Why Bad Blood ends the way it does.

I chatted with the Danamaniacs last Wednesday, and was reminded that Barbara Peters told me she didn’t want to be in the room when you all got to the end of Bad Blood. I told her not to worry, that I’d already been through the fire with Hunter’s Moon.

Now, as then, the, um, decibel level of your response is an enormous compliment to the series, and to me, whether you meant it that way or not. So thank you again.

This is what I told the ‘maniacs.


1. Newton was right. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What Kate did in “Nooses Give” comes back to haunt her with a vengeance. Some times the reaction happens instantly, like a chain reaction in a nuclear bomb. Sometimes it takes years. As in Bad Blood.

2. Mickey Spillane said, “The last line sells the next book.” The ending of Bad Blood, dear readers, is what we in the trade call a hook. That last scene in Bad Blood sells the next book to you, but more importantly to me. There will be serious consequences, for Kate, for Mutt, for Jim, the aunties, and all the rest of the Park rats. I myself don’t know everything that happens next. I can’t wait to find out.

3. Kate has lost people, but she has never really looked into the abyss for herself. On a real, visceral level, she has never experienced that point every human being comes to, the realization that her time on this earth is not unlimited.

If you’re paying attention, a near-death experience will change your life. A lot you thought was important just falls away. You realize how much unfinished business you have to clean up, and how short your time is to get that done. You stop being afraid to say “I love you” to the people who matter.

Kate has always been good at paying attention, and there is plenty in her “Unfinished Business” column.

4. Hello? This is the Kate Shugak series? Whatever made you think anyone was safe in here?


5. I love to torture you.

The ‘maniacs will be posting a full transcript of the chat soon. Join them on Facebook and you can read it, too.

In the end, you could trust me to know what I’m doing. And if you just can’t, well, I’ll let Darth Vader speak for me:

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

428 thoughts on “Why Bad Blood ends the way it does.

  1. Patty says:

    I’m with Winyan. I will beg you too for Mutt’s life. This is the first Dana Stabenow/Kate Shugak book I’ve ever read- so I’m right there with Mrs. Lilian Flett (How do you know Mutt lives?) I can’t believe I hadn’t found you before this. I bought 6 of the books today to backtrack and enjoy more stories- but if I know Mutt dies, it will make such a difference in how I view the stories. Dana! Have a heart!


  2. Now Mathewson says:

    Why two more years to wait? I can visualize library lines 3,000 long waiting when it does come out.
    I really like this series and, like most of your other fans, hate to wait that long.


  3. W. Maria White says:

    When I finished Bad Blood, I threw the book across the room and cried.
    Joining the others, I say: at least save Mutt, but preferably both of them.

    After you killed off Kate’s lover several books back, I swore not to read any more, but of course I did after sulking for a couple of years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Adele Woolford says:

    I love your books and I also am in my 72 nd year I hope to be around for your next books could you give us the name of your new Shugack book so I can pre order on Amazon.


  5. Susan Thomas says:

    I have read all the Kate books three times and am planning to read them again in 2015. I can hardly wait for the next one. I must say having to wait so long is cruel to your readers. Susan


  6. Deborah Little says:

    It is reassuring to know that there will be a “Kate21″. It has been an interesting journey to watch “Kate” life and actions develop over the years. I only recently found “Kate”. She has a definate sense of morality but does not necessarily adhere to the law for justice. Great to read about, but not sure how I would respond in person.
    I lobbyed the local library to purhase the series (which they did) and then just gave in and purchased my own ebooks A library book accompanied me on an overseas holiday rather than wait until I got home to read. I have since given in and finished purchasing all as e-books so that “Kate” is close by for re-reads late in the night.
    The references to Capt. James Cook keeps tripping me up and have made me look beyond my “back-yard”. Yes Dana, your stories are to be found in rural Australia.


  7. Deborah Little says:

    So glad to read that “Kate21″ is being planned for.
    I discovered “Kate” at the local library, and even took one book on an oversea holiday rather than wait to read when I got home. I lobbied the library to purchase more, which they did, but have decided that I need “Kate” to be closer for the late night reads, so have all on my tablet now.
    I “trip” whenever you refer to Capt James Cook’s excursion to Alaska. So “Hello” from a rural area of the “Great Southern Land” that Cook visited, to you in the furtherest reaches of the “North”.


