first image


Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Murder Over Kodiak by Robin Barefield - a Review by Fran Joyce

Robin Barefield

Robin Barefield

I am always on the lookout for interesting books to review, so when I connected with Robin Barefield on LinkedIn, I was curious about her books.

Barefield is an Alaskan wilderness mystery writer. She has a master’s degree in fish and wildlife biology and is also a wildlife-viewing and fishing guide. She lives on Kodiak Island in Alaska where she and her husband own a remote lodge. 

103 Murder Over Kodiak.jpg

Barefield has written three novels set in the Alaskan wilderness. Her debut novel, Big Game was published in 2012. Murder Over Kodiak (July 2016) is her second novel featuring her heroine, Dr. Jane Marcus and The Fisherman’s Daughter was published in November 2017.


Combining the wild country of Alaska with the orderly routine of a research facility is an interesting challenge for Barefield’s character, Dr. Jane Marcus. Balancing both environments often requires more patience and diplomacy than Marcus can muster, but she loves her job and believes in the importance of the research being done at The Kodiak Braxton Marine Biology and Fisheries Research Center.

After two people died from eating shellfish dug up from area beaches, Marcus successfully identified the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in the source populations of the shellfish they consumed. When a third woman dies on the west side of Kodiak Island, Marcus sends her young assistant Craig by charter plane to dig up samples of the shellfish to test for the presence of PSP.

Craig and five other people are killed when their plane explodes during the return flight. Some important people were on that plane as well as some people with determined enemies. The authorities believe Craig was simply an innocent victim – the last person to be picked up by the charter. Marcus had sent Craig to do a job she usually handled; she feels responsible, and she is determined to find the guilty party. FBI Special Agent Nick Morgan seeks out Marcus’ help to solve the case and when Jane becomes the next target, there seem to be too many suspects and too little time.

Barefield weaves the unspoiled beauty of the Alaskan landscape and the community of Kodiak into an intricate murder mystery. She seamlessly merges fictional businesses, restaurants and hotels with actual places in Kodiak to create a cohesive setting. We also get to know Jane’s friends and coworkers along with some of the more colorful residents of Kodiak Island. Though we never get to meet Craig, we come to care about him through Jane's recollections of a young life ended too soon.

I enjoyed reading Murder Over Kodiak and I’m going to start The Fisherman’s Daughter next. I have a feeling I’ll be ordering Big Game for my Kindle Fire soon.

Robin Barefield’s books are available on You can also order one of her books on This Awful Awesome Life’s Author Page by using the Amazon purchase buttons provided for each title. Be sure to visit her author’s page on Amazon and her website, where you can sign up for her free monthly Mystery Newsletter about true crime in Alaska. She is currently at work on her fourth novel and a book about the wildlife of Kodiak Island.



May in Pictures for This Awful Awesome Life

My Best Memories of Bruno Sammartino: One of Pittsburgh's Most Popular Athletes by Jim O'Brien