Hi everyone My name is Victoria Zumbrum, 40 years old, married 14 years with 1 son. This is my very first blog. So bear with me. I have always wanted to have my own blog. I have always loved to read. I enjoy getting lost in a good book.
I love becoming part of the story and characters. I am hoping to bring my love of books to my readers.

I love reading different genres such as paranormal, young adult, romance, romantic suspense, mystery, Christian fiction, some horror, etc. The list goes on. I started reviewing books a couple of years ago and have done reviews for different blogs and even some authors. I really have enjoyed reviewing books and I will continue to do so. If anyone is interested in me reviewing a book for them, please contact me. I still have a lot to learn regarding my own blog so bear with me. I welcome and appreciate all followers.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Death in Dutch Harbor by D. MacNeill Parker

Synopsis (from Amazon):

When two murders strain the police force of a remote Alaskan fishing port, veterinarian Maureen McMurtry is tapped by Dutch Harbor’s police chief for forensic assistance. The doctor’s got a past she’d rather not discuss, a gun in her closet, and a retired police dog that hasn’t lost her chops. All come in handy as she deciphers the cause and time of death of a local drug addict washed ashore with dead sea lions and an environmentalist found in a crab pot hauled from the sea in the net of a fishing vessel.

 When her romantic relationship with a boat captain is swamped by mounting evidence that he’s the prime suspect in one of the murders, McMurtry struggles with her own doubts to prove his innocence. But can she? McMurtry’s pals, a manager of the Bering Sea crab fishery and another who tends Alaska’s most dangerous bar assist in unraveling the sinister truth.


D. MacNeill Parker


Eric took the blanket he’d laid on the ice bench and draped it over the guy’s shoulders; just a kid, really. He folded the kid's hands so they lay on his lap and packed ice at his sides so he would remain secure for the rough ride back to port. Reaching into the chest pocket of his own jacket, he removed a pack of cigarettes. His hand shook as he lit two.

“We smoke the same brand,” he said, bending to wedge one in Guy’s gray lips. He smoked the other cigarette, all the while talking to the kid as if his spirit lingered nearby. “What a bummer,” he said, “dying so young.” He told the kid he would be missed by someone and promised to get him home. Hearing his voice crack, Eric turned away as if he didn’t want Guy to see him that way. Then he closed the freezer door.

Guy sat in the bait locker, the cigarette still hanging from his lips. The freezing temperature caused the saltwater on his eyelashes and beard to crystallize. He looked as if he were climbing Mt. Everest instead of sitting propped-up, dead in a fishing boat bait locker headed to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.


D. MacNeill Parker



How did you research your book?

Research was not required. Write what you know, right? As a longtime participant in the Alaska fishing industry, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use my experience as the backdrop to this book. What could be more intriguing than creating a world where commercial fishing and murder meet? However, I knew nothing about police dogs and so made an inquiry with the Seattle Police K9 Unit. They invited me to their training site. I was so appreciative, I named the dog in the book after the K9 Unit shepherd, CoCo.


Which was the hardest character to write?

The arch villain. It was difficult for me to navigate how to leave clues without giving away the identity of the culprit. The protagonist was a bit of a struggle, a learning experience really. Because the book is written in third person, I wrote many revisions trying out ways to best express what was inside her head.


Which was the easiest?

The police chief was the easiest character to write. I have no idea why.


Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

Aside from my own experience at sea as a fisherman that included surviving a boat that sank off the coast of Kodiak, I’ve heard many sea stories, most far more interesting than my own. There’s something about living on the edge of civilization where your life is at the mercy of Mother Nature and your survival may depend on the skill of your crew mates that is made for drama.


There are many crime mystery books out there. What makes yours different?

As a former fisherman married to a fishing boat captain, and with a career as a journalist, fisheries specialist for the State of Alaska and a seafood company executive, I’ve got the credentials to pull off authenticity. And along the way, the reader will learn a lot about Alaska and commercial fishing.


What advice would you give budding writers?

Just do it! Take creative writing courses on story structure and join a writing group so that it becomes a hands-on learning project. It’s fun, so you’ve got nothing to lose.


Your book is set in Alaska. Have you ever been there?

Our family lived in Alaska for many years and still participates in the Alaska fishing industry. One of our sons is at sea now. More specifically, I have been to Dutch Harbor, Alaska where the story unfolds. Dutch Harbor is a real place, now famous to fans of the television show, Deadliest Catch. It’s the nation's busiest fishing port even though it’s located in the remote Aleutian Islands, halfway to Russia because that’s where the fish swim. I’ve experienced its famous white knuckler airplane landings and drank my share of beer at a well-known saloon there famed as Alaska’s most dangerous bar.


