“It’s just not safