Less than a Treason by Dana Stabenow

Less than a Treason

Kate Shugak is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska. She's 5'1" tall, carrires a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat, and owns a half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt. Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine—and she needs to be, to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her. And throw their...

Title:Less than a Treason
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1786695693
Number of Pages:320 pages

Less than a Treason Reviews

  • Skip

    This was a must read to find out what happened to Kate and Mutt, who were shot at the end of the last book. Kate walking out of the ICU a day after regaining consciousness is as improbable as Jack Bauer's miraculous recoveries in the TV series,

    . The first 60 pages were otherwise torture, filled with tertiary and uninteresting characters. The basic plot was a typical one, with murder to hide goings-on in the Park. The now retired Jim is working actively on the next chapter in his life, and unc

    This was a must read to find out what happened to Kate and Mutt, who were shot at the end of the last book. Kate walking out of the ICU a day after regaining consciousness is as improbable as Jack Bauer's miraculous recoveries in the TV series,

    . The first 60 pages were otherwise torture, filled with tertiary and uninteresting characters. The basic plot was a typical one, with murder to hide goings-on in the Park. The now retired Jim is working actively on the next chapter in his life, and uncertain about his relationship with Kate, who is avoiding him back in Anchorage working on the case. The ending was improbable.

  • Amanda

    Wow, so I blew through this one in less than 24 hours, and thats a mean feat in my house. Had forgotten how horribly Dana had left us hanging off that cliff at the end of

    , so I had to grab all my ereaders to find the last book, which was an unbearingly long search. Then read through the last few chapters to then hit the ground running with Less Than a Treason. Wow, what a ride again! I had missed my favorite characters, it was nice to catch up with them again.

    Wow, so I blew through this one in less than 24 hours, and thats a mean feat in my house. Had forgotten how horribly Dana had left us hanging off that cliff at the end of

    , so I had to grab all my ereaders to find the last book, which was an unbearingly long search. Then read through the last few chapters to then hit the ground running with Less Than a Treason. Wow, what a ride again! I had missed my favorite characters, it was nice to catch up with them again.

    I was, however, a bit disappointed with this installment. First of all, the book started with quite a few instances of new/internet speak which I found jarring to read in a book. From some authors, in some formats, I could accept it more readily, but here it didn't fit for me. I think Dana is a great author and was bummed that she felt she had to use this to express meaning, however, this is how we nowadays express ourselves so I am a bit torn about it. Second of all the book seemed a bit flat in retrospect, a bit uninspired. This leads me to my third and final disappointment, I am fairly convinced this is the last Kate Shugak novel. Apparently Dana had left the last book at a cliffhanger to ensure she would actually write the 21st book, but seeing how long it took her, the quality of the book and how well things are wrapped up at the end, well, this seems like the end. That bums me out.

    So this book gets 4.5 stars from me that I definitely will round up to 5. I love this series, the settings, the characters, the story telling, I just devoured this installment and now, a few days later, I can still look back fondly on it. I shall miss Kate, but in the meantime I am gathering all the books on paper so that Kate will always be on my shelf, ready for a reread (and hopefully Head of Zeus will print up a new batch of a few so I can get them all in matching covers/sizes please?!)!

  • Diane S ☔

    4.25. One of my top five series, and it has been too long wait for this installment. This series has the sole dubious honor of being the only mystery series to bring me to tears, in a previous outing, due to a plot point that I was heartbroken over. Will admit to tearing up near the end of this one as well, though this time due to happiness. Love the way these books are put together, they just seem to flow seamlessly. Winning combination of the setting, Alaska, such fantastic descriptions of the

    4.25. One of my top five series, and it has been too long wait for this installment. This series has the sole dubious honor of being the only mystery series to bring me to tears, in a previous outing, due to a plot point that I was heartbroken over. Will admit to tearing up near the end of this one as well, though this time due to happiness. Love the way these books are put together, they just seem to flow seamlessly. Winning combination of the setting, Alaska, such fantastic descriptions of the Park. Almost, and I stress almost, makes me want to live there.

    Kate Shugak is such a great character, tough but vulnerable, private investigator, finds herself in danger often, but seems to plow ahead fearlessly. Unless it concerns her personal life, there past sorrows can make her afraid. The aunties, the women elders of the Park, use few words but manage to get their point across. Others as well, unique characters as they would have to be to live in this harsh environment. The stories, and there always seem to be more than one, often tie together in surprising ways. Not edge of your seat action, but I have come to care for these people and this place.

    Solid writing and a winning combination of setting, mystery and characters.

  • Linda

    Four years. Four. Years.

