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.

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

  1. Dana says:

    Your anguish is a tremendous compliment, Denise, so thank you. (And thanks to your husband, too.) Fear not to read on!

  2. Penelope says:

    I was willing to let Kate & Mutt go out with a bang but glad to know that they won’t end there.

  3. Dana says:

    Thanks, Penelope.

  4. Heather Fulton says:

    Please please please tell me book 21 of Kate Shugak series is coming out soon!!!!! I love them!

  5. Dana says:

    Look for Kate21 in 2016, Heather.

  6. Brigitte says:

    2016!? Aaauuuugghh!
    I guess I have to accept that true genius takes time and patience (sob, sniffle).

  7. Dana says:

    I dunno about the true genius part, but thanks for accepting.

  8. Leslie Poe says:

    I came across the Kate Shugak novels while reading a rather horrible book on my Kindle. I figured I would give the first one a try. I have read the first 19 over the last 3 weeks and I can not get enough!!! I was sad when I realized that I was getting to to the end of the series and now I am even sadder as I only started Bad Blood today and realize what I am in for. But knowing another book is on its way makes me extremely happy even though it will be quite a wait. Your writing style and vivid descriptions make the reader really feel like they are there and that they know the characters. I think that is why I went right from one book to another immediately–I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I also love how sometimes you describe things without actually coming right out and saying what it is–it is like a lovely little secret that we have to figure out–like when (and I am not sure of the book or the exact wording) you described the music playing at Kate’s grandmother’s house as Glenn yelling out his phone number to anyone who would listen. Took me a second and then it dawned on me and made me smile. I always enjoy those little moments. As I have read others say, you have also sparked my interest in Alaska. I have always loved to read, but you have made me realize why I fell in love with reading in the first place—I can transport myself to places I have never been and truly feel like I am there. Thank you for reigniting that part of me that fell in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew!!!

  9. Dana says:

    Thanks so much for all the lovely compliments, Leslie.

  10. April says:

    Oh geez not until 2016 it’s too long! :) .

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Just finished Bad Blood, don’t know how I missed it when it came out.

    What???? NOOOOO!!!!!!!!
    That was for Mutt

    Oh? Huh? Really??? Nooooooo!!!!!
    for Kate

  12. Dana says:

    Two howls, heard.

  13. Pat Young says:

    I’m certainly glad that Kate (and hopefully, Mutt) will live another day. Let
    me tell you what I did when I read the last page; I yelled “JIM, DO SOMETHING!!!”. Then I closed the book and whacked it on my table a few
    times. (???) I’m a 64 year old grandma type, and I love my books. Kate has
    been a huge part of my reading life and I do so admire such a righteous
    ass-kicker as she. Since it will be 2 more years before I’ll know what
    happens after Bad Blood, can you slip me a little Liam Campbell in the
    meantime? Appreciate it!

    Pat Young of Oscoda, Michigan

  14. Dana says:

    Thanks so much, Pat. I’m guessing you’ve already read the Liam short stories and Restless in the Grave (Kate19)? If so, all I can do is ask you to possess your soul in patience for Kate21.

  15. Katherine says:

    I”m Happy to hear there will be more to come, and hope the time passes quickly until 2016. A comment about Mutt: I love Mutt, but would find it fitting if she died valiantly protecting Kate. She is ten years old, after all, and half-wolves aren’t immortal. I don’t know if a decline into old age and infirmity would be better than a quick heroic end. Of course, in fiction, we could suspend disbelief and have Mutt stay indefinitely as she has been in the past…

  16. Louise McGurk says:

    Oh, the relief !!! I was in shock for a moment when I reached the end of “Bad Blood” and thought it was all over. Then I thought “No, she wouldn’t….no ignominious end for Kate and Mutt.” So looking forward to book 21.

    Thank you,
    Louise McGurk,

  17. Susan Nainan says:

    Just finished the 20th book in the Kate Shugak series.
    I cannot believe I have to wait till 2016 for the next.
    I don’t mean to rush you But PLEASE hurry.

