This is one of those books that throws you right into the scene with the characters, who have a whole lot of background together and independently that kind of seeps out at you by a variety of show and tells. I had to check more than once that this was actually the first book of the series, because I really felt like I was missing some larger story. I would have liked to have read more about Kate's run in with the pedophile, the one who had cut her throat in such a terrible way.
Apparently there are a lot of alcoholics in Alaska. Also, outhouses and Russian ancestry. The latter I was unfamiliar with, but I suppose it makes sense given their their propensity for trapping beavers and sea otters. The more I read about Russian history in Alaska, the more they sound like dicks.
I wanted to know more about Chopper Jim. He was more interesting to me than Jack, though the latter's intense fear of heights was an interesting flaw in a main male character.