out of aircraft. The uniform, his size and a look in his eye that dared comment kept people from remarking that in fourteen years of wear his Mountie hat hadn't kept him from flying before, at least to his face.

    They were standing on the porch that ran the width of Bobby's A-frame. From there the ground gradually sloped down to Squaw Candy Creek, the southern border of the one hundred and sixty acres Bobby had homesteaded in the mid-seventies, when he had come back from Vietnam minus both legs from the knee down and decided to abandon his home state of Tennessee for the last frontier of the Alaskan Bush. On the eastern horizon, the blue-white spurs of the Quilak Mountains scored the sky, Angak or Big Bump the biggest spur of all.

    Half an acre of cleared land sprouted leaf lettuce and broccoli and arugula and radishes and cauliflower and carrots and sugar snap peas. Tomato plants had grown to the roof of the greenhouse, so that it looked like a jungle in a box. A garage stood open, revealing a small tractor parked inside, the snow-clearing blade it donned in winter leaning up against one wall. A new green pickup was parked next to it, and the outline of a snow machine could be seen beyond them. The shop was between garage and house, and it too stood open, displaying a U-shaped bench just the right height for someone in a wheelchair. A circular saw, a sander and a router had been built into the bench; from pegboards on the walls hung every imaginable tool, each handle worn smooth from years of use.

    Not for the first time, Jim wondered where Bobby Clark had acquired the money to finance his homestead. Not for the first time, he decided to let it go. "So can I borrow your truck or what?" he said.

    Bobby let loose with a string of imaginative curses that Jim had to admire for their almost Elizabethan flavor, graphic detail and physical impossibility. He waited, maintaining his placid facade with some effort.

    Looking for a fight and not getting one, Bobby growled out one last ripe and frustrated oath and wheeled into the A-frame, reemerging almost immediately with the keys to the truck clutched in one fist. He hurled them at Jim, "Take the goddamn thing!"

    Jim took a quick step back and stretched up a hand, and the keys smacked into his palm like he was catching a fly ball. He caught his balance just before he fell off the edge of the porch and said, "Thanks, Bobby. I'd thought I'd drive out to the Roadhouse after, talk to Bernie. That okay?"

    "I don't care if you drive it into the goddamn river!"

    "I do," Dinah said, "we're almost out of diapers."

    "Again? Jesus god, that kid produces more shit than a herd of moose!"

    Katya gave Daddy a blinding smile and launched herself from her mother's arms into her father's. Dinah gasped and Jim clutched, but Bobby caught the one-man Flying Clark Troupe solidly in both hands and arranged her on his lap, scolding all the while. "Christ, kid, you trying to give your old man a heart attack? Don't try that trick again without a parachute."

    She reached up and punched him in the nose. Bobby, his worry for Kate in temporary abeyance, was still laughing when Jim climbed into the truck and drove off.

    Dinah's last words, delivered in a low voice beneath the ring of her husband's laughter, echoed in his ears. "Find her, Jim. Do whatever you have to do, but find her and bring her home."

The rough gravel road was all that remained of the roadbed of the Kanuyaq River and Northwestern Railroad that had once run from Niniltna to Cordova, hauling copper from the Kanuyaq Copper Mine four miles north of Niniltna. It had been a dry summer so the road was in pretty good shape; Jim was bounced off the roof of Bobby's truck only three times, which had to be some kind of record. He swerved once to avoid a moose cow and two calves, and again to miss a two-year-old grizzly who was looking a little peaked, as if his momma had just kicked him out and he had yet to learn how to forage for himself. He'd learn or die, Jim thought, and stepped on the gas.

    At mile twenty-three he pulled into Mandy and Chick's, the hunting lodge turned sled dog ranch and, since Abel Int-Hout had died, the nearest neighbor to the Shugak homestead. "I haven't seen her since before Christmas," Mandy said. "I went over to invite her for Christmas dinner. She wasn't there."

    "Did it look like she'd been there recently?"

    The musher spread her hands, worried down to the elegant bones of her Boston Brahmin face. "You know what a neatnik she is. It's hard to tell sometimes if anybody's ever lived there."

