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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.
“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."
"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
Posted December 9, 2008
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
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Posted August 23, 2011
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