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White Heat: A Novel Hardcover – August 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (August 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022489
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''M.J. McGrath opens a window onto a fascinating and disappearing culture in this haunting mystery.'' --Parade

''The most addictive character -- both hero and villain of the piece -- is the Arctic itself. It makes a seductive location for a thriller, a land of wonder and terror shut in darkness for months of the year, a place in which temperatures rarely rise above freezing and, in winter, regularly fall below -40ºC.'' --Telegraph (London)

''She weaves a strong strand of whodunit into a broader story about life in a twenty-first-century community on Canada's Ellesmere Island. The plot is wholly satisfying, and McGrath's portrait of a culture that uneasily blends yesterday and today is engrossing on its own merits. The Arctic is a big place -- big enough, one hopes, for Edie Kiglatuk to find another mystery that needs solving between warm bowls of seal blood soup fresh from the microwave.'' --Associated Press

''White Heat is a blazing star of a thriller: vivid, tightly-sprung, and satisfying on all levels. Encountering Edie Kiglatuk, the toughest, smartest Arctic heroine since Miss Smilla, left me with that rare feeling of privilege you get on meeting extraordinary people in real life. A huge achievement.'' --Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture

''M. J. McGrath's White Heat pulls you along like a steel cable, inexorably welding you to the characters and a place that you'll never forget.'' --Craig Johnson, author of The Cold Dish and Hell is Empty

''An arctic setting so real it'll give you frostbite.''--Dana Stabenow, author of A Cold Day for Murder

''M. J. McGrath's White Heat is a tour de force, a book with a stunning grip on all the elements that make a mystery story great. The characters are unique and profoundly human, the plot wonderfully labyrinthine, and the sense of place beautifully -- chillingly -- evoked. I challenge any reader to pick up this marvelous novel and not be completely mesmerized.'' --William Kent Kreuger, author of Vermillion Drift

''With a poet's confidence McGrath makes an unforgiving Arctic landscape, and then gives us a smart and strong yet vulnerable survivor in Edie Kiglatuk. You root for Edie. You can't do otherwise. In her risk-all pursuit of truth resides the best in all of us.'' --Kirk Russell, author of Redback: A John Marquez Crime Novel

''Once in a blue moon a book comes along that exposes the world to us in a new light, makes us question everything: who we are, what we think we know, our beliefs and values, even the nature and purpose of our existence. White Heat is such a book. Seek it out and bask in it.'' --James Thompson, author of Lucifer's Tears

''(Narrator) Kate Reading, with her straightforward descriptions of the stark Arctic tundra and the cold, unforgiving weather, brings a strong sense of place to her narration. The characters she creates are fully realized, each with its own distinctive voice. Especially well rendered is the troubled Kiglatuk, who comes across -- warts and all -- as an earnest, courageous, and appealing heroine in this promising new series.'' --Publishers Weekly audio review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

M. J. McGrath is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Long Exile: A Tale of Inuit Betrayal. She was awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best British writer under thirty-five, and currently lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Overall, entertaining and interesting read.
Docsdaughter45
This is a well plotted novel with carefully developed characters and a very interesting scenario.
Eduardo Araujo de Oliveira
The author's storytelling was interwoven with beautiful descriptions of the Arctic landscape.
Gretchen Sleeth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a mystery set in the Arctic tundra. The protagonist is Edie Kiglatuk, a half Inuit half Caucasian guide. Because of her mixed background and because she is a woman she struggles for acceptance in her village. When she is leading a hunting trip with two tourists and one is shot dead she senses that this death was not an accident. Following this event the suicide of her stepson leads her to believe that something is rotten in the small village where she lives. Initially unable to get the interest of the police inspector Derek Palliser, she, using her hunting skills, works to solve these crimes. Edie keeps to the native Inuit beliefs that include an appreciation of nature and the surrounding environment and the place of all creatures living and dead in the circle. Not to give away too much of the plot let me just say we are treated to a tour of the far north, from Arctic Canada to Greenland.

