********Cross Posted from Marina's Musings (marinafontaine.blogspot.com)*******
Alaska Hunt is marketed mostly as M/M romance due to the nature of its publisher, but to pigeonhole it that way would be to sell it short. It is primarily a mystery/psychological thriller that contains a strong romantic element. The setting in Alaska gives it a different feel from most mysteries, and the protagonist is not a professional detective, but someone who takes extra interest in the case partly for personal reasons. And then, predictably enough, it gets REALLY personal.
The romance subplot comes naturally enough within the story, not just the usual "let's throw in a love interest" trope. It is an M/M romance between adults, one of whom is fairly comfortable in his own skin and the other is still figuring out his sexual preferences, but beyond that both of them have to decide where they belong and what they want to do with their lives. There's mystery to solve, tragedy and loss to overcome, and all the while, mortal danger is just around the corner ... The writing style can be somewhat disorienting in its combination of highly descriptive, almost flowery prose with a decidedly hard-boiled, unabashedly masculine vibe (think Andrew Klavan meets Nora Roberts). But then again, that's what makes it interesting to a reader who is open to trying something new.
I liked the variety of intertwining themes of the novel: healthy respect vs. worship of nature; modern man's quest for fulfillment vs. individual responsibility; and the many facets of what constitutes romantic love.
The mystery itself gives plenty of clues to anyone paying attention (although there is a good reason for the protagonist to be slow on the uptake), and so the Big Reveal is not particularly shocking, but the extra-thrilling final confrontation is still a nail-biter, and the ending is satisfying on every level.
I recommend this novel to any avid reader looking for a change in their usual fair. No matter you normal reading preferences, you are likely to find something in here to appreciate. Read it for the mystery, or the "non-traditional" romance, or for the vicarious trip to Alaska that you get from the vivid prose. Whatever your particular reason, it's worth checking out.