The Boy in the Snow
An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery by M. J. McGrath
Review: Edie Kiglatuk is in Anchorage, Alaska, far from her home in High Arctic Canada, supporting her ex-husband Sammy, who is participating in the annual Iditarod dog sled race. While out on a snowmobile one day, she encounters what she believes is a spirit bear, an animal guide, who does just that, leading her to a small wooden structure, in which she finds the frozen body of a two-month-old boy, carefully wrapped in cloth, an elaborate cross drawn in ash on his skin, in The Boy in the Snow, the second mystery in this series by M. J. McGrath.
The police are quick to arrest Peter Galloway, one of a small group of "Dark Believers", former members of the Russian Orthodox Church, for the crime. But Edie senses the arrest is the result of political expediency than true detective work. Derek Palliser, who has accompanied Edie to Alaska and is a police sergeant back home, agrees to help her investigate the crime. But when the frozen body of another baby boy is found, in almost identical circumstances, Edie begins to despair. "Whatever was happening, she felt inextricably caught up in it now, trapped in a series of events whose sinister connections she was as yet unable to comprehend."
The murder mystery storyline in The Boy in the Snow is paired with a political campaign for the state's governor. Chuck Hillingberg, the mayor of Anchorage, sees this as a step to the national stage. His ambitious wife Marsha, however, sees it as a way to consolidate power over the state's development. These two plots essentially alternate until they inevitably — and predictably — converge. The former is populated with outsiders, people who are different or live on the fringes of society. The latter's characters are largely insiders. The conflict between them, and the resulting outcome, isn't altogether convincing, and seems more convenient than credible. A couple of elements do work well, though: the Alaska setting, its myriad cultures and people, make for a striking, rather impressive backdrop to the story; and, with very few exceptions, the principal and supporting cast, even if not always appealing, seem true to character. Edie's tendency towards aloofness can at times be a little annoying, but her individuality as a protagonist more than compensates.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Boy in the Snow for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Boy in the Snow: Alaska
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The Boy in the Snow by M. J. McGrath — An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery
Publication Date: November 2012
List Price: $25.95