  18. Dave says:

    Damn, just finished Bad Blood and feel punched in the gut. Both Mutt and Kate? Especially Mutt! No offence to Kate, but have a dog soft spot. I can’t believe I have to wait 2 years.

  19. Dana says:

    You’re right, Louise, I wouldn’t. Well. Probably not.
    Yes you do, Susan. Mean to rush me.
    “Punched in the gut” is a great compliment, Dave. Thanks!

  20. judy says:

    i guess i got confused because after i read bad blook i went online and got the impression that the next book was coming out in 2014, my bad. i am bum out that i have to wait 2 years –oh man so bummed

  21. Dana says:

    In the grand tradition established by George R.R. Martin and Diana Gabaldon…sorry, Judy.

  22. Kate on Pine Creek says:

    I am happy to wait for the 21st Kate Shugak book. I am full of excitement as I think a rest for you away from the story will make this next one really a super duper extra great one. I would really love to see more Liam Campbell books also. More Dina and Bobby, and the park rats please?
    Peace !
    Kate on Pine Creek with Wild Rose the Airedale and Bill the cat.

  23. Dana says:

    Thanks, Kate.

  24. Kate on Pine Creek says:

    Thank YOU ! I forgot to say that every year just before the new Kate book comes out I read the whole series start to finish. We are pretty isolated, and winter has some pretty long nights. ;-)

  25. Sharon Linders says:

    When i read Bad Blood last year, I told my Mom to wait to read it till the next one came out! But now to wait till 2016 – well, she might as well go ahead. Thanks Dana, for mentioning Nooses Give, I just read the book again and will

  26. Dana says:

    Thank you, Sharon!

  27. cathy says:

    I don’t care what anyone else says. If you kill off Mutt, I’ll never read
    (ne:BUY) anything else you publish. Up to this point, I have them all.

  28. Dana says:

    I have been warned.

  29. Lori says:

    You said a few comments ago, “In the grand tradition established by George R.R. Martin and Diana Gabaldon”… well, Diana Gabaldon did post a few snippets from Written In My Own Heart’s Blood online…

    Pretty please? A Kate teaser?

  30. Robin says:

    Please don’t kill them off, give them a happy ending. have been my lifeline for the last few years. 2016 is too far, can’t you bring it forward.

  31. Robin says:

    I need a Kate fix, hope they live to be happy, and please don’t kill them off. Kate needs to find a way out, and mutt to live a long life. Really enjoy reading them. Keep it up

  32. Anita Hoffman says:

    I have all of your books thru audible except 1 Singing of yhe dead they don’t have that one ( I am sad about this)
    I really love your books and as 2 years is a long time to wait I will have to entertain myself to listening to the series again snd again. Mind you I just finished it for the 2nd time I drive a lot and I get plenty of time to listen. Not much time to read but I do some. LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.

  33. Dana says:

    Thanks, Anita.

  34. Mrs Lilian Flett says:

    Read Bad Blood first! Did not know it was last in a series .Eventually our library in DALKEITH ,Scotland got the others in but not in order. Just finished Restless in the Grave.
    I have raved about the series and I am so pleased to learn that Kate and Mutt are coming back in 2016.
    Hope I’ll reach my 77th birthday.

  35. Dana says:

    I hope you’ll reach your 107th!! Thanks so much, Lilian, especially for reading all of the books even when you began with That One. Which used to be what we called Hunter’s Moon, FYI.

  36. Nancy Jennings says:

    Dear Dana,
    I am so glad I found this thread and so relieved to know that there is another book coming. Sad I have to wait, but I can live with it. Thank you for sharing some insight into giving Kate A near death experience to set the stage for Kate 21. In the meantime I am reading your other non-Kate books.
    All the best,
    Farmington Hills (Detroit), MI

  37. Dana says:

    You’re welcome, Nancy!

  38. Winyan says:

    So relieved to hear the series will continue. I thought you said before that it was the end. But please, please, please, don’t kill Mutt. I could deal with pretty much anything else but that.

  39. Miri says:

    Dana, you originally said the next Kate book would be
    Feb 2015. Now you’re saying 2016?

  40. 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!

  41. Dana says:

    Yes, Miri, 2016.

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