  8. Ann-Margaret Venditti says:

    Just finished “Bad Blood” and so did not see that ending coming. Had to jump online to see if there is talk of “Kate 21″. Thank God, there is. Now, I can sleep tonight. Please, please, please save Mutt. We lost our wolf/husky mix at the age of 15 while living in AK. Guess I have a special place in my heart for Mutt. Thank you Dana for Kate and Liam. We are an Air Force family that was lucky enough to live in AK for two years and everytime that I start missing it, which is daily, I start reading your books and I am instantly transported right back. Your books are a great escape for me in this nomad life that my family leads. For that, I am forever grateful. Just finished the “Kate” series….. again, so now I will spend some time with Liam. 2016 can’t get here soon enough!


  9. N Grossen says:

    I’m relieved to find out that Kate is coming back, but disappointed that it isn’t for another 2 years.. Liam is nice but Kate and Mutt are the ones that keep the interest going.


  10. Maggie Jo Pullar says:

    I just finished Bad Blood and was stunned at the ending! Kate and Mutt MUST recover. They are like family to me! Do we have to wait until 2016?


  11. Helen teys says:

    I was holidaying in Alaska when I read kate shugack no 20 and I felt like I’d list my best friend. The thought of no more kate made me so sad so glad to hear there will be a no 21.?


  12. Kate says:

    When I finished Bad Blood I had to read the last couple chapters over again just to make sure it really did end that way and that I didn’t miss anything along the way. You’re right 21 is as good as bought! Thank you for creating this wonderful series.


  13. Susan Doran says:

    yes Dana, it is a wait but so exciting to know there is another ‘Kate’ book and I will definitely get my hands on a copy as soon as it is published. Meanwhile I am reading my way through your other books and am so enjoying them. I find it hard to remember my reading life before discovering a ‘Dana’ book, your writing has enriched my reading life ten fold and while entertaining are also educational. I read things in your books and go “I need to find out more about that” and the friendship from the Danamanics group is fantastic too. Best wishes from South East Ireland where I am spreading my devotion in order to have more Dana fans about me locally.


  14. Sherelle King says:

    And even from way down south, real “outsiders” we too are Kate fans way down south in NZ; looking forward to anothet journey together….


  15. Lorraine says:

    The power of a story! I too finished reading book 20, last night, at 01.00, and from feeling sleepy, and enjoying the satisfaction of a good read being summed up…I was suddenly wide awake, and thinking ”No, No, No”, I wanted to rush to help Kate, and Mutt…so futile. I have had to wait until this morning, where I have been comforted by the knowledge that there is still hope. Such wonderful stories. Thank you.


  16. Judy Kuzmenko says:

    I enjoyed the whole series BUT was shocked at the ending of ‘Bad Blood’. But now I see that there will be another book so I can live with the ending! It was bad enough when Morgan got killed.
    Reading about Alaska I think of my Russian grandparents and wonder!!


  17. Carla says:

    I was devased by the ending of Bad Blood! I am delighted to read that Kate’s story is to continue. Alaska comes alive through your pen; Kate, too.


  18. kathy says:

    I’ve just finished Bad Blood and as I’ve worked through the series I’ve been dreading Mutt’s demise for awhile. But if these characters age, as they do, she can’t last forever. I’ve had to put down several dogs because they got old and sick, so I hope Mutt gets to go down fighting. It’s what she’d want. She had some puppies toward the beginning of the series and I wished some had been “saved” for later storytelling. It would be great to have a Muttlet around forever!


  19. Ann Nash says:

    Just finished reading Bad Blood and felt really miserable, couldn’t beleive it could end like that but then I thought life can be just like that.
    Still disturbed until I found this link and hope that the story will continue there are so many loose ends.
    Thanks for an excellant read.



  20. Alicia Prendergast-lister says:

    Cried my eyes out on tube. Had no idea it was coming. Both my parents had read it and not told me. I’m glad. But I’m grieving. Every day for last week I come back from my 1.5hr commute complaining about my loss. Every time I mention something my daughter says is that real or Kate again!