    Chick put his hands on his roomie's shoulders and squeezed. His eyes met Jim's. He gave a tiny jerk of his head.

    "Yeah, I know what you mean," Jim said, and drained his mug. "Thanks for the coffee, Mandy." He got to his feet and donned his cap. "I better get a move on."


    He paused at the door, looking back over his shoulder.

    Unconsciously repeating Dinah's admonition, Mandy said, "Find her."

    "I will," he said, although they were talking Kate Shugak here. If Kate Shugak wanted to be lost nobody was ever going to find her, and they both knew it.

    Still, Mandy added, "And Jim? When you do, kick her butt for me, good and hard."

    He touched the brim of his hat and gave his first real smile of the day. "My pleasure."

    The sound of the door closing behind him was lost in the howling that ensued when he stepped outside. There were tens and maybe hundreds of dogs chained to tree stumps across a couple of acres of yard, all of them yapping in a cacophony that would have drowned out even Bobby Clark. He threaded a careful path through the pack and walked back up the trail to where the track was parked in the pulloff. He opened the door and sat sideways on the seat, arms folded across his chest, watching a squirrel stuff her face with spruce cone seeds, the individual petals of the cone raining down in a tiny shower of debris, her cheeks pouched out like an overstuffed purse. She was an efficient if messy eater.

    There was a rustle in the branch above, and they both looked up to see a magpie fold his black-and-white wings, the branch bouncing lightly beneath his weight, The squirrel dropped the cone and scampered up the branch to the trunk, up the trunk to a higher branch and leaped to the next tree. The magpie gave a grating squawk, and swaggered down to take the squirrel's place. It was loaded with pinecones bursting with seed, the reason the squirrel had chosen it.

    "Greedy guts," Jim said.

    The magpie paid him no mind. He was an even messier eater than the squirrel.

    A few minutes later Chick came trotting up. "Let's talk quick," he said. "She thinks I'm in the outhouse."

    "You know something?"

    "Just that I saw Kate after Mandy did," Chick said. His face was round as a melon and as brown as a walnut, with dark hair flopping into his narrow brown eyes.

    Kate had hair like that, a thick, shining fall as black as an October night in the Arctic before the first snow. "When did you see her?"

    "The second of January. Yon know Kate lets us run teams across her property?" Jim nodded. "So I was on a training run and I dropped in. What with everything that happened last year, we've been keeping a closer eye on her than usual. You know." Jim nodded again. "Well, she was there."

    "Was she packing to go somewhere?"

    "I don't think so." Chick paused.

    "What? Tell me, Chick."

    "She didn't invite me in," Chick said. He didn't like saying it, didn't like acknowledging the fact that Kate Shugak was in such bad shape she couldn't even keep to the rule of Bush hospitality, especially in January.

    Jim took his hat off and studied the trooper insignia with care. "Chick, were you sober by the time she moved back from Anchorage? After she killed that baby raper and quit the D.A.'s office?"

    Chick frowned, unoffended by the reference to his chronic alcoholism. What was, was. "Yeah."

    "You remember what she was like then?"

    Chick did, and he didn't like it. The frown deepened. "Yeah."

    "Was she better or worse than that this January?"

    Chick thought. "Worse," he said finally. Their eyes met. "A lot worse. That's why I didn't tell Mandy I'd stopped by." His shoulders gave an uneasy shrug, as if trying to wriggle out from under something, and failing. "You know how it is when Kate walks into a room, Jim. Snap, crackle, pop, sometimes you've got to duck, the sparks are so big and so fast. She's alive, you know?"

    "And she's not, now?"

    The shoulders hunched, against the blow of Chick's own words. "No snap, no crackle, no pop, no sparks at all. She's pulled the plug, Jim." He rubbed his hands down his thighs, as if the friction might warm them, and shoved them into his jeans. "She's not even angry, you know? Kate's always pissed off about something. Not now." He paused, thinking over his words. "She doesn't care enough to be angry."

    They stood in silence for a moment. Jim moved first, pulling his hat back on and squaring it away. "Thanks, Chick."


    He paused, door open, and looked over his shoulder. "Yeah?"

