The History of Kate Shugak in 22 Objects – 14

Warning: Spoilers spoken here.

HoZ Kate14


Some of you said Jim, but you weren’t working hard enough. Think Max.

“Alaska’s Mounties,” he repeated, “that was us, the territorial police. TPs, they called us. Weren’t that many of us. I remember figuring once that if you divided the square miles of Alaska by the number of state cops we had back then, each of us was responsible for eight thousand eight hundred and eighty-five square miles.”

ATP badge

That would have been Max’s badge, and here’s what his cruiser would have looked like if he hadn’t been a pilot.


The TPs were only around from 1953 to 1959, when Alaska became a state and the TPs became the Alaska State Troopers. Jim Chopin is a direct descendant of Morris “Max” Maxwell, the heir to a long line of men who were the only law most Alaskan residents ever saw and the only representative of any kind of government. It was a wild and hairy time, and those men became the stuff of legends. Joe Rychetnik was one of them and he wrote a book about his time on the job, Bush Cop. Most of Max’s reminiscences are based on Joe’s.

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20 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Well duh. Feeling stupid for not thinking of Max and the T.P’s.
    Unfortunately I’ll probably repeat my stupidity with my selection for this month. I’m going with The Roadhouse, otherwise I’m back to an abundance of characters, not objects, i.e. Louis, Willard, Bernie, The Smiths, the aunties. Arrgh.

  2. I think the Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility. It looms large in Kate’s life on more than one occasion and has an ongoing presence in the books. It is both a solution and a problem for her, depending on admission or release.

  3. Of course Max, why didn’t we all think of that?
    As for this month, it’s blindingly obvious (to me, in my twisty weird little mind)-this month’s object has to be Anakin. Louis clearly played Senator Palpatine in this book, manipulating Willard and molding him like clay. And the Dark Side definitely had a role to play in everyone’s behavior this month, even Johnny’s. This is the demonstration of how far Jim will go to avoid losing Kate’s respect, and the foreshadowing, too, of the lengths Kate will go to to avoid losing Jim’s (bootlegger, anyone?).
    So, original trilogy or prequels?

  4. I agree with Megan. I was already thinking of Anakin Skywalker earlier today while I tried to decide. Williard has him riding around in his pocket. When he falls out, Williard is in a panic and doesn’t notice. When Jim is sitting in his office alone looking at the crime scene pictures and figures out that it is Williard’s Anakin, and not just another kid toy, a horrible weight settles on his shoulders. Does he tell Kate or not and if not, how long can he keep it from her. I feel sorry for Jim and home this doesn’t someday harm his relationship with Kate.

      • Fair enough, and you could make a case for Bernie’s nugget collection, the MacGuffin. The really visceral image for me is of course Bernie on the stairs-cripes, that had me sobbing. But I really see the parallels here to Star Wars in particular, and to the Hero’s Quest paradigm in general.

  5. Perhaps we can paint Anakin with a broader brush and include the issue of FAS, for that is after all, the true villain in the book.

  6. I’m going in a different direction. Kate became the chair of the NNA and had to learn about running a meeting. So what does Jim get her for Christmas? Roberts Rules of Order, the object that plays a large role in what Kate is about to become and a new step forward in her life.

      • I was making notes as I did my Kate re-read. Looks likes I made the Roberts Rules note in the wrong spot. I’ll have to save that one. Thanks

  7. The Winchester .30.06 rifle was the second Object; I’m going with the shotgun for this one. Shotguns are not at all uncommon in Alaska; they are close to ubiquitous in the Bush. Kate has one over her door, along with the .30.06. Dan, like many Park rats, has one in his truck. If shotgun cartridges are picked up — and whoever killed Louis Deem was very careful to remove the single shell — the specific weapon can’t be traced. If there had been evidence to find, Jim would have found it. Wouldn’t he?

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