Do you ever get writer’s block?

No, never. Isn’t that terrific? I’m sure my former career as a journalist helps launch me into my task without much trepidation. But it’s not unusual for me to go back  after writing a scene and delete the first few paragraphs as if they were just a warm-up exercise.


What’s your next project?

I’m currently writing the second book of the series. So if you like the characters that inhabit DEATH IN DUTCH HARBOR, you can revisit them.


What is the last great book you read?

I could not put down the book, HORSE, by Geraldine Brooks. Its historical fiction, based on a real racehorse that was trained by a slave. The mystery unravels through the point of view of different characters, some in the present and some in the past. It tackles racism in a unique and poignant manner.


What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

A few friends have called me in the morning after staying up all night reading the book. They’d been unable to put it down and their voices still transmitted excitement. It doesn’t get much better than that.


How are you similar or different from your lead character?

Well, I’m not a veterinarian, my hair is not red, and I don’t engage in sleuthing about in dark places. But I was about the doc’s age when I moved to Alaska, so the wonder of beholding the last frontier for the first time was something I purposely injected into the character.


If your book were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?

Now that’s a fun question! The book is very visual and would make a great movie so please be sure to send any interested producers my way. Off the top of my head, Emma Stone comes to mind. It’s not because her hair is red like Doctor Mo’s, it’s because they seem to share a sassy intrepidness, smarts and sense of humor. George Clooney as One-Eye Ben. That’s an inside joke which you’ll get when you read the book.


In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

Because I am a debut author, it was like stumbling around in a hailstorm, knocking on the doors of strangers in hopes of finding shelter.


What authors inspired you to write?

There were many authors that inspired me to write like Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, Craig Johnson, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Martin Cruz Smith, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie and Dashell Hammett but the book that lit a writing fire under me as a teenager was John Barth’s book, The Sot-Weed Factor. It’s a wild ride of historical fiction that showed me there was no limit to using your imagination when crafting a yarn.


What is something you had to cut from your book that you wish you could have kept?

There was a scene between Dr. Mo and her pal, Patsy, in a restaurant that was painful to cut. Patsy, one of my favorite characters, used salt and pepper shakers, hot sauce and catsup bottles and a fork to make a point about the doc’s messed-up personal life. It was near the end of the book where the pace had escalated. The scene slowed things down and, gulp, had to go. I hope to find a place for it in the second book!


Where do you write?

I have a writing studio in the backyard. It was a shed that my amazing husband upgraded for me, including installation of a large window at my desk where I can watch the ducks swim by in the creek. I am a lucky woman.


What is your writing schedule?

I find that writing in the morning suits me best. I think it’s because I’m still connected to my subconscious at that time of day. As a Pantser, I write by the seat of my pants, so it’s important to keep my head plugged into my imagination rather than cluttered with the banal practicalities of the real world. 








Author Bio:


D. MacNeill Parker and her family are long time participants in the Alaska fishing industry. In addition to fishing for halibut, salmon, crab, and cod, she’s been a journalist, a fisheries specialist for the State of Alaska, and a seafood company executive. She’s travelled to most ports in Alaska, trekked mountains in the Chugach range, rafted the Chulitna River, worked in hunting camps, and survived a boat that went down off the coast of Kodiak. Parker’s been to Dutch Harbor many times experiencing her share of white knuckler airplane landings and beer at the Elbow Room, famed as Alaska’s most dangerous bar. While the characters in this book leapt from her imagination, they thrive in this authentic setting. She loves Alaska, the sea, a good yarn and her amazing family.




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“From the first scene, she evokes the real Dutch Harbor and the dynamic people who call it home. It’s a roaring mystery that braids together oil rigs, fishing, sea lions and the kind of Russians we love to hate. Death in Dutch Harbor is a must read for anyone who wants to vicariously experience a rugged world on the edge of an unforgiving sea”

—  Lori Swanson, Former Director Marine Conservation Alliance, Federal Fishery Observer


“Any fan of the Deadliest Catch television show should reach for this book!”

—Captain Sig Hansen, FV Northwestern and a star of the Deadliest Catch TV series


Death in Dutch Harbor grabbed me at the outset and did not let go. Right away you can tell Ms. Parker knows the issues facing the fishing industry in the Bering Sea. She weaves them into the tale and uses her characters to draw the reader deeper into the murder mystery.”

— Frank Kelty, Former Mayor of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska


“What a banging beginning for this author. Parker successfully tied together the multiple themes with strong characters, especially the women, with a believable and exciting plot. I recommend this book and look forward to Parker’s next novel.”

— Men Reading Books


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