Half Inuit and half outsider, Edie Kiglatuk is the best guide in her corner of the Arctic. But as a woman, she gets only grudging respect from the elders who rule her isolated community on Ellesmere Island. When a man is shot and killed while out on an “authentic” Arctic adventure under her watch, the murder attracts the attention of police sergeant Derek Palliser. As Edie sets out to discover what those tourists were really after, she is shocked by the suicide of someone very close to her. Though these events are seemingly unrelated, Edie’s Inuit hunter sensibility tells her otherwise. With or without Derek’s help, she is determined to find the key to this connection—a search that takes her beyond her small village and into the far reaches of the tundra.
White Heat is a stunning debut novel set in an utterly foreign culture amid an unforgiving landscape of ice and rock, of spirit ancestors and never-rotting bones. A suspense-filled adventure story that will captivate fans of Henning Mankell’s bestselling mysteries, this book marks the start of an exciting new series.
©2011 M. J. McGrath, Ltd. (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“M.J. McGrath opens a window onto a fascinating and disappearing culture in this haunting mystery.” (Parade)
I really enjoyed this story! The characters were very well developed and memorable, the narration was outstanding (leaving me with a no doubt false sense that I had a grasp of the Inuit language), and the plot and setting were great. Not the deepest book you'll ever read, but above average for a mystery, in my opinion. Listening to it through the heat of summer was especially refreshing as you enter a world where below freezing weather is comfortable and normal. A few inconsistencies in the story annoyed me, but they were quite minor (like the fact that she has a dog pack that conveniently appears in the story once or twice although she almost never has to feed or care for them). The dive into modern Inuit culture seemed (to my ignorant self) to be realistic, not overly romanticized as could so easily be the case. I wanted to spend time up there so badly by the end of the book....
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Edie Kiglatuk is an interesting and different sort of protagonist. She is half Inuit and half white, living in an extreme northern part of Canada, close to Greenland. The story depicts this community inhabiting an environment that is almost beyond my imagining, so harsh are the sub-zero temperatures, 24 hour dark (or daylight) for half the year, and conditions of poverty and tradition that have kept this area remote from the progress farther south. Though perhaps this proud people do not feel that a lack, but rather prefer to live with the lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and spirit closeness that they have always had.
Edie is a rare female guide. So when a man is murdered on an expedition she is leading, there is concern at first that she could lose her permit to be a guide. But that worry quickly drops behind other, more important elements, as her beloved step son is found, assumed to have committed suicide. She knows he would never do that, and that realization triggers her entrance into a dangerous adventure in conditions that are frightening in many dimensions. She believes the two deaths are related and feels she must investigate on her own. Edie proves to be a courageous and strong woman, who turns for some help to the police sergeant, who is dealing with his own emotional conflicts.
The narration is good, the story builds in suspense, and there are never any lags that have "filler" added to pad the book (or not in my opinion). Although it is rather a long book, there are no dull stretches at all, and the level of interest for the lore and information about the area was fascinating.
Half Inuit and half White, making her an outsider to both groups, Edie Kiglatuk is the best guide in her corner of the Arctic. But as a woman, she gets only grudging respect from the elders who rule her isolated community on Ellesmere Island. When a man is shot and killed while out on an "authentic" Arctic adventure under her watch, the murder
Is initially ignored by the tribal council with a cover-up story presented which she grudgingly signs off on because it allows her to keep her job. But when she tries to interest the resident police sergeant Derek Palliser, he doesn’t want to become involved. As Edie sets out to discover what those tourists were really after, the remaining tourist from her initial trip asks to be taken out again, and her step-son is assigned to be his guide. But the adventurer totally disappears, and while her step-son returns, he dies the next day from a drug over-dose, an alleged suicide. Though the murders and the suicide are seemingly unrelated, Edie believes that there are connections. With or without Derek's help, she is determined to find the key to this connection - a search that takes her beyond her small village and into the far reaches of the tundra.White
Heat is a stunning debut novel set in an utterly foreign culture amid an unforgiving landscape of ice and rock, of spirit ancestors and never-rotting bones.
This book hopefully is the start of an exciting new series. I can’t wait to read more about Edie.
Reader, writer, quilter, needleworker, Kentuckian.
I came across MJ McGrath on a list of 50 Crime Writers to Watch, and on that basis bought this book, her first in the series. I enjoyed it so much I immediately bought the second one and am now listening to it. The lead character, Edie Kiglatuk, is a half Inuit Canadian living on Ellesmere Island, the northernmost inhabited area in the world. The story begins with Edie, a part-time guide, leading a pair of hunters into the cold icy reaches of the Island. One of the hunters is shot and killed, opening a tangled plot that twists and turns with unforeseen but connected revelations. While elements of the plot are fairly commonly seen in crime stories, the author does an excellent job of connecting the details to the environment and the culture in which the action takes place. It doesn't feel like a criminal plot that could have taken place anywhere, but needed to be in that place. And the evocation of place is rich and detailed without ever being pedantic. Clearly the writer knows this place and this culture. I think McGrath has a strong beginning toward carving out a place writing about the North and the Inuits with the same engagement, realism, and respect that Tony Hillerman wrote about the Navajo. And if you've ever read Hillerman (and really, you should) you know that is high praise indeed. I recommend this book.
The reader handles the material well, and in no way steps on or distracts from the story. Her style is fairly even and doesn't modulate with the events in the story very much, but this book is not harmed by that fact. It is an overall enjoyable "read".
Now one of my favorites, White Heat plunges you into a foreign world for most of us...Inuit. On top of a stellar performance by both author and narrator, you get a book combined with mystery and anthropology. I didn't know much about Inuits, or "Eskimos" as I had referred to them before this read, and came away with a deep respect and fascination of their customs and thinking. Us "Southerns", as they call us, should read this book both for the fiction and the history lesson.
The main and supporting characters are all fascinating and all bring something to the book.
I guess the main character, Edie Kiglatuk, would have to be my favorite. Kate Reading does an amazing job voicing her and pronouncing the Inuit language.
A must read for any mystery lover!
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