Warning: Spoilers spoken here.
And a contest! With prizes!*
Upon returning home from New York City in 1994, clutching A Cold Day for Murder‘s Edgar in a sweaty fist, almost the very first thing to appear in my mailbox was a letter from Tony Hillerman, requesting a short story for the collection he was editing, The Mysterious West (now included in my s/s anthology here). So I wrote “Nooses Give,” whose events occur before Kate1, and whose characters inspired the skeleton plot from which I fleshed out this rewrite of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It brought the Kate Shugak series full circle back to where it began, at least chronologically, with the bootlegger who started it all. It seemed appropriate for the twentieth book, something of a landmark in a crime fiction series, or it was for me.
Booze is the worm in Alaska’s apple and it’s one of the threads that runs throughout this series. It is, alas, very much based in fact. You can buy a bottle of R&R in Anchorage for $10 today and sell it for $300 in the Bush tomorrow.
Booze (and pop, too, another sugar-based liquid that will rot out your teeth and your liver) makes up a significant amount of the freight shipped into the Bush.
Kate’s not kidding when she says she would wish away every last drop of alcohol in Alaska if she could. Penny wrote, “Alcohol took Kate’s mother away from her and left her orphaned when she was only a small child. She sees it destroying the lives of her fellow park rats every day.”
Update on 3/16/23: Obviously, this book and this post were written before the opioid epidemic, which is exacerbating health issues in Alaska the same way it is everywhere else in the United States.
*A contest! With prizes!
How you win…
March 22: Go to stabenow.com and make a case for the Kate22 object of your choice in the comments section at the bottom of the post. Winners will be chosen on the strength of their argument. You have a week so make it good!
March 29: The winners will be announced in a post on stabenow.com. I will contact each winner for their snailmail address and have the prizes in the mail that day.
March 31: The winners will be announced again in March’s Roadhouse Report.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.