In J.L. Askew’s crime story, Alaska Deadly, private investigator Race Warren uncovers sinister goings-on as he attempts to find a missing man in Alaska.
Claire Billings hires Race to find her estranged husband, Ron, who had left for Alaska, and give him a message. While traveling, Race overhears a man in a bar recounting his girlfriend’s killing by an animal in Ataqsut. Intrigued, Race realizes Ataqsut is Ron’s last known location. Race takes advantage of the chance meeting and offers the man, named Medford, lodging in exchange for information.
But the next day, Medford isn’t in his hotel room. Growing suspicious, Ron returns to the bar for clues, only to discover an animal has also seemingly killed Medford, embroiling Race in a supernatural enigma: Is the culprit human or animal?
As supporting characters explore the murders, Race eventually tracks down Ron, who more fully explains his situation. It seems Ron’s wife wasn’t honest with Race. She took their daughter, Carrie, on a cruise and, unexpectedly, reconnected with her Russian ex-boyfriend tied to the mob. Against Claire’s wishes, Carrie stayed to work with the ex-boyfriend. After an incoherent phone call with his daughter, Ron raced to Alaska to find her. Soon, Ron and Race team up, risking their lives to rescue Ron’s endangered daughter.
The intricately woven quest is captivating, and Ron’s unwavering determination to save his daughter adds appealing depth to his character.
However, the author tends to overindulge in unnecessary details and scenes that slow momentum, as in: “The clock on the wall was not typical, the second hand revolving steadily in a smooth, continual motion. With most clocks, the small hand moved in start stop/start motion, marking individual seconds.” In addition, the author’s secondary storyline, having little bearing on the reason why Race is in Alaska and unconnected to Ron’s missing daughter, feels extraneous.
Despite such issues, the author keeps readers hooked with the hunt for Ron’s daughter, ultimately leading to a satisfying conclusion.
Also available as an ebook.