Tundra Kill

Stan Jones. Bowhead (IPG, dist.), $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-9799803-8-1
Jones’s stellar fifth Nathan Active mystery (after 2009’s Village of the Ghost Bears) finds the former Alaska state trooper the newly appointed chief of public safety for the Chukchi Regional Borough, a region “bigger than 15 of the [lower] United States.” Active manfully strives to heal his partner Grace’s trauma from childhood incest, while he investigates a hit-and-run snowmobile homicide. He must also fight off the advances of Alaska’s gorgeous man-eating governor, Helen Mercer, who’s making a publicity-driven visit to her Chukchi home while contemplating a run for the White House. Active, who considers Mercer a “dangerous natural phenomenon,” learns that she’s willing to threaten anything or anybody, including Grace and her adopted daughter, Nita, to satisfy her personal and political desires. Jones, who was born in Alaska, uses his intimate knowledge of the state, his fondness for the Inupiat people and their traditions, and his eye for politicians’ excruciatingly funny incongruities to produce a well-rounded and appealing portrait of America’s Last Frontier. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 02/01/2016
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