White Sky, Black Ice introduces Nathan Active, an Alaska State Trooper starting his career far from the action he craves in the capital. However, he finds almost enough action to derail his career soon after it’s started in his assignment to the provincial town of Chukchi, where his birth mother lives. Active is himself Inupiat — what people in the lower 48 call “Eskimo” — by birth, and for the first time in his life he finds himself immersed in his native culture.
This is the first of four Nathan Active mysteries so far. The style is spare enough to match the minimalist landscape, the characters fit for the space they inhabit, and the plot clever but straightforward. It’s a promising start.
White Sky, Black Ice (Nathan Active #1) by Stan Jones @@@@ (4 out of 5)
The true value of this book for the reader — who, after all, has thousands of alternatives among crime and mystery novels — is Jones’ rendering of the stark landscape and, more significantly, his presentation of Inupiat culture. He himself was born in Anchorage and knows whereof he writes. White Sky, Black Ice is a fascinating journey into the minds of one of the Americas’ least well-known peoples.
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