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.”

Posted in Chatter, Teaser Tuesday, The Kate Shugak Novels. Bookmark this.

411 Comments on Why Bad Blood ends the way it does.

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. Douglas Zartman says:

    as Mary wrote December 27, I also have just discovered you. Unfortunately I have not read the Kate Shugak stories in published order…stumbled upon and just finished Bad Blood, with several others (published early to the end to the 2000’s) yet to read over the next few days….WOW what an ending….was not ready for it….anyway, it seems you will publish additional Kate Shugak stories…..looking forward to them…
    As an aside, it would appear you are a fan of Diana Gabledon….your style is similar….THANK YOU!!!!!!

  4. Dana says:

    Thanks, Douglas, especially for the comparison to Diana’s style, which I consider superb.

  5. Judy Hall says:

    I love your books and can’t wait to see what happens to Kate and Mutt in your next book. Please let us all know when we might expect it in our book stores. You are the best.

  6. Dana says:

    Thanks, Judy. I’ll begin Kate21 later this year, after I finish Silk and Song III, and it will be available next year, first in e and then in print.

  7. Kay.Feeney says:

    I have read them all. I am worried about Mutt getting old. I have thought a lot about the impact of such severe winters on community and self. Very difficult indeed. I have learnt a lot about the reality of Alaska as the books have encouraged me to research.

  8. Dana says:

    Good for you on the research, Kay! As I frequently say, I never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  9. Barbara Bunse says:

    Just finished Bad Blood. Cannot get it out of my mind! Kate and Mutt both? Please tell me that isn’t true!! When will you be announcing the next book in the series? Don’t want to miss it.

  10. Dana says:

    Look for Kate21 in 2016, Barbara.

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