KATE SHUGAK is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska.
She's 5 foot 1 inch tall, carries a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat and owns half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt.
Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine - and she needs to be to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her.
WHISPER TO THE BLOOD: A mining company has discovered a rich mineral deposit in Alaska's enormous Iqaluk Wildlife Refuge.
Politicos see dollar signs for the state, but Ninilta residents, who live near the proposed site, are split: Will outsiders take the jobs?
Will the environment be harmed by pollution? Will roads disintegrate . . . tourists invade? As the new chairperson of Ninilta's Native Association, a job she never wanted, Kate is embarassingly ill-equipped to handle the questions.
Nor is she prepared when two individuals associated with the company turn up dead.