Blood Will Tell

Blood Will Tell cover

Also, in print from Amazon: ISBN 0-425-15798-9

At the insistence of her grandmother, Kate Shugak reluctantly leaves the serenity of her Bush homestead for the wilds of downtown Anchorage, there to attend the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention and discover, if she can before somebody kills her, the true circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of one of their Native association board members.

There are so many things I love about this book. I love the whole moose scene, especially when Kate nearly loses her jeans in front of Ekaterina. I lovelovelove the Nordstrom scene, and that Mutt doesn’t recognize her afterward. I love Kate’s speech at the convention, a tub-thumping, bell-ringer of a rabble rouser.

But my heart truly belongs to Calm Water’s Daughter and The Woman Who Keeps the Tides. Those Greeks are all alike, party party party.

About the Dedication

for Katherine Quijance Grosdidier
we are family

Kathy doing two of her favorite things, fishing, and being a mom.

Kath and I grew up together in Seldovia. She is my oldest and dearest friend. Back in the early days of my career, when came one rejection too many, Kath took me down the road to the Double Musky, poured half a bottle of Gran Marnier in me and on the way home we stopped off at the Indian Creek campground and had a sacrificial bonfire of all my rejection letters and rejected manuscripts. Must have worked, because almost immediately thereafter I was accepted at Hedgebrook Farm, and five months after I got home from Hedgebrook I sold my first book.

I always said if I had a daughter I’d name her Katherine Joan, for Kath and my mother. Ekaterina is Russian for Katherine, and Ivana is Russian for Joan.


Due to circumstances beyond her control, Kate is forced to go shopping at Nordstrom’s…

Kate definitely bristled, and Jack was delivered from instant and total annihilation only by the approach of a sales clerk, female, lots of teeth, all on display, lots of blonde hair, ditto, lots of height, wearing a pin-striped suit over a cream silk shirt with a gold bar pin at the collar and discreet gold studs in her earlobes. “Are we finding everything all right?” She smiled kindly upon Kate.

It wasn’t the “we,” it wasn’t even the kindly smile. Kate disliked being towered over by anyone, and in that moment she discovered that she especially disliked being towered over by blondes who looked like they would fit nicely into anything tailormade for Marilyn Monroe. Unaccountably, Jack did not appear to share in this dislike, and greeted the salesclerk with an expression that was barely half a drool away from outright salivation. “We were looking for some clothes for the lady,” he said.

The sales clerk glanced at Kate for a nanosecond before zeroing back in on Jack. “What kind of clothes?”

He told her, in detail and at length, gazing with adoration into the big, blue eyes and hanging on every word spoken in the soft, breathy voice. With a disbelief rapidly succeeded by increasing disgust, Kate decided that if Jack had had a tail, it would have been wagging hard enough to power a electric generator. Her chin, firm to begin with, became more in evidence. Jack broke off his conversation with his new best friend to say smoothly, “Alana, may I introduce Kate Shugak.”

In lieu of Mutt, Kate bared her teeth. “Alana.”

Alana smiled in a way that lifted the beauty mark on her upper lip several millimeters and Jack’s temperature several more degrees, and said, just as smoothly, as if she and Jack had been rehearsing the first entrance of Ekaterina Ivana Shugak into the hallowed halls of this northern shopping Mecca for the past year, “Jack–” So it was Jack already, was it? “–Jack tells me you’re looking for some evening clothes.” Her eyes ran down Kate’s body, and with what must have been either monumental natural restraint or excellent and intensive training did not faint at the sight of well-worn blue jeans and white T-shirt, accessorized by a Nike windbreaker and matching Nike sneakers. The scar on Kate’s throat was observed, considered for a moment in context with available collar styles, and dismissed. “How tall are you, Kate?”

“Five feet one,” Kate lied.

“And what is your favorite color?”

Kate looked Alana–what kind of a name was that for a grown woman, anyway?–Kate looked Alana straight in the eye and said firmly, “Khaki.”

Nordstrom’s didn’t hire its employees off the back of a turnip truck. The smile didn’t waver. The immaculately coiffed head even gave an approving nod. “A good, solid neutral that goes with everything.” The breathy but perfectly modulated voice dropped to a confidential murmur. “May I ask, have you had your palette done?”

Whereupon Jack Morgan had the rare and glorious experience of seeing Kate Shugak totally at sea. “My what?”

“Your palette,” Alana said, irritatingly patient. “Your colors. Are you winter, summer, spring, or fall? Khaki is a good color for you, yes, I can see it setting off your skin and hair, but I think a warm peach, or even a red, yes, a red might just bring out even more highlights. In fact, there’s a little dress on this rack–”

“I don’t wear dresses,” Kate stated.

One impeccably penciled eyebrow raised ever so slightly. “Tuxedo pants it is then,” Alana said with missing a beat. “This way.” She wove her way through the racks and around a shopper scrutinizing the inside seam of something covered in gold sequins that Kate tried not to look at too closely.

“Here we are.” Alana held the pants up for inspection. They were made of a heavy, dull black silk, with a thin strip of a lighter weight, shinier silk running down the outside seams. Kate took the hanger. The best that could be said was that they had pockets and a front fly. She held them up to her waist, and didn’t even try to keep the triumph out of her voice when she observed, “I’m terribly sorry, but these seem to be about six inches too long.”

“We can hem them for you,” Alana said.

This time the triumph reached Kate’s eyes. “I need them by seven o’clock tonight,” she said gently.

Alana took the hanger from her and replied, “We’ll have them ready by five.”

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