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Crescent Blues Book Views Avon Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0380978822
During the extra-long days of summer in the Alaskan wilderness, musher Jessie Arnold watches happily from her temporary home, a Winnebago, as a team of builders excavates for the foundation of her new, permanent home. When the digging uncovers a skull, her dream of spending a lazy summer watching construction shatters. Instead, she faces a terrifying season of looking for clues as she tries to find the connections between a current wave of disappearances and the 20-year-old crimes of Robert Hanson, Alaska's most famous serial killer.

Book: Sue Henry cold companyThe appearance of Bonnie Russell, the sister of one of Hanson's victims, further complicates Jessie's life. For 20 years, Russell searched the nearby Knik River banks for her sister's remains. Now she wishes to search Jessie's land as well. Russell's grief dredges up some of Jessie's own haunting memories, making concentrating on the increasingly disturbing current events difficult.

Shadowy figures lurking in the half darkness around her Winnebago and several young woman found dead on the banks of the river underline the urgency of the situation. Jessie must race to discover her stalker -- and the other women's killer.

Henry displays her love for Alaska's natural beauty and majesty in her writing. Her descriptions of blue glaciers and soaring mountains capture the reader's imagination and send it racing to the Alaska Board of Tourism. Jessie's struggle with her often irrational independence and stubborn nature leads her to examine the underlying reasons for these characteristics, making her the only fully realized character in the novel. The remaining cast seems rather flat in comparison to the dynamic and well thought out Jessie. Since most of the characters appear in the other eight books in the series, the reader must assume they appear more fully realized elsewhere, but that doesn't help Cold Company.

Book: Sue Henry, deadfallSolving the mystery and discovering the identity of the murderer becomes disappointingly easy after the first 100 pages. Blatant clues leave the reader to look for a plot twist to blow the obvious answer out of the water. But the plot twist never comes, and though Henry makes some halfhearted attempts to throw you off the scent, she never does so with enough conviction to make you believe her.

The beautiful descriptions and the often amusing stories of mushing in Alaska make Cold Company worth reading, but don't expect to tax your brain solving the mystery.

Ceridwen S. Lewin

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