Sunday, November 6, 2011

White Heat by M. J. McGrath

Author:M. J. McGrath
Publisher: Penguin Group (August 2011)
Audio by Blackstone Audio. Inc.

Nothing on the tundra rotted ...The whole history of human settlement lay exposed there, under that big northern sky. There was nowhere here for bones to hide. On Craig Island, a vast landscape of ice north of the Arctic Circle, three travellers are hunting duck. Among them is expert Inuit hunter and guide, Edie Kiglatuk; a woman born of this harsh, beautiful terrain. The two men are tourists, experiencing Arctic life in the raw, but when one of the men is shot dead in mysterious circumstances, the local Council of Elders in the tiny settlement of Autisaq is keen to dismiss it as an accident. Then two adventurers arrive in Autisaq hoping to search for the remains of the legendary Victorian explorer Sir James Fairfax. The men hire Edie - whose ancestor Welatok guided Fairfax - along with Edie's stepson Joe, and two parties set off in different directions. Four days later, Joe returns to Autisaq frostbitten, hypothermic and disoriented, to report his man missing. And when things take an even darker turn, Edie finds herself heartbroken, and facing the greatest challenge of her life...

White Heat is beautifully written.  The author did a wonderful job of describing the area in which the story took place.  As I was reading, I really felt like I had been dropped into the Arctic region.  Her descriptions of the landscape make me want to visit there myself someday.  I also really liked her characters.  Edie was so believable and not without fault.   I want to know more about her and I hope that the author visits her again.  I also enjoyed the friendship that develops between Edie and Derek.  It was appropriately not romantic and therefore more believable.  

While I enjoyed this one, I thought it was a bit long.  There was definitely some content that could have been cut out as I felt it was not necessary to the advancement of the story.  I listened to the audio version and I enjoyed the Kate Reading's (the narrator) voice.  Her accent in pronouncing the Inuit names and dialect gave the story a genuine feel.


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