  21. Gaelan says:

    I’ll have you know, you are going to owe the good people at the bookstore near me a major apology come 2016…I’m liable to bowl at least one person over if not more on my way to the mystery section when Kate 21.


  22. Norma Smith says:

    I am so desperate for the new Kate book, I have re read 1-20 again! I love Liam and I am visting Alaska from Scotland in May/June of 2015. ( I know Niniltna is made up) I just want to visit, I am also a quilter and I plan on stocking up on Barbara Lavalee patterns whilst I am there lol. Roll on next Kate book, I have withdrawal symptoms.


  23. edna huwe says:

    Absolutely love the Kate series. Being from King Cove, also am Aleut. Can relate to the series so well. Makes me homesick. Live in WA. 2016? Gosh. Take care of yourself. Thought of you while visiting Homer this past July.


  24. Lynda Tadema-Wielandt says:

    Just re-read the last two pages of Bad Blood for the third time, hoping I’d read it wrong the previous time. I am shocked! My husband is behind me by about ten books, so I can’t commiserate with him about what has happened. All he knows is that I flung myself out of bed and dashed downstairs for my laptop to find out if it’s true. Kate and Mutt must go on ~ but you made it so final! Am full of tears and despair.


  25. federica de zottis says:

    Dear Dana,
    I’m Italian and I started reading your Kate&Mutt series in Italian. But just the first two books have been translated so I had to learn to read them in English. I was double rewarded because my knowledge of the language has improved a lot and I’ve now access to a whole new world of books that have never been translated into Italian. But most importantly I haven’t had to give up Kate and Mutt. I know you have every rights on them but please, please spare them. A world without Mutt is a gloomy world. Thanks and ciao


  26. Patricia says:

    Thank goodness this is just a monster of a cliff hanger! I was worried that dear Erland wouldn’t get what’s coming to him…. now I’ll lurk around. Sure hope Mutt makes it through again.


  27. Becky says:

    I got Bad Blood for my hubby for xmas and couldn’t wait for him to read it, so I snuck in a reading before sticking it in his stocking. And you are killing me!!! And I have to wait till 2016 to find out more?!?!? I CAN’T STAND IT!


  28. Rainey Digerness says:

    Dear Dana,
    I just tonight went on-line to your site for the first time. I’m an audio book type of gal and have gone through the Kate and Liam series several times in the past years. I’m a senior, single, mountain mama, living very rural in the lovely mountains of northern California with my furry friends; 2 big, black, beautiful dogs and 2 lovable soft cats. I’m not into TV so my audio books hang with me while i sew, bead, garden, etc. And in the car when I go out of the hills
    I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one who thinks of Kate, Mutt and Jim as family so of course I was blown away by the ending of ‘Bad Blood.’, however; I am now relieved to know they will be back . I was thinkng that the ‘end’ in BB was a marketing ploy like Mickey said and that you wouldn’t be that mean to us. I know life is mean and not fair all the time but I guess I expect more from great novels.
    I think you are a great writer and have laughed my self silly picturing some of the predicaments of Kate and Mutt and the bad guys. Wonderful. Good serious story line, with lots of humor. I really love the Aunties and the Roadhouse. I was so sad when Old Sam passed. He was hilarious and I miss him. Awesome reads or for audio fans, ear and mind candy. Thank you Dana. Looking forward to more Kate and Liam. Hoping for more combos with them both together. Maybe with Jim included. I’m kind of hoping Kate and Jim have a child but time will tell huh?
    I am sure looking forward to 21. Take care.


  29. Emma says:

    I love that a year and a half after you wrote this post you’re still getting desperate fans visiting after they’ve finished Bad Blood! I started reading your books recently after trying the free Kate book on my Kindle, and positively gorged myself on books 10-20 as Amazon sell them as a bundle – such enabling behaviour! Good thing I’m not house proud :) I am glad there’s a 21st Kate book on the way – I will have to try to savour it rather than gobble it this time around. Thanks for all the great stories.


