Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Does Kate Shugak Have Brain Damage?

I have been reading the Kate Shugak series of mystery novels, which are written by Dana Stabenow. Probably what helps me in reading them is that I know very little about Alaska, so my tendency to quibble on the underlying facts is quelled when I read the books.

The protagonist, Kate Shugak, is a tiny (5') Aleut woman who was an investigator for the Anchorage district attorney's office. She burned out on the job and moved back to the homestead that she inherited from her parents. She investigates crimes and works at whatever she can to make a few bucks, sort of living a semi-subsistence lifestyle.

She can be vengeance incarnate, such as the time she left an injured bad guy out in the open to be eaten by a pack of wolves. She has had two sort of steady men in her life, both of whom were law enforcement. Her nearly constant companion is a large dog, named Mutt (half Husky, half wolf). Mutt probably outweighs Kate by 30 pounds.

But one thing has come to bother me, and that is in every book, Shugak takes some serious damage. Most of the time, it is in the form of a bad concussion that lays her out from a period of a few hours to sometimes several days. She never gets through a case without somebody seriously fucking her up.

Sooner or later, the long-term effects of the concussions would begin to take a toll on her. I kind of wonder if Stabenow will ever work that into her story line.


LRod said...

Sounds like the Nevada Barr series of books featuring "Anna Pigeon," Park Service Ranger. Excellent books, adventures based in several of our National Parks or Monuments. By the way, she was a Park Ranger IRL, now retired.

You will also find her a kindred spirit, I believe, in some of her non-Anna Pigeon works.

ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

Bridget Magnus said...

Yeah, not being able to stand errors that could have been fixed by reading a FREAKING MAP are one of the reasons I can't stand Jim Butcher's work.

Comrade Misfit said...

LRod, I read three of the Anna Pigeon books. They all had the same plot device: "Ranger Pigeon gets into a vehicle with the villain who is trying to kill her." Bah!

Bridget, agreed. Stabenow sets her stories in a fictional part of Alaska that is loosely based on a real place. That's a terrific idea, for it gets rid of the "that detail is wrong" carpers.

BadTux said...

The good-guy-gets-laid-out-by-bad-guy trope is a staple of the hard-boiled-detective genre, even if said detective is a tiny female. Raymond Chandler sorta established it as a standard trope of the genre back in 1939 with The Big Sleep, which anybody who wants to write in the genre reads over and over and over again and tries to emulate at least in their first few novels.

What is most hilarious to me is that nobody gets the aftermath of a concussion right. The disorientation and hallucinations that you see afterwards just don't exist, all that happens is that our hero has a hellacious headache. Real-life concussions just don't work that way. But sometimes the realities of these things are ignored in order to make the plot work, after all, a hero who's disoriented isn't going to be able to overcome the bad guy upon waking up, which is sort of the other half of this trope.

- Badtux the Fiction-writing Penguin