Title: Alaska Hunt
Cover artist: TL Bland
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Buy Link:Alaska Hunt
Genre: mystery/suspence/ some romance
Length: 217 pages
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: Intense, well researched mystery and romance which features Alaskan wildlife as a very important character in the story.
For Alaska Wildlife Trooper Zanebono Fusca, it’s just another summer in Anchorage until a slew of inexplicable fatal bear attacks sets the city reeling. As far as Zane is concerned, the timing couldn’t be worse. He’s besieged with his own demons, coping with personal loss and an identity crisis that clutches him worse than a grizzly’s pickaxe-sized fangs. Ten years before, he hoped Alaska would bring him a sense of his manhood. Now the “last frontier” could put him in an early grave.
Zane’s role to protect Alaska’s teeming wildlife gets even more tangled when handsome twenty-five-year-old Joshua Gaffner arrives seeking the details of his uncle’s gruesome death. But Alaskan officials have few answers. Against his better judgment, Zane takes Joshua deep into Anchorage’s far-flung backcountry—populated with eccentric recluses and ego-driven ecologists—in search of the truth. As the bizarre attacks increase, Zane and Josh continue to push for clues to crack the mystery. Finally Zane unravels a shocking discovery that makes the pieces fall into place. The trouble is Josh stands in the perfect position to become the next victim.
I have read and reviewed a historical by this writer and I enjoyed it enough that I wanted to read something else by her. I really enjoyed this story, but I have to say contrary to Wave, who recently reviewed the story with Alaskan settings on the site and wanted to visit after reading about the settings, I really do *not* want to visit Alaska after reading this one. Oh do not get me wrong, the writer seemed to research her story (especially the behavior of grizzly bears) very well and she managed to make a very suspenseful tale out of it. I also thought that she definitely wanted to show not just the toughness, but the wild beauty of the place, but all I took out of it is how very scary it is and how if you are not careful, bears will eat you ;) That was not what the writer was saying in the story guys, that is just how I felt :).
As you can see from the blurb our main character Zanebono (Zane) is an Alaska Wildtrooper and they investigate bizarre attacks by grizzly bears, which ended up in deaths. Basically they are trying to figure out why this happened, why the bears behaved the way they did and as I said unexpectedly for me, I thought the mystery/suspense part of the story was really good. I said “unexpectedly” because I would have never thought that investigating the reasons for the bears’ acting murderously could be so much fun for me. Fair warning, the first scene describing how a bear attacked one of the victims was really gruesome for me, but I have a low bar for gruesomeness. I will endure such scenes if necessary for the story (and this one very much was necessary IMO), but I will skip upon reread. So basically the mystery had me glued to the pages, and my only annoyance was how the most dramatic action scene in the story ended. It basically ended in the most dramatic place, and I suspect that the author thought that whatever she showed of the resolution was enough. She certainly showed some, but what she showed was not nearly enough for me before the story skipped to the epilogue.
I really liked Zane; - I understood his reasons for coming to Alaska, and I thought what happened in his past shaped his present in a very believable way and I just really would have love to meet him in real life, I guess. I also really appreciated that he was portrayed as bisexual instead of Gay for Joshua, because for quite some time I have found myself getting tired of most varieties of GFY stories and often stare at the page and want to ask the writer why not just call the character bisexual. So I very much appreciated this development in the story.
I thought Josh was extremely well portrayed too, in fact I really liked that contrary to her other stories (the historical which I reviewed and couple others which I have not read but read the reviews), in this one the writer seems to abandon the contrast looks of the characters. You know the drill – one is huge alpha type and the other one is tiny helpless looking. To be fair in the historical romance I have read and reviewed, the characters may have looked that way, but the younger character was not a damsel in distress. Regardless though, I find the characters looking that way to be tiresome – it simply too often leads me to wonder whether we will be treated to a ’chick with a dick’ character and I liked that both of them looked pretty equal here.
Did I enjoy their romance? Yes, and I thought that amongst all the suspense it was appropriate that beginning of the romance was kind of understated. The romance was there though, or at the very least a lot of romantic elements IMO. Neither was Josh a damsel in distress at all, I admired his stubbornness in fact. He may have depended on Zane for help in the life and death situation, but I thought it was a lovely moment when at the end Zane realizes how much he depends upon Josh’s vulnerability too.
There is a female character in the story whom I really liked, and I cannot really say who she was because the blurb is silent on that matter and it would be just spoiling too much. There were several other secondary characters, which served their purpose in the plot, but their roles were just too small for me to really appreciate them. I think Alaska was so well (and for me scarily) portrayed that I would consider it a character in its own right.