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.”

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

  1. Now I know it’s fiction & I’ve got over the fact that yes some badies do get away with it & heroes do die (reflects life I guess) but what is bugging me most is what appears to be the longest living Wolf/Huskie on record!
    How old is Mutt? Even if the books are spanned over half the time you wrote them, she’s getting on a bit. I’m going to go back & read ‘a cold day for murder’ to see if I can work out the time scale lol.
    Looking forward to KS 21 & reading the LC books to keep me going; love your writing btw.
    Please don’t give up on Kate, I know it must get tedious thinking about the same character for nigh on 25 years (Agatha Christie allegedly was sick of Poirot by the end). It would great if you could at least give your faithful readers/fans a good end to the saga (doesn’t have to be soppy cos that’s not your style but positive, up-beat & true to the character).
    Thank you.


  2. I think I must have been reading Bad Blood a few years ago when I went unconscious and wound up in the hospital ICU. I remember parts of the book, but absolutely have no recollection of the end of it. So, re-reading it a few hours ago, I was shocked. That led me here to see if this was how you were going to end the series. I am grateful that you are not, but would remind you that many of your readers are older, like me, and may not be around when you finally get book 21 ready for publication–and that is simply unfair! Please hurry, I am aging by the minute! Incidentally I was at death’s door and the doctors pulled me through–old joke–but true. I looked around for a reason I was still alive and couldn’t come up with a thing, so I just stayed the same curmudgeon I have been for years. Thanks for all the fine books and even for the ones that weren’t so fine!


  3. Judy Brennan says:

    Ms. Stabenow, thank you for your books, all of them!

    I just finished Bad Blood and am exhausted from the ending…just so grateful that you are working on KS 21. I am so attached to the characters I must admit it isn’t logical, but you have brought them, and Alaska so vividly to life for me . Thank you and I need methadone in the meantime.


  4. Annette Gregory says:

    The copyright on Bad Blood is 2013. If you are working on number 21 what’s taking so long?? I LOVE that series, and was gutted at the end of that book. So…..how long?????


  5. Bonnie Sumner says:

    I am like Larry Kelley above. I’m getting older (and sicker) and I NEED to know what happens to Kate and Mutt after Bad Blood. Please get your next Kate book out to us. By the way, I’m on my fourth read of the series. I’m begging you . . . .


  6. Prue T says:

    I am bankrupting myself buying the whole series for my kindle (I do hope you get some $$$) – on my third reading of the books – love your writing and love your characters. Delighted to hear Kate21 is on the way. Your books create a desire in me to get to Alaska – thank you.


    • I’m thrilled to hear you’re reading the whole series, Prue, but please don’t bankrupt yourself! You need to save a little bit for the next one…


      • Prue T says:

        I got them from the library first but I am one of those people who read well written books over and over again. Now I have to own them🙂 . It is wet and cold here – midwinter in NZ – so today I am sitting on the sofa reading Play with Fire. Never fear – always will be enough to get the next one.


    • Annette Gregory says:

      I feel that way too! I will never get to Alaska but every time I read one of those books I desperately want to go there!!!!


  7. Lorine W. Jacobson says:

    I have read all ur Kate & Liam books several times & keep checking for the next one. I am as impatient as the rest of ur fans but hope the waiting is worth it. Doesn’t matter. I’ll keep waiting as long as it takes. Lorine in Virginia.


  8. nancy ann belt says:

    I love your style. It just gathers me right in. I leave for an Alasks cruise and land trip to Danlie Aug 2016. I can hardly wait. As I can hardly wait for what you have Kate, Jim, and Mutt doing next!!


  9. Rhelda says:

    Thank God Bad Blood was not the end of Kate!!!! Talk about a hook! I was just devastated at the end of it. So glad to hear there is another book on the way. Love your stories and I too will one day visit Alaska.


  10. Sue D. says:

    As I sit in sunny Australia reading about the beauty of Alaska, I have become so involved with it, I forget that Kate and Mutt are works of fiction. They have become so real, so thank you for continuing their wonderful story. Can’t wait.


  11. Steve Rozov says:

    Just finished my 3rd read of the series. As delightful as the first time. Take all the time you need to give these wonderful characters more life. Or not.

    Old Steve


  12. Judy V says:

    As I am in my last quarter century and not looking forward but living in the moment, I can relate to other members of our Shugat family. Life ebbs and flows but we want our favorite relatives to stay forever (or at least until we are gone). So introducing us to these wonderful but frustrating relatives, to the state of Alaska that is also now part of our family and to those ‘Maniacs who have joined us along the way. Am anxious to see you in Honolulu and hopefully those who can’t make it will send Sandi, Carolyn, Cathy O, or Cathy R., some questions to ask (interrogate) you. Have a productive and refreshing winter!


  13. Anita says:

    I have purchased all of your books from Audible except 1 that can’t be gotten. Will the Singing of the Dead ever be released. I drive a lot and not always is there time for the written word as much as would like too. I have listened to what I do have at least 3 times around. I would love to include book 11 in my next go around. Thank you for some awesome listening and I await your next book .


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