June 26th, 2005


White Sky, Black Ice, Stan Jones

White Sky, Black Ice
Stan Jones
Best Price $3.38
or Buy New $10.40
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I picked up Stan Jones' book White Ice, Black Ice because it's published by Soho Crime, who put out Death of a Red Heroine which I loved so much. Soho puts out a lot of international mysteries. They are nice because you can get some insight into a different culture in the warm comfort of a mystery novel.

The title of White Sky comes from the expansive Arctic region in which the novel is set. Black ice is the type of ice that is dangerous to tread upon. White ice, with pressure cracks etc. is safe. But dark newly fresh ice is passing through the color of the water below. The setting is Chukchi, Alaska, and Nathan Active is an Alaska State Trooper who got stuck in the desolate Chukchi for his first assignment. It's his birthplace, though his alcoholic teenage mother had adopted him out to the white teachers who raised Nathan in Anchorage. He's nalauqmiyaaq, not feeling at home either in the white man's world of Anchorage or the Inupiaq town of Chukchi.

The mystery is two Inupiaq who have committed suicide within the span of two days. Most of the locals put the deaths to the fault of liquor. Nathan thinks there's something more thoug because both men shot themselves in the throat. And, of course, he's right.

It's not a particularly involved or original story. The plot's been done a thousand times before. But the characters and the setting are what make the book wonderful. Reading about the Inupiaq first through a non-fiction tome loses the feeling of realness. Getting it through a story is fun. Almost makes me want to head up to the wilds of Alaska. Of course, I'm too pampered so I'll probably make do with the next book in this series.

Jones, Stan, 1947 —
White sky, black ice / Stan Jones.
ISBN 1-56947-333-1
1. Eskimos—Alaska—Fiction.
PS3560.O539W45 1999