    Chick Nayokpuk, more popularly know by his world-class dog-team driver sobriquet, the Billiken Bullet, was a rotund little man with a rotund little personality to match, but today his round smiling face had hardened into something approaching severity. "We gonna get 'em?"

    "We already got 'em, Chick. They aren't going anywhere."

    "Trial still on for September?"

    "September 23."

    "Good" Chick said. "First time I been sorry we don't have the death penalty."

    "You're not the first person to have said that."

    Chick nodded, face still set in severe lines. "Good to know." He met Jim's eyes. "Too bad you can't just turn 'em loose in the Park."

    Jim smiled, this time a thinning of his lips with no humor to it. "Really too bad." He raised his hand in a semi-salute. "Take care, Chick."

    "Find her, Jim," Chick replied. "Find her, okay?"

    Jim nodded and drove off, Chick staring after him in the rearview mirror until hidden by the curve of the road.

Excerpted from MIDNIGHT COME AGAIN by DANA STABENOW. Copyright © 2000 by Dana Stabenow. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Meet the Author

Dana Stabenow is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Shugak mysteries and the Liam Campbell mysteries, as well as a few science fiction and thriller novels. Her book A Cold Day for Murder won an Edgar Award in 1994. Stabenow was born in Anchorage, Alaska and raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She has a B.A. in journalism and an M.F.A. in writing from the University of Alaska. She has worked as an egg counter and bookkeeper for a seafood company, and worked on the TransAlaska pipeline before becoming a full-time writer. She continues to live in Alaska.

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Midnight Come Again (Kate Shugak Series #10) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this, the tenth Kate Shugak book, Kate has disappeared following the loss of her sweetheart. Trooper Jim Chopin is looking for her and all of her friends beg him, ¿Find Her.¿ Jim gets sent, undercover, to the town of Bering to help the FBI find suspected Russian smugglers and...there are Kate and Mutt. She is depressed, but events slowly bring her back. As usual, Stabenow brings us a more rounded and human Jim and a good description of the flat, watery area of Bering with its fishing boats and processors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another excellent novel and interesting to find Jim Chopin become more human. He brings Kate back to life after her grieving for her dead lover. I agree with another commenter that more sex scenes take away from the great mystery and intrigue that are Stabelow's "right on fast-paced"novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series, although the further I get the more sex which I can do without. In the first books there was maybe one which is good enough. The stories and mysteries are awesome. Q
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good, but I miss jack.
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merwin More than 1 year ago
My first thought was, I like Kate stories better "in the Park" but this book had me by Chapter Two. I really got into her new persona and enjoyed the plot. I couldn't wait for my designated reading time each evening to see what happened next and meet new interesting characters. I hope we meet up again with the 12 year old genius little girl with the "spy" plane she designed and built. Emaa is still a funny, lovable, powerful spirit long after she is no longer around. I guess the biggest eye opener for me was the effect of lifting the Soviet Iron Curtain after the Cold War and how it has changed Alaska forever and left our northern US border open and vulnerable much like our US southern US border.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great book and great writer to love her kate shugak series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kate Shugak is one of the best. The other characters are interesting, the setting is amazing and the story is fast-paced. I strongly recommend this book and the whole Kate Shugak series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one one of the best. It grabs your attention early and hold it throughout the entire book. The ending leaves you ready to read the next book in the series. Can' wait!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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iPodReader More than 1 year ago
When Kate lost her lover and best friend Jack, just as they were both beginning to acknowledge the true depths of their relationship, I mourned with her and could not imagine how she would ever get over this loss. Kate has had a difficult life and overcome a great many obstacles-- but could she be resilient enough to recover from this terrible blow? The process begins in this Book 10 in the series and we see glimmers of the old Kate and her feisty ways. Her friend Jim Chopin plays a part-- both wittingly and unwittingly-- and finds himself in a surprising personal struggle of his own. Once again, kudos to Dana Stabenow. I highly recommend this series.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Love the entire series
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junonia-shell More than 1 year ago
Was wondering how Kate was going to recover from the events of Hunter's Moon. Good job Dana Stabenow!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago