I’m assisting with an anthology slated to come out later this year, a collection of narratives by some of the world’s best mystery writers who, thanks to the astounding efforts of Alaska Sisters in Crime, visited some of the farthest-flung corners of Alaska, places that many of us will never be privileged to see.

More than one has written about how Alaska is the perfect place to set a mystery. Isolation, volatile issues, natural hazards, and a transient element up the ante for crafting a mystery. Great reads by John Straley, Dana Stabenow, Sue Henry, and Mike Doogan prove up on the possibilities.

Tragically, real life violence mirrors fiction. In 2003-2004, there were 134 suicides per 100,000 people in Alaska, compared to 10.9 as the US average. In the same year, there were 41 homicides per 100,000 in Alaska, compared to 6 as the US average.

The dark side of the frontier: alcohol abuse, depression, violence. It’s all too real. Complex forces create what is by an standard an alarming issue. Good people work hard to address them. We learn much from the survivors, those who live and love and laugh and learn and forge communities that foster joy instead of despair.

Scroll to Top