A Night Too Dark is New York Times bestselling writer Dana Stabenow's latest, the seventeenth in a series chronicling life, death, love, tragedy, mischief, controversy, nature, and survival in Alaska, America's last real frontier.
In Alaska, people disappear every day. In Aleut detective Kate Shugak's Park, they've been disappearing a lot lately. Hikers head into the wilderness unprepared and get lost. Miners quit without notice at the busy Suulutaq Mine. Suicides leave farewell notes and vanish.
Not only are Park rats disappearing at an alarming rate, but so is life in the Park as Kate knows it. Alaska state trooper Jim Chopin's workload has increased to where he doesn't make it home three nights out of four, the controversial mine has seduced Johnny and his classmates with summer jobs and divided the Niniltna Native Association--the aunties are to a woman selling out--and a hostile environmental activist organization has embraced the Suulutaq Mine as their reason for being.
It's almost a relief when Kate finds a body. This she can handle.
Until the identity of the body vanishes, too.
In this latest Kate Shugak novel, the smart, sexy PI, her wolf/husky hybrid Mutt, and Chopper Jim are only just beginning to realize the fallout from the discovery of the world's second-largest gold mine in their backyard. "Mine change everything," Auntie Vi said in Whisper to the Blood (the previous book in the series and the first to hit the New York Times bestseller list).
And it's only just beginning.
Bestseller Stabenow deftly explores the environmental and economic impact of gold mining in her sizzling 17th novel to feature Alaska PI Kate Shugak (after 2009's Whisper to the Blood). Global Harvest Resources is intent on opening the Suulutaq Mine, where substantial deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum have been found on state leases in the middle of the Iqaluk Wildlife Refuge, 50 miles from Niniltna. When Kate, chair of the board of directors of the Niniltna Native Association, and state trooper Jim Chopin find bear-eaten human remains near the truck of Global Harvest roustabout Dewayne A. Gammons, they assume the remains are Gammons's. After all, there was a suicide note in Gammons's truck. Weeks later, a wounded and nearly catatonic Gammons emerges from the woods near Kate's homestead. More puzzles--and murder--follow. An uneasy resolution to the crimes suggests further drama ahead for Kate and her fellow Park rats. Author tour. (Feb.)
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February 15, 2010
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Excerpt from A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow
Number 79 on the periodic table, Au. From the Latin, aurum.
The most precious and prized of metals, used for currency beginning with the Egyptian pharaohs in 2,700 B.C. and down through the ages by all nations as the metal of choice in the manufacture of those coins of highest value, like the aureus, the solidus, the ducat, the guilder, the sovereign, the double eagle, the Krugerrand. A malleable and forgiving metal, an ounce of pure gold can be beaten into a sheet large enough to gild the roof of a small home, although it is denser than lead. It doesn't corrode, which makes it perfect for jewelry, although in its pure state it is too soft to stand up to repeated use and so is alloyed with other metals--copper, silver, nickel, or palladium--so that a wedding ring will last through a golden anniversary.
Gold is tasteless, although in the 1500s a Dutchman invented a liqueur called Gold wasser in which he sprinkled gold . akes. Medieval chefs used gold to garnish sweets before sending them up to the high tables.
Gold is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and resistant to oxidation and corrosion, making it useful in electronics and dentistry. It was used to plate the copper disk of recorded greetings on board Voyager 1, a hundred astronomical units out and counting. It is included in speculative designs for solar sails for spaceships and solar collectors for space habitats. Scientists have built gold nanospheres to work with lasers on a cure for cancer.
Gold is rare. Of all the noble metals, only mercury is more infrequently found in the earth's crust.
Mythological gold is as seductive as gold manifest. Midas asked Dionysus for the gift of turning everything to gold with his touch, only to discover a mixed blessing when gold food and drink proved to be indigestible. Jason's .eece, Kidd's trea sure, Pizarro's El Dorado, Sutter's Mill, Siwash George's Rabbit Creek, Yamashita's Buddha--in any reality, in any century gold enthralls, enchants, intoxicates, and is the downfall of many an otherwise sensible man and woman who succumb to its siren song.
At last report, $940.48 per troy ounce on the world market. . . .