Reading the North

Mojo's Magical Ride

By Shannon Basner (Publish American)

The blurb: The story of a rescue dog named Mojo, who lost his ability to walk but still overcame challenges

Excerpt: "Mojo's eyes wandered nervously as he gazed around the new and unfamiliar surroundings. He barked incessantly and charged at the strangeness around him.

"The ride here was long, cold and difficult. 5 dogs loaded up into a horse trailer for 5 hours, leaving a place of filth and neglect, not knowing what was coming their way.

"From Sterling to Anchorage, they all made the ride successfully. Bob and Sam made it up the day before; they continued to hide in one of the doghouses.

"We unloaded each dog from the horse trailer and carried him or her carefully into the yard.

"Slowly, one by one, each one was released into the yard. All of us stood by to supervise and watched their body language. There was an intense panic, pacing and panting. They all didn't know what to do; they were all scared and confused."

In Broad Daylight

By Seth Harwood (Thomas & Mercer)

The blurb: The novel centers on FBI agent Jess Harding, who tracked a serial killer five years ago on the streets of Anchorage before the killings stopped and the trail went cold. Now based in San Francisco, Harding returns to Alaska after a murder points to her old nemesis.

Excerpt: "It all started again that morning in Anchorage, as it had five summers before. I knew the case better than anyone, well enough that I was called back from the San Francisco office at the very first telltale sign.

"They found her with both wrists tied -- barbed wire again. We'd always been careful to keep this particular detail out of the press, our one fail-safe to eliminate copycats, phonies, and wannabes. Too many of the other details were also the same: he'd left writing in blood on the kitchen walls, hit her in the head with a narrow blunt object. This, and it happened during the white nights. Everything with him was always late at night in the summer, when Alaska never got fully dark."

Still Points North

By Leigh Newman (The Dial Press)

The blurb: The deputy editor and head of books coverage for shares the story of her children split spending summers in Alaska with her father and winters in Baltimore with her mother.

Excerpt: "In the largest state in the Union, a state built on gold rushes and oil pipelines, ninety-pound king salmon and twenty-pound king crabs, a lot of things come prefaced by the phrase Great Alaskan. There's the Great Alaskan Salmon Bake and the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show and the legendary 8.6 Great Alaskan Earthquake and, of course, a species of larger-than-life male citizen, who shall be referred to from here on out as the Great Alaskan Dad.

"Some identifiers: The Great Alaskan Dad flies his plane on floats in the summer and on skis in the winter. He hunts for caribou, moose, wild sheep, wild goats, geese, and ducks, plus fishes for halibut, salmon, and trout. No matter where he goes, his outfit remains the same: falling-down hip boots, patched wool pants, drugstore sunglasses with Polaroid lenses for spotting fish underwater, and a Stearns life jacket with a red plastic tag that reads PULL-IN-THE-CASE-OF-AN-EMERGENCY, which has never been pulled, despite his frequent, always almost fatal emergencies. A buck knife -- the blade stained with dried unidentified blood and slime -- dangles from a lanyard somewhere on his person."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News