Bear Country and Murder by Michael Smith is a 37-page crime story set in Alaska. Police Chief Kesuk Tikani of Kake, Alaska was not happy with his new hire deputy sheriff, Zane Perelli. True, he needed a new deputy and he had chosen big city cop Zane to fill the position, but that was only because of a recommendation from his best friend, Tommy Mitchell, a Philadelphia detective. The Chief emphasized that there was no violent crime in Kake; there had only been one murder case in 120 years. The Chief worried there would not be enough excitement for Zane, he would either quit or get eaten by bears.
Zane seemed to be an action magnet. Part of Zane’s pay was in the form of a house to stay while employed. His landlord was Kima Suka who also was the town’s other deputy. Only hours after moving into his house, Zane awoke to the sound of a shot and the presence of a body. A man had been shot in the forehead. A contact wound indicated an execution. Deputy Kima, a neighbor in one-half the duplex Zane occupied, responded to the shot and attempted to arrest Zane.
Of course, Zane did not shoot the man found dead, a man who was also a cop. Zane was not who he appeared to be. He was not a big city cop. Instead, he had a connection to the military. This story almost has too many elements for thirty-seven pages. There are guns, drugs, undercover cops, disaffected military types, former gang members, and the possibility of bears which will leave hibernation early. There is cultural conflict as police with indigenous sounding names are forced to work with big city law enforcement.
I felt the story had too many moving parts and while it was entertaining, it was also at times confusing. I gave this three Amazon stars. This short story is available through Kindle Unlimited.