Excerpt from A Deeper Sleep by Dana Stabenow, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Deeper Sleep

A Kate Shugak Novel

by Dana Stabenow

A Deeper Sleep
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 272 pages
    Jan 2008, 352 pages

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He could hear the rising exasperation in his voice and broke off. “She won’t press charges.”

Kate fetched the chair she had kicked across the room and sat down in it. She folded her arms and scowled. “And it’s only a class A misdemeanor.”

“That’s all it is,” he said. “And if all of that doesn’t work, she’ll say it was all her fault anyway because she couldn’t get her daughter to stop drinking while she was carrying Willard.”

Gloom settled in heavily over the room. Mutt’s tail slowed. Comfort was needed. Jim was the love of her life, in spite of that human male thing he had going on, but Kate had time served. She laid her chin on Kate’s knee and blinked up at her with a sympathetic expression, or as much sympathy as predatory yellow eyes could exude.

The phone rang, and it was a toss-up as to which of the three was more relieved. “Yeah?” Jim said into the receiver. His face hardened. “Thanks.”


He put the phone down. “Jury’s come back, but it’s so late, Singh is delaying hearing the verdict until the morning.” He hesitated, but she’d been helpful to the investigation, with an eidetic memory of Deem’s past offenses. Plus she was related to the victim somehow. She usually was. “I’ll fly to Ahtna tomorrow morning. Wanna come?”

“Are you kidding?”

“Hey?” Willard’s mournful howl was muffled by the intervening walls but perfectly understandable. “Um, I hate to bother you guys, but Anakin and me, we’re kinda hungry?” A pause. “Maybe we could have a coupla those cookies I saw next to the coffeepot on the way in? And maybe we could have some coffee with them? Maybe with cream? And a couple three sugars? Anakin really likes his coffee sweet.”

Jim closed his eyes and shook his head. “Willard Shugak could smell the filling on an Oreo cookie at a hundred yards.” He got up, and Kate followed him to the outer office.

“Maggie, I’m outta here, and I won’t be in tomorrow until late. Get Laurel to bring Willard some dinner, would you, please? He’ll be staying with us for a few days.”

Kate growled, mostly for show, and because she knew Willard was listening.

“Protective custody,” Jim said.

Maggie gave Kate a wary look. “Got it, boss.”

As Jim turned the Blazer around to head back to Kate’s homestead, she said, “What’s your prediction? On the verdict?”

The road was mostly bare, frozen gravel. “I hate global warming,” Jim said, and eased up the Blazer to a steady forty miles an hour. “I stopped guessing jury verdicts after my first case, Kate.”

“What happened on your first case?”

“First case that came to trial, I should have said.” A bull moose sauntered out from the undergrowth and paused in the middle of the road, looking around with a distracted air, as if he were trying to remember where he had mislaid his rack. Jim tapped the brakes and flicked the headlights on bright and back again. The moose blinked at them bemusedly and then galumphed back into the undergrowth, embarrassed by his naked head.

Jim stepped cautiously on the gas, goosing her back up to speed. The Blazer rattled over the gravel base, and he had to raise his voice to be heard. “Perp and his best buddy pick up the victim on the road, try to get him to perform oral sex on them. When he won’t, they shoot him nine times with a twenty-two. And then cut his throat just to be sure. Tossed the body in the city dump and hot-wired the dozer to run it over him a few times to mash him into the garbage.

Copyright © 2007 by Dana Stabenow. All rights reserved.

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