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White Heat by M. J. McGrath
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White Heat (original 2011; edition 2011)

by M. J. McGrath

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1871863,175 (3.41)14
Member:elkiedee
Title:White Heat
Authors:M. J. McGrath
Info:Mantle (2011), Kindle Edition, 397 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle, Crime fiction, Acquired 2012, Read 2012
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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White Heat by M. J. McGrath (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This is an excellent first book by McGrath. Set in the Canadian Arctic region the main character is Edie Kiglatuk, a hunter and guide living with the traditions of the Inuit culture. This is a story of crime woven with the complexities of culture and of relationships. When a her ex husbands son dies, she sets out to solve the reason behind his death. A crime in the setting of snow, ice, seasons, culture, tradition, and greed. It is a well told tale which had me enthralled throughout. I would recommend this as a good read. ( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
White Heat is one of the best evocations of place that I have read in a long, long time. I'm fortunate that I decided to read the book in the summer; otherwise, I might have gotten frostbite. McGrath paints a fascinating portrait of the Inuit people high up in the Canadian Arctic: what the typical village is like, the typical home, transportation, medicine, education, Inuit customs and history, and more. All this information blends seamlessly into the story. Some of the information is disturbing, some of it makes good appetite suppressants (I'll never visit the area to sample its cuisine), and all of it is fascinating.

Add in an intriguing mystery that has everything to do with the landscape, a remote chapter of its history, and bad guys whose motives are unclear, and you've got two-thirds of an excellent mystery.

The final third is the cast, and McGrath has created two very memorable characters in Sergeant Derek Palliser and Edie Kiglatuk. Palliser falls in love with the wrong women and spends a lot of time studying lemmings instead of doing police work, but that doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with how well he does his paying job. This man has depth.

What Edie Kiglatuk has goes way beyond mere depth. This woman is an ex-polar bear hunter-- one of the best in the entire area before she began drinking too much. To be a polar bear hunter, you have to be smart, you have to be able to think and react quickly, you have to know your terrain, and you have to be brave. Edie is all of these. She's also an excellent teacher, and I loved the scenes showing how she manages to teach her class of Inuit children how to survive in their own world as well as the world of the white man. If Edie has a flaw, it's her emotional entanglements, and those can and do lead her astray.

After reading the digital short story "Edie Kiglatuk's Christmas," I had the feeling that I would really enjoy the series, so I'm very glad I bought the first two books. When I'm ready to risk fictional frostbite once again, I have the second book, The Boy in the Snow, waiting for me. ( )
1 vote cathyskye | Aug 3, 2014 |
So White Heat may take place in the most far-flung locale of any book I’ve read this year: Ellesmere Island in the Arctic, part of the Nunavut territory of Canada. The main character is Edie Kiglatuk, who is half Inuit, and she is a hunting guide and teacher who investigates the mysterious death of one outsider (a man she led on a hunting expedition) and the apparent suicide of her former stepson Joe. She works by herself for most of the book, in true amateur PI fashion, and part of the time she works with Derek Palliser, a member of the High Arctic Police Service who also happens to be part Inuit.

The setting is key: the people, the society, the outsiders who move or visit Ellesmere Island, the land. McGrath spends a lot of time describing Edie’s travels during the investigation and what measures she takes to survive the cold, and those passages make the setting more accessible to someone like me who’s never been to the Arctic.

I only have minor quibbles with the book, and those are that Edie’s dialogue toward the end feels a bit preachy and that the pacing feels a bit slow in spots. I’m picky about PI novels because I’ve overdosed on them over the last twenty years. I go into a PI novel a bit skeptical that the protagonist can reach the conclusion on her own. That being said, I did enjoy this book a great deal.
  rkreish | Oct 30, 2013 |
Far from brilliant writing but fascinating in its descriptions of life in the High Arctic. ( )
  evaberry | Aug 21, 2013 |
I can't do it. The writing is sooooooooooo bad. It's just clunky description after confusing sentence. I hate the structure of it. This is what happens when journalists try to write prose. They should stick to their clear, concise style - especially for a G-D mystery! There isn't anything wrong with clear writing in a mystery.
  evforija | Apr 15, 2013 |
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Während sie einen Brocken vom Eisberg schmolz, um Tee zu kochen, grübelte Edie Kiglatuk darüber nach, weshalb diese Jagdexpedition so vollkommen erfolglos verlief.
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Investigating the murder of an adventurist under her watch, half-Inuit Arctic guide Edie Kiglatuk teams up with police sergeant Derek Palliser when she realizes that the victim's tour group was searching for something specific.

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