    It's been a very long wait after the cliffhanger in the last book which left the impression that Kate and Mutt were dead or dying. While I'm grateful to see Kate (and the series?) resurrected, I found this book to be a mixture of frustrating, infuriating, and satisfying.

    Yes, Kate lives. This is no secret. But what happens after that made me grit my teeth in anger for a good portion of the book.

    Four years. Four. Years.

    It's been a very long wait after the cliffhanger in the last book which left the impression that Kate and Mutt were dead or dying. While I'm grateful to see Kate (and the series?) resurrected, I found this book to be a mixture of frustrating, infuriating, and satisfying.

    Yes, Kate lives. This is no secret. But what happens after that made me grit my teeth in anger for a good portion of the book.

    The mystery was decent and kept Kate, and to a lesser extent Jim, busy for much of the book. We had a chance to revisit some key characters, always a fun thing, and watched Kate and Jim reunite, an even more fun thing. Stabenow doesn't reveal Mutt's fate until nearly the end, so readers must remain patient.

    As for patience...I had none when Stabenow occasionally dove into the political, including having Jim thinking that Baby Boomers ought to die off quickly for the sake of the country. (Sigh) I have no idea what was behind the four year gap between books, personal vs. publisher issues, but I wondered if Kate's FU attitude and actions were an echo of Stabenow's own: love and accept me for who I am and whatever I'm willing to give you or shove off.

    Well, I do love this series and hope it will continue. But, unlike Jim, my patience is finite.

  • Susan

    I'm glad that Kate is back. I have read all of the books and have enjoyed them immensely. The book does have a few issues though. While I have always appreciated that Stabenow has avoided becoming one of those writers that seems to think that each book has to be longer than the last book, this one desperately needed fleshing out. Plus the ending is just too improbable to be good. Another problem is that Stabenow has made Kate into more of a mythical cartoon figure, rather than a living, breathin

    I'm glad that Kate is back. I have read all of the books and have enjoyed them immensely. The book does have a few issues though. While I have always appreciated that Stabenow has avoided becoming one of those writers that seems to think that each book has to be longer than the last book, this one desperately needed fleshing out. Plus the ending is just too improbable to be good. Another problem is that Stabenow has made Kate into more of a mythical cartoon figure, rather than a living, breathing soul. I have never liked the ridiculous descriptions of Kate wowing men. It was silly when the character was 30, and embarrassingly bad writing now that the character is 40. Plus she has already written variations of that same scene over and over again. It has never worked.

    Stabenow also was unable to stifle herself from making commentary on the 2016 election. The problem with that is that I just do not care how she feels about Trump and Hilary, just like I do not care how any other writer, singer, or actor feels about politics. In this case it did not fit in the story at all. She simply shoehorned it in the book and it is just plain awkward. Further I find it difficult to reconcile her rant with her main character, who is the epitome of self reliance.

    I actually purchased the book, as I have all of her books and I did pay full price for it. As I said I love these books and I like this one. My main problem with it is that the plot needed more attention. Stabenow needs to focus on telling a credible story and quit the ridiculous vamp routines and political rants. Both Kate and this book deserved much better.

  • The North Wall

    I enjoyed this step back into the Park with Kate and the usual rag tag gang of aunties, mates, ne'er do wells, and well, Jim, but it was something of a let down, not to mention a missed opportunity given the cliffhanger that Stabenow had left herself - and her readers - with. As a paramedic, it also made me want to tear my hair out with the medical shenanigans in the first chapter because, no. A world of no. Just don't do that. Please.

    I enjoyed this step back into the Park with Kate and the usual rag tag gang of aunties, mates, ne'er do wells, and well, Jim, but it was something of a let down, not to mention a missed opportunity given the cliffhanger that Stabenow had left herself - and her readers - with. As a paramedic, it also made me want to tear my hair out with the medical shenanigans in the first chapter because, no. A world of no. Just don't do that. Please.

    All that aside, the book is an entertaining enough mix of dead bodies, mine-related mystery, and the tying up of some series loose ends. If this was - as others have mentioned - a possible conclusion to the entire saga, then it was a satisfactory way to go out. Bearing that in mind, I've not been mean and lopped off a star for all that crap I've hidden in the spoiler tag.

  • Mel

    This is one of those series that I buy/preorder without much thought: "new Kate Shugak coming?" ::Clicks preorder::

    I'll admit I don't understand Kate or relate to her that much (we never had much in common except a love of books and a few shared authors, oh and generally wanting to be left alone), but I

    her (& thank her for some great book recs), and have enjoyed this series for a long time - my early paperbacks are in tatters! This time, Kate made several pop-cultural references that

    This is one of those series that I buy/preorder without much thought: "new Kate Shugak coming?" ::Clicks preorder::

    I'll admit I don't understand Kate or relate to her that much (we never had much in common except a love of books and a few shared authors, oh and generally wanting to be left alone), but I

    her (& thank her for some great book recs), and have enjoyed this series for a long time - my early paperbacks are in tatters! This time, Kate made several pop-cultural references that a) I got, and b) made me smile and I almost felt like we could hang out and watch some Buffy.

