The Woman Who Married a Bear (Cecil Younger Series #1) [NOOK Book]


“Highly refreshing setting, a great cast of characters and an intriguing plot.”—The Bloomsbury Review

“Atmospheric.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Flashes of the ...
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The Woman Who Married a Bear (Cecil Younger Series #1)

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“Highly refreshing setting, a great cast of characters and an intriguing plot.”—The Bloomsbury Review

“Atmospheric.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Flashes of the dark poetry of Ross MacDonald.”—Chicago Tribune

“A rich stew of deception and menace.”—Anchorage Daily News

“Outstanding . . . satisfies on all levels.”—The Kansas City Star

Sitka, Alaska, is a subarctic port surrounded by snow-dusted mountains. In addition to honest work, there is a lot of alcohol consumed and other people’s money appropriated. Bars are loud, fights are mean. Rowdy youths party in the ancient Russian cemeteries, sitting on overturned gravestones. Sitka is hardly straight-laced, but murder is uncommon enough to be widely noted—like the Indian big-game guide killed by an ex-miner obeying voices from the earth’s center. The victim’s mother, a Tlingit Indian, summons to her nursing home a local investigator named Cecil Younger. The case is old and ostensibly solved. She wants him to investigate anyway. What he unearths is a virtual fairytale contrived to hide a primal conspiracy.

Set against the modern Alaskan frontier and the surviving pantheism of its indigenous population, The Woman Who Married a Bear is a brooding and exotic novel that touches on mysteries far beyond the conventional.

John Straley, a criminal investigator for the state of Alaska, lives in Sitka with his son and wife, a marine biologist who studies whales. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Curious Eat Themselves and The Music of What Happens.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

State politics, family feuds, and Native American mythology all figure in the murder of Louis Victor, prominent Alaskan businessman and big-game hunter. But only a hard-drinking private eye named Cecil Younger can solve the crime and lay old ghosts to rest in this atmospheric and engrossing novel set in the Alaskan frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A compelling narrator/protagonist and colorful local details propel this commanding mystery, the first of a projected series set in Alaska. Cecil Younger is a bundle of paradoxes: a hard-drinking private eye in Sitka, he writes haiku and lives with the guilt of career failure and the pain born when he wife walked out on him. Younger needs a good case to get his mind off his troubles, and it comes when an old Tlingit woman hires him to find out why her son, big-game guide Louis Victor, was shot to death. She does not believe the mentally unbalanced man convicted of the crime was responsible. Younger takes on the closed case mainly to placate the grieving mother, but after he is the target of potshots, he comes to believe there is a deeper story than the facts suggest. Throwing himself into the case, he travels from Sitka to Juneau to Anchorage to track down and question the victim's wife, grown children, friends and fellow guides. Sustaining the suspense from start to satisfying, unexpected finish, first novelist Straley, a criminal investigator for Alaska's Public Defender Agency, since suspense is sustained thru plot, seems awk to mention them separately has written a book whose unique, fully fleshed-out characters readers will be eager to see again. (May)
Library Journal
Cecil Younger, a private investigator of sorts in Sitka, Alaska, has many enemies besides the alcohol he so assiduously consumes. One of them tries to kill him when he asks questions about the murder of an Indian--even though the convicted killer sits in prison. Cecil's quest connects him with a cross-section of frontier inhabitants: Indians, Eskimos, hunters, drunkards, even an estranged lover. Straley's evocative prose conjures up both natural wonder and human tawdriness without slackening the insistent suspense. A promising debut.
From the Publisher
Praise for John Straley

“Lesser writers look to their characters’ poor choices and attempts to rectify them, John Straley loves his characters for just those choices.  Hölderlin wrote: 'Poetically man dwells on the earth.' Some of us wind up in limericks, some in heroic couplets. But damned near every one of us, sooner or later, ends up in one of Straley’s wise, wayward, wonderfully unhinged novels.”
James Sallis, author of Drive and the Lew Griffin mysteries

“Like the Coen brothers on literary speed, John Straley is among the very best stylists of his generation.”
Ken Bruen, Shamus Award winning author of The Guard

"Chandler, Ross Macdonald, James Crumley... Straley proves once again that he is up there with the great ones… His prose is as smooth as a well-tuned cello. He has tremendous feeling for the setting: not only the open waters and frosted countryside outside of Sitka and Juneau, but also the somewhat seedy streets of these cities."
Chicago Tribune

"Superior thriller writing, once again by Straley—an excellent plot against Alaska's gigantic and bizarre backdrop."
—Janwillem van de Wetering

"Now and then a writer dares to flout the rules and in so doing, carves out a niche that belongs to him alone. John Straley's novels are like no others."
San Diego Tribune

"Like James Lee Burke, Straley transcends the genre.... Marvelous."
The Tampa Tribune and Times

"Straley's beautifully understated narrative, vivid sense of place and unapologetic, unadorned characters make this a riveting, unpredictable ride."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Outstanding.... satisfies on all levels."
The Kansas City Star

"Strong and sobering... with his storyteller's sense of dramatic action [Straley's] in his glory."
The New York Times Book Review

"Straley hits all the right notes"
Booklist, Starred Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569479315
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Series: Cecil Younger Series , #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 226
  • Sales rank: 96,765
  • File size: 576 KB

Meet the Author

The youngest of five children, John Straley was born in 1953. He received a BA in English and a certificate of completion in Horse Shoeing. He has brown eyes and likes jokes and a wide variety of literature and music. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Curious Eat Themselves and The Woman Who Married a Bear and was appointed the Writer Laureate of Alaska in 2006. John Straley lives with his wife, Jan, a prominent whale biologist, in a bright green house on the beach in Sitka, Alaska, where he works as a criminal defense investigator by day and sleeps, writes, and plays with his band, The Big Fat Babies, whenever he can.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    terrific Alaskan private investigative tale

    In Sitka hard boiled drinker Cecil Younger sits outside the Alaskan state run Pioneer Home for the elderly without any money and no idea what happened to his credit card. He cannot afford the ferry to leave town and wonders what cure to try next to battle alcoholism as only Haiku writing so far has helped a little. Cecil blames or thanks his drinking problem depending on how many he already has on his wife deserting him. --- When his potential client Mrs. Victor finishes her breakfast Cecil enters the facility to talk with her. The elderly Tlingit woman hires Cecil to learn the whole truth why someone killed her son Louis, a big-game guide she rejects the official position that a crazy man convicted of the murder committed the crime. Needing to escape his troubles and knowing the irony of taking on The Brown Bear Man Case, Cecil agrees to investigate to help the grieving mom get some closure though he expects to find nothing different until someone tries to shoot him. Cecil travels to Juneau and Anchorage to talk with family members and hunting guides not realizing that opening up this solved case could lead to a second murder, his. --- THE WOMAN WHO MARRIED A BEAR is a terrific Alaskan private investigative tale that grips the audience on several fronts. Readers will appreciate the fallen hero struggling to regain some of his self esteem, but not always succeeding. Cecil¿s inquiries are electrifying as the suspense mounts with every new person he questions and his tour of Alaska enhances the excitement. Readers will welcome John Straley as a super addition to the forty-ninth state mystery pantheon. --- Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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