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KATE SHUGAK is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska. She's 5 foot 1 inch tall, carries a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat and owns half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt. Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine - and she needs to be to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her.

THOUGH NOT DEAD. Kate's uncle Sam dies, leaving her a letter instructing Kate to 'find his father'. The problem is Sam's father disappeared nearly 90 years ago with a priceless tribal artifact.

As Kate delves into the old man's life, she unearths some surprising facts: his service in World War Two, his friendship with crime-writer Dashiell Hammet. The problem is that she's not the only one interested in Sam's past. And this someone has no compunction about putting Kate permanently out of the picture to get what they want.

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