“Highly refreshing setting, a great cast of characters and an intriguing plot.”—The Bloomsbury Review
“Atmospheric.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Flashes of the dark poetry of Ross MacDonald.”—Chicago Tribune
“A rich stew of deception and menace.”—Anchorage Daily News
“Outstanding . . . satisfies on all levels.”—The Kansas City Star
Sitka, Alaska, is a subarctic port surrounded by snow-dusted mountains. In addition to honest work, there is a lot of alcohol consumed and other people’s money appropriated. Bars are loud, fights are mean. Rowdy youths party in the ancient Russian cemeteries, sitting on overturned gravestones. Sitka is hardly straight-laced, but murder is uncommon enough to be widely noted—like the Indian big-game guide killed by an ex-miner obeying voices from the earth’s center. The victim’s mother, a Tlingit Indian, summons to her nursing home a local investigator named Cecil Younger. The case is old and ostensibly solved. She wants him to investigate anyway. What he unearths is a virtual fairytale contrived to hide a primal conspiracy.
Set against the modern Alaskan frontier and the surviving pantheism of its indigenous population, The Woman Who Married a Bear is a brooding and exotic novel that touches on mysteries far beyond the conventional.
John Straley, a criminal investigator for the state of Alaska, lives in Sitka with his son and wife, a marine biologist who studies whales. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Curious Eat Themselves and The Music of What Happens.
About the Author
The youngest of five children, John Straley was born in 1953. He received a BA in English and a certificate of completion in Horse Shoeing. He has brown eyes and likes jokes and a wide variety of literature and music. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Curious Eat Themselves and The Woman Who Married a Bear and was appointed the Writer Laureate of Alaska in 2006. John Straley lives with his wife, Jan, a prominent whale biologist, in a bright green house on the beach in Sitka, Alaska, where he works as a criminal defense investigator by day and sleeps, writes, and plays with his band, The Big Fat Babies, whenever he can.
Praise for The Woman Who Married a Bear…
Praise for John Straley
“Lesser writers look to their characters’ poor choices and attempts to rectify them, John Straley loves his characters for just those choices. Hölderlin wrote: 'Poetically man dwells on the earth.' Some of us wind up in limericks, some in heroic couplets. But damned near every one of us, sooner or later, ends up in one of Straley’s wise, wayward, wonderfully unhinged novels.”
—James Sallis, author of Drive and the Lew Griffin mysteries
“Like the Coen brothers on literary speed, John Straley is among the very best stylists of his generation.”
—Ken Bruen, Shamus Award winning author of The Guard
"Chandler, Ross Macdonald, James Crumley... Straley proves once again that he is up there with the great ones… His prose is as smooth as a well-tuned cello. He has tremendous feeling for the setting: not only the open waters and frosted countryside outside of Sitka and Juneau, but also the somewhat seedy streets of these cities."
"Superior thriller writing, once again by Straley—an excellent plot against Alaska's gigantic and bizarre backdrop."
—Janwillem van de Wetering
"Now and then a writer dares to flout the rules and in so doing, carves out a niche that belongs to him alone. John Straley's novels are like no others."
—San Diego Tribune
"Like James Lee Burke, Straley transcends the genre.... Marvelous."
—The Tampa Tribune and Times
"Straley's beautifully understated narrative, vivid sense of place and unapologetic, unadorned characters make this a riveting, unpredictable ride."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Outstanding.... satisfies on all levels."
—The Kansas City Star
"Strong and sobering... with his storyteller's sense of dramatic action [Straley's] in his glory."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Straley hits all the right notes"
—Booklist, Starred Review