This story has an authentic feel to it. The author has included many words from the Inuit language and while they seem almost unpronounceable they do add to the uniqueness of this story. All of the Inuit lifestyle is embedded in the novel. Sustenance living, dependent in the north on hunting, fishing and trapping skills is shown in an interesting way. The absolute place of weather and seasonal changes on the lives of the Inuit's is integral to this story. Also the descriptions of how the Intuits relate and interact with the white political establishment had a real ring of truth to it. In a place so far from the centers of power the law has only a limited ability to touch people. Inuit culture has a more stabilizing value to the villagers than anything the white man has to offer.

I enjoyed this mystery. The mystery part was engaging if in the end a little farfetched but the setting in the far north was very interesting. The characters including Edie and Inspector Palliser were well drawn and very likeable. I'll look forward to the next entry in this new series
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By thebooklady27 on August 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are expecting Kate Shugak, and I admit that I was, you won't find her in this book, but Edie Kiglatuk is very interesting and entertaining in her own right. The culture shock of daily life on the Arctic island of Ellesmere is sometimes hard to take in (Edie oils her pigtails when she goes to a meeting....and -25 degrees is considered a balmy day...) but people are the same everywhere, with the same feelings and problems and hopes. The book is extremely well written and the Arctic landscape and lifestyle comes alive easily under McGrath's pen from the first paragraph. I found Edie and the other characters, especially Derek, the reluctant lawman, very likable and the mystery held me until the very end. A great fiction debut.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amy T. Vazifdar on August 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Reviewing this book is almost going to be like reviewing two different books. I gave it 3 stars b/c I couldn't give it 2 ˝ and didn't want to go as low as 2. The book is categorized as a "Mystery" on Amazon.com, but the "mystery" part of it is really REALLY S-L-O-W and overly complicated. It consists of the main character, Edie Kiglatuk, a part Inuit, part Outsider woman who is a guide for tourists who want to come explore the Arctic region. She lives on Ellesmere Island, off the northwest coast of Greenland, well above the Arctic Circle. Without giving away too much, a loved one of Edie's dies, and she begins to suspect foul play. This leads on a fairly preposterous story which includes plot points involving Russia, Big-Oil, meteorites, drugs, and craters or "astroblemes" as they are referred to in the artic. It unfolds very slowly, is way too complicated, and as I mentioned before, it seems highly implausible. I listened to this as an audiobook, and I must say, if it was a regular book, I would have given up.
HOWEVER, and it's a big however, the side of the book that explores the Inuit culture is fascinating. Not knowing anything about the Inuit, I found myself doing research online, and looking up the location on Google Earth to find out more about it. The author does a superb job of encompassing the reader in the culture of the Inuit, from the food to the weather to the alcoholism. That being said, I would recommend this book for that aspect of it, and maybe resign yourself to a mediocre mystery. Some of the food is so nasty sounding "Seal Blood Soup", that I wondered if the author was trying to just gross readers out. However, after doing some research online, it was all very authentic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D Brown on November 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I like tales of the Arctic and Antarctic, the epic journeys, exploration and stories of survival so it was only natural that I'd be drawn to White Heat. McGrath offers a murder mystery in an isolated community in the Arctic with our protagonist being a woman of strong character.

Edie Kiglatuk is a half-Inuit guide who is leading an expedition when one of the two men with her is shot by an unseen assailant. Edie suspects foul play but she and her step-son Joe bow to the Tribal Council in Autisaq who rule that the incident was self-inflicted. When two men arrive in Autisaq and begin expeditions to find the remains of Sir James Fairfax, one is guided by Joe, who returns alone suffering with frostbite, disorientation and hypothermia. Joe confirms the man he was guiding has gone missing. Something strange is going on in Autisaq and Edie is prompted to conduct her own investigation upon finding her beloved Joe has committed suicide, or has he?

White Heat is clearly a well-researched novel. McGrath has done her homework about the Arctic region, the Inuit people, their customs and traditions. In Edie we have an unorthodox but endearing heroine. A recovering alcoholic, Edie is not without her flaws. She juggles teaching with being a guide, her primary focus being to raise funds for Joe to train to be a nurse. Edie lives alone but often sees her ex Sammy and is somewhat frowned upon by the Elders in the community for her independence and strong will. The death of one man - Felix Wagner - she is guiding leaves Edie suspicious but when Joe has one go missing under his watch and returns home severely ill only to later be found dead from an apparent suicide, Edie is inconsolable.
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