    I won't dig too deep into the plot. It's too easy to spoil. There are appearances by old friends and old enemies (natch), a few ends tied up and more unraveled, hinting at a #22, which I'll welcome and buy sight-unseen. The end of the previous book -

    - ended on a cliffhanger, with Kate and Mutt shot and left for dead (or did I get a bad copy?). It's not a spoiler to say that Kate survived (duh), but she was hurt/damaged in many ways and took off - in her typical fashion - to heal on her own terms, alone. But, as things happen (to Kate), people stroll through her remote hiding place and someone finds (falls on) a body. She's out of food anyway, so it's back to the Park and a new mystery.

    I believe the title is taken from

    , the Robert Frost poem (Google it, like I did). Here's the stanza:

    Ah, when to the heart of man

    Was it ever less than a treason

    To go with the drift of things,

    To yield with a grace to reason,

    And bow and accept the end

    Of a love or a season?

    One of the things I don't get about Kate is her willingness to just walk away from everyone and everything. I get it to some extent, but for people that have hurt me or someone I loved. I'm okay never seeing them again. I can't imagine - and this is the point of my early comment about not understanding her - is how much pain she's willing to put people through. BUT, having said that, in this universe, with these people? They do get it. Everyone, including Jim, knew where she was. Her runaway times are getting shorter and her locations are easier to predict.

    The timing of the series is similar to Comic Book Time - the settings are always present-day, with current tech, but the characters haven't aged the 25 years since

    was published (Kate is 39 in this book), maybe 10 years have passed. Everyone has cell phones, the Park has better coverage than I do (I can't get calls in my house) and there are apps for everything.

    Finally, since little things delight me: the hardback version (this edition) has a bound-in ribbon bookmark. Totally made my day when I saw that (little things). My dust jacket is pristine because I wasn't forced to use the flaps to mark my spot. Bonus!

  • Jean

    When we last saw Kate Shugak, she and her beloved Mutt, a wolf-huskie mix, had both been critically wounded by gunfire. Sergeant “Chopper” Jim Chopin shot and killed the gunman. Kate was rushed to the hospital. What became of Mutt? That remains a mystery for most of the book.

    op

    When we last saw Kate Shugak, she and her beloved Mutt, a wolf-huskie mix, had both been critically wounded by gunfire. Sergeant “Chopper” Jim Chopin shot and killed the gunman. Kate was rushed to the hospital. What became of Mutt? That remains a mystery for most of the book.

    opens about where

    left off, except that the author doesn’t do much to remind us of what has happened to Kate. Eventually, she gives us bits and pieces, but I felt quite confused and discombobulated for the first several chapters. It’s been four years between books, and it was hard to just pick up the names and places again. Things just felt out of kilter. Maybe that was on purpose? After all, Kate disappeared to heal. She builds a cabin in a remote area of the Park and lives a solitary life for four months. Once she reappears, friends, family, and acquaintances echo the same refrain, “I heard you were dead.” Kate being Kate, she offers no explanation, no apology. It seems none was expected.

    A petite 40-something-year-old Inuit woman, she has had a close brush with death before. That doesn’t stop her from doing what she does, which is investigate crimes as a PI. She has always been an independent, strong woman. While Kate has been gone, her live-in love interest, Jim, has quit his job and busied himself building an airstrip and hangar. Once Kate comes down from her self-imposed exile, everyone wonders when the two will hook up again.

    In the meantime, Kate has a case land in her lap. While still at her cabin, a woman who is part of an orienteering group trips over human remains. Then she's hired to find a missing geologist. The next day...well, things get complicated. Kate uses her connections to dig into the background of all the parties. There are no real surprises, just solid detective work of finding the pieces to the puzzle and putting them together in a way that makes sense. Is there greed, danger, death, romance, sex? Yes, of course. Since this is Kate Shugak ‘s world and it

    Alaska, we also get lots of colorful characters like the aunties, Bobby, and all the folks at the bar, along with images of the northern wilderness.

    Because I have read and loved this series for so long, I really, really wanted to love this book. However, the beginning was quite frustrating to read. Despite the fact that the story did come together and hold some of the flavor of the older books, it lacked the cohesiveness that I expected. I felt a certain disconnect with the characters, and that was disappointing. In the end, I did enjoy the story; it simply was not as wonderful as most of the previous books in the series.

    3.5 stars


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