  30. Mary says:

    Just finished “Bad Blood”. Yes, I can recognize good stories. Yes, I get the cliff hanger endings. Yes, life has things like this. But, I like my stories, whether visual or written, to have happy endings now.
    I’ve had enough real life difficult endings that, at just past 62 1/2 years of age, I want happy endings in the stories I choose to read or watch.
    If I’d known, I wouldn’t have read it.
    I am sorry I did.
    I’ll probably make sure the ends of your books will not distress me before reading any more.
    The Robert Jordan, “The Wheel of Time” series was like that. Difficult to wait for the last in the series especially since someone else had to finish it.
    There will never be anymore “Spencer” stories. But, at least Spencer didn’t die.
    He killed Wash off gruesomely in “Firefly” and I will never watch that movie again because of that.
    So, I’m one of your readers that just found your books and now don’t trust that you won’t write something that I will just hate so I’ll be very cautious about reading your books anymore.
    Since I lost my hearing at 4 years of age and could read soon after that, books have been a very major part of my whole life, I want to feel good when I end a book. Not upset, disappointed, distressed or dismayed. And I certainly don’t want to be left in that state for over a year.
    So, you lost me as one of your readers and I don’t know if I’ll come back. Not even to read the ones I haven’t read yet, even though I like Kate, Jim, the Aunties, Liam and the rest.
    I can’t trust that you won’t do something like this again. Losing Old Sam was enough for me.


  31. bonnie says:

    have read all Kate books except:
    A Cold Day for Murder
    A Night too Dark
    Bad Blood. I’ve read most of them in the last 10 days as the annual plan for a ‘holiday’ season with out children or grandchildren (same for the last 30 years).
    I must say, this is the first year I haven’t had any sadness for the missing family. My husband (marriage not made in heaven) (40 yrs and no children together), died last spring; and some of these stories have given me more insight into the understanding and acceptance of death. However much I understand that all of my favorite characters are not going to live forever; However much I believe that the author is allowed to try out new characters and stories (in the desert? the silk road?) to grow, and to seek new truth and light; and as much faith as I have in the author to keep this strong woman character going strong; I don’t like to hear that Bad Blood is going to end on what seems to be a bad note…Perhaps I shall put off reading it until 2016. Exactly when in 2016 is Kate 21 coming out? H-mmmm?


  32. Mary Jo Lang says:

    Dear Dana,
    From the first Kate Shugak book I read, I had a new favorite author. I read the books as I could find them so they were not in order. I didn’t care. I just wanted more Kate and Mutt and the amazing descriptions of Alaska. I can see it all when I read them. Do to my very strange life, I had to pack up all my books and out them in storage so that now I don’t have access to them. Soooooo a little while agoe I ordered all the Kate books and all the Liam books and am now happily reading them in order. I love it! I love the way Kate’s life progresses and life in the Park changes. When I started the series over I knew there were two books I did not like, but was determined to read them anyway. The first was Dead in the Water. Icy cold deep water scares me senseless. I read it and it, of course, was so well written that I loved it! The second was Hunter’s Moon and I couldn’t help myself, I loved it, too! It brought me to tears again, but how could I not love a book so well and beautifully written? Right now I am almost finished with Whisper to the Blood. I remember the shock I felt at the end of Bad Blood and my feeling that this cannot happen. Like others who have written here I immediately started looking for something that would give me hope that this was not the end. I found it, and am eternally grateful.

    In case you didn’tpick up on it, I love your books, I love the way you write and when I have fin ished these books I am going to start on your Silk and Song series. Thanks for deciding to be a writer. The world is richer for it.

    Mary Jo


  33. Margarette Poole says:

    I have read all The Kate and Liam books and I love them. But Most of all I love how you interact with your fans. It really is as if we are friends around the fire together and talking about family. Like the Aunties. I have complete faith that you will take of Kate and Mutt. Strong women have sometimes difficult lives. That is why they always come to the top, and sometimes save everyone. From a fan in the East Texas Pineywoods.


