I’ve just finished listening to the audiobook version of M. J. McGrath’s White Heat, a recently published mystery novel (and hopefully the first of a series) set in a small community on Ellesmere Island, or Umingmak Nuna, as it is called by the Inuit.
Half Inuit and half outsider, Edie Kiglatuk earns part of her income by guiding “southerners”, usually qalunaat adventurers, around her region of the Arctic. When one of her charges is shot and killed during an alleged duck-hunting expedition, Edie strongly suspects foul play. Her community’s elders are reluctant to take up this idea, partly because they don’t want to attract unwanted attention from outsiders, and partly because their respect for Edie, an outspoken woman, is only grudging at best. She must, therefore, turn to police sergeant Derek Palliser for help, especially when events lead to a personal tragedy.
Narrator Kate Reading does a good job of distinguishing the characters’ voices and capturing moments of quiet humour with her low-key delivery and sense of timing. I am not an expert on the various accents that she employs, but she seems to handle them comfortably. I found that the story took a little long to finish (there were various ends to tie up), but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
The downloadable audio version is available in both WMA and MP3 formats from our digital catalogue. What’s nice is that this is an "always available" title, meaning that you won’t ever have to go on a waiting list for it. If you prefer a copy in good old print format, however, you may certainly request one through our regular catalogue.
Readers who enjoy White Heat might like to try Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg, or Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series.