Cowboy and his longtime pal Nathan Active head off for the weekend to
scout the site. Only, because Nathan is a family man, he has to bring
his wife Grace, who is expecting, and their adopted daughter Nita. They
refuse to be left out of the adventure. Nathan is Public Safety Director
for the borough, which seems to equal a police officer. The scenery is
majestic, the Arctic char fresh-caught and berries ripe. Downsides are
mosquitoes and bears, of course, plus the ever-present threat of bad
weather. We also learn about investigating a light plane crash and why
evidence of sabotage had been overlooked. A few aspects did puzzle
me, like why there was no permanent record of how much fuel went
into the plane tanks. Someone's got to pay for it, right?
Fans of the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow will be familiar with
the setup, but this male investigator with his little family brings a great
many additional sidelights to life in Alaska, so I find it a welcome
addition. These aspects include tech smarts, veterans of desert wars
coming home to snow, and inevitable domestic violence cases, but we
also see teen hormones, pregnancy care, puppies and respect for
elders. The majority of the story is set around the investigation in the
town of Chukchi, where everyone knows everyone and newcomers have
relationships with locals, but those relationships don't always last.
Given the damage, we see caused by outside influences we can
appreciate the quiet of the dramatic countryside.
THE BIG EMPTY by Stan Jones and
Patricia Watts will absorb the reader in the search for answers, which is
also the search for justice. I'd be keen to read more books in the
Nathan Active series. This book is intended for adults, with some
strong language and adult scenes.
Meanwhile, Nathanâ€™s wife, Gracie, is pregnant, but so
scarred by memories of domestic abuse that she isnâ€™t sure
she should have the baby. Nathan must support her and their
adopted daughter, Nita, while managing an increasingly
complex and dangerous murder case.