  34. Parthenia Moore says:

    Dana, I discovered one of your later books (not the Shugak series) and enjoyed it so much that I started to read the Shugak series, albeit about the mid-way in, not from the start. I’m on Fine and Bitter Snow and have decided that the will they/won’t they interaction with Kate & Jim has gotten tedious and decided to come online and see if I’m just being picky. Probably I am. :)

    But in reading the comments here, I must agree with an earlier writer who said that she was at an age that she wants happy endings. Me too. So I won’t see what happens to Super Dog Mutt and his mistress in your later books.

    I was already a little peeved with you from another book when you quoted the Louisiana Governor as saying, the only way I won’t get elected is if I’m found in bed with a live girl or a dead boy’. Yep, Eddie said that. But you have his name as Edwin Toms. It’s Edwin EDWARDS. Tiny little bit of research could have prevented that.

    Having said all that, I do love your writing. I’ll confine myself to ones that don’t involve Kate.

    An old gal from Louisiana where we don’t hide our crazy, we parade it across the front porch and give it a cocktail! :)


  35. Barb says:

    I enjoyed your coast guard stories also. Your books our like life, sad,happy, the good and the bad, what more could you ask for in a book. As I have gotten older,I find if I don’t like the people in the book. I’am not wasting my time reading it. I usually read the back of the book first, and if it is interesting than I will try the book. Thanks for Kate and the gang


  36. Hi Dana, just to let you know we blokes love your books too. The trouble is we all want more so please forgive us fans for being pushy but it is your fault for creating such plausible and enchanting characters Has Has. Kind regards Barry (UK)


  37. Susan says:

    Did Jim Butcher put you up to this with his “Changes”? I’ll give that Missouri boy heck … Seriously Dana, you told me once, in person in Tucson, not to worry about Mutt, and I’m holding you to that. Of course, if you saddled a recuperating Mutt with an upstart puppy … no, scratch that, too infernally cute. Mutt would loathe cute.


  38. Jan Petersen says:

    Dana, I do enjoy your writing and joined millions by grieving the end of Bad Blood. I am more than willing to wait for Kate 21 (though sooner than 2016 would be much better!) I love the characters in the stories and the stories themselves. The Outback lives an energetic life in my mind’s eye and I so wish that there was a “snowball’s chance” that I could ever live there! My absolute favorite is your book about the breakup and that crazy scenario of moose, dogs, SUVs and snowmobiles coming through Kate’s yard has me gasping through helpless laughter every time I read it! Thanks so much for these characters (and Liam, too) that have become my pretend family over the years…guess I have plenty of time to re read the whole series before Kate 21 arrives! You rock!


  39. Bénédicte de Formanoir says:

    So good reading all this :-) Like everyone else I just finished the series and couldn’t settle for Mutt and Kate’s deaths (I was pissed off at Jim for not firing sooner :-)) so here I get to internet to try and find out if there is a 21st book … thank God … and Dana, there will be one ! However, I’m not sure I’ll start the Liam series because I’m such a compulsive reader when I start, I don’t get anything else done !
    I only got into reading your books as a brush up on my english (I’m a french speaking belgian woman) and I got trapped … Even though your english is not quite like the british I was used to :-)
    Thanks for many hours of pure enjoyement !


  40. sandy mcalister says:

    Dana, I have been reading your books for years, often over and over again.I love that each has a different tone, and shows me a different part of the Alaska experience. I fell in love with Alaska the times I have been able to get there and I fall in love all over again every time you show me another piece through your books. I have been many places but there is no place else like Alaska. Thank you so much for sharing it with us through Kate and Liam and all the others. There is a little piece of me that claims Alaska as home through my visits in person and through your books. Tx again


  41. Eileen Barbaris says:

    I started reading Kate in the middle of her stories and was also stopped in my tracks at the ending of Bad Blood. I am so glad to hear of another book in the works because not only have I enjoyed Kate’s adventures, I have learned so much about Alaska and the life there in the mountains, but also the characters and their lives(yes, Mutt!!) and flaws. Now to be patient and wait,,,please let them all live…


  42. Oh thank God there is a Kate 21. This is my absolute favourite series and I am so very glad it isn’t over. I read the whole series in about 2 weeks and am halfway through re-reading it again at a rate of 2 a day, but was hesitant to take my re-read up to Bad Blood if there was no news on a resolution. I obviously cannot live with the kind of agony that book engenders. Roll on 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

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