It’s a lucky thing that Kate Shugak is, as her sweetie Jack Morgan points out, a Renaissance woman who can shoot, guide, survive in the Alaskan bush, and bring murderers to justice, since she’ll need all those skills and more to handle the big-game hunting party George Perry is taking to Taiga Lodge. The ten would-be hunters are all top managers at computer-software manufacturer Deutsches Radio Gesellschaft; most of them barely seem to know the business end of a shotgun from the part you put against your shoulder; and they don’t take kindly to directions from George, Kate, Jack, and their other two guides. But their inexperience doesn’t stop them from blazing away at every target that comes into sight. In a flash their leader, gung-ho DRG president Dieter Ulbricht, has shot himself in the arm, and the head of DRG’s finance department has unloaded into one of his junior colleagues. And when George packs the corpse onto his Cessna and takes off for Anchorage, ominous weather keeps him from returning, the body count rises abruptly, and suddenly the hunters are looking down the wrong end of those shotguns after all. As even the characters realize, it’s “The Most Dangerous Game” meets And Then There Were None, but Stabenow handles her evergreen story with a wit and urgency that make it as fresh and exhilarating as the Alaska wilderness. Part whodunit, part actioner, part thriller, all of it a new gold standard for Kate’s nine cases (Killing Grounds, 1998, etc.).