The Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at Mysteries in
Paradise has almost reached the half-way point of the alphabet. For “J” I am profiling Alaskan author, Stan Jones. He features State Trooper, Nathan Active, in his series.
Stan was born in
and spent a few years in Anchorage, Alaska with his parents before they returned to Tennessee when he was 12. Alaska
I spent a pleasant but basically aimless life until I moved to the Inupiat Eskimo village Kotzebue in my late twenties. I found the lovely, barren Arctic landscape absolutely mesmerizing, the extreme climate a joy, and the Native culture fascinating. I landed Bush planes on the sea ice, drove snowmachines over the tundra, hunted moose and caribou, and once helped paddle a sealskin umiaq in pursuit of a bowhead whale on the
off Point Hope. Chukchi Sea
With 3,201 people it is the largest centre in the Northwest Arctic Borough and no place to get a sun tan. It is reported that there are an average of 5 days a year over 21C.
After departing Kotzebue Jones has worked as a journalist. His investigations include reports on the Exxon Valdez spill and he has co-authored a non-fiction book on the topic, The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez Disaster.
Jones speaks of the influence of Kotzebue:
After I left Kotzebue, I found the country, weather and people of
Northwest Alaska more interesting than ever, and so started the Nathan Active series. The fictional is modeled on Kotzebue in many respects, and some of the characters in the series are loosely crafted around real people I knew. village of Chukchi
I have read the first two books in the Nathan Active series – White Sky Black Ice and
I enjoyed both of them. White Sky Black Ice tied for Third Most Interesting in Bill’s Best of 2009. It was also my entry in "J" in last year's Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme. Shaman Pass. tied for Third Best Fiction in Bill’s Best of 2010. Shaman Pass
Jones has an ability to create an interesting mystery that is firmly placed in the people and geography of its location.
He also has a keen appreciation of the Inuit people of
Northwest Alaska. In my review of Shaman Pass I said:
The importance of humour in indigenous life is constantly present in the book. Jones evokes the playful exchanges between indigenous people – not quite teasing, not really needling, on the edge of sarcastic, occasionally biting, always entertaining.
He evokes precisely the language I am used to when dealing with my Cree Indian clients.
Finally, I enjoyed exchanging emails with him. He promptly replied to each of my contacts.
I look forward to reading more in the series.
Bill - I am very glad you profiled Jones. He's got a very interesting background which I appreciate your sharing. And I agree that his writing evokes the place very effectively. He is also both respectful to and honest about the indigenous people in that area when he writes. A great choice for J.ReplyDelete
Very good overview and an interesting author. You convey your enthusiasm for his books very well. Adding him to my ever growing list.ReplyDelete
Unusual place for an author to live, but looks interesting.ReplyDelete
Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope the series can be extended.ReplyDelete
TracyK: Thanks for commenting. Jones is an author worth getting excited about reading.ReplyDelete
Scott: Thanks for the comment. Jones lives in the large city of Anchorage but Kotzebue is on the perimeter of the world.ReplyDelete
I've read about Stan Jones around and about in the mystery readers' blogosphere and have been thinking of getting his books out of the library.ReplyDelete
Then a friend who loves to read about Canada appeared with an armful of fiction set in the noble North -- and it includes books by Jones.
Great to read that he has lived with and knows Indigenous peoples.
kathy d.: Thanks for the comment. Jones is an interesting author. His mysteries could not take place anywhere othar than the Northwest coast of Alaska.ReplyDelete