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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Frozen Sun by Stan Jones

Frozen Sun by Stan Jones – Alaskan State Trooper, Nathan Active, is asked by Jason Palmer, principal of the Chukchi school, to find his daughter, Grace Sikingik, as his wife, Ida, is dying of liver cancer. (Her liver problems have been traced to hepatitis tainted blood she received when giving birth to their son. It is a story with which I am sadly familiar from my work representing Canadian hemophiliacs and blood transfused infected with HIV and Hepatitis C through the blood system.)

The stunningly beautiful Grace, Miss North World, has disappeared after moving to Anchorage to attend university. (The cover photo above by the author is a vivid evocation of the fictional Grace.) The last the family has heard is that Grace was on Four Street. The infamous street, filled with strip clubs and cheap bars, has been the end for many young indigenous Alaskans who have left their rural homes for the city lights.

Nathan sends the little information he has on Grace to a friend on the Anchorage Police Department. Nathan expects little as years have passed since Grace was last seen in Anchorage.

Back in Chukchi, Nathan’s relationship with Lucy Generous, a detachment dispatcher, is sexually intense and emotionally charged. Lucy describes their sex as “melting bliss”. Lucy yearns for more than a handsome trooper to share her bed. Nathan finds it hard to commit more to their relationship. He has yet to resolve a sense of abandonment over his Inupiat mother, Martha, giving him up for adoption as a baby.

Lucy is dismayed when she sees Nathan entranced by the photo mural of the exquisite beauty queen Grace on the school wall. She senses an attraction for Nathan that he has never felt for her. Grace’s fox eyed loveliness has beguiled her Nathan.

The relationship is further challenged when Nathan, designated to go to Anchorage for computer training, decides he will spend some time looking for Grace on Four Street.

What could have taken the lovely intelligent Grace to using drink and sex on Four Street to reach oblivion?

Nathan’s quest for Grace takes him past Anchorage to other distant edges of Alaska. What he finds laves him forced to consider societal and family relationships.

The author takes on some big issues from a northern perspective. While I found the resolution predictable I admire the willingness of Jones to approach big issues from a wider perspective than authors committed to expressing a message in their books.

At the end there were a pair of remarkable court cases. One managed to induce the rare combination of disgust and laughter. The other displayed a cunning manipulation of the judicial system.

The northwest coast of Alaska, the northwest corner of North America, is a wild and rugged land. Jones creates vivid images of the country and people of Chukchi. I have come to love my book visits to Chukchi in the same way I enjoy going to the fictional village of Three Pines in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in the Inspector Gamache series of Louise Penny.

Each book in the Nathan Active series deals with an issue of modern indigenous life. In Frozen Sun it is the tremendous challenge of adaptation from rural to urban life.

Frozen Sun is a good mystery. It is a better exploration of life and love and loss. (Feb. 3/13)
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My reviews of the earlier books in the Nathan Active series and a profile of Stan Jones can be found at the following links - (2009) - White Sky, Black Ice; (2010) - Shaman Pass; (2012) - "J" is for Stan Jones
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I expect to have an interview with author, Stan Jones, next weekend. I anticipate having a post with questions and answers shortly after.

6 comments:

  1. Have you read M.J. McGrath's 'White Heat' set among the Inuit? I liked it very much.

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  2. Bill - I like Jones' evocation of Alaska very much too. And you're quite right that Jones does an effective job of taking on larger issues without preaching. That's a very difficult balance to achieve. And Nathan Active's personal journey to resolve his own issues is done I think authentically without making him the all-too-stereotypically 'haunted detective.'

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  3. You're further along in the series than I am. Have read the first two. I'll have to catch-up on this one.

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  4. Dr. Evangelicus: Thanks for the comment. I have not read "White Heat". I have read other comments praising the book.

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  5. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I have found Nathan has issues comparable to all of us rather than the extremes of some sleuths.

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  6. Rob: Thanks for the comment. I hope you are able to read "Frozen Sun" in the near future.

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