Play with Fire by Dana Stabenow

In books read on June 25, 2002

Though it's the fifth in the series this is the first of the Kate Shugak books, which are set in Alaska, to be set somewhere where it isn't freezing cold. I enjoyed the change in scenery and seeing what Alaska is like when it isn't snowing. In fact in this book Kate stumbles upon a body while picking mushrooms on the site of a forest fire. The transistion from snow to fire works very well for me, it brought out a different side of the series characters.

In this book despite having less of a mystery to solve than has been the case before Kate seemed to be more involved and more interested in finding out the answers. This is all in character because she wasn't really employed as an investigator in this one, she was running off on more of a personal hunch for much of the book. Curiously the transistion from a professional to a near amateur made this book work better for me as a mystery than some of the earlier books. There was more logic to Kate's actions here I think.

I liked the viewpoint that the book took on fundamentalist religion and it's imposition on scientific teachings, you'd probably want to avoid this book if you're a die hard ceationist or can't see the other side of religious arguments. My line to take away from this book concerns the "Red Queen Theory of Religion": try to believe six impossible things before breakfast, it'll get you in practice for the Virgin Birth and the Second Coming.

The story telling and the characterisation are both improving as this series goes on. This book is more substantial in both plot and pages than it's predecessors. I'm glad that I have several more to read.

Purchased on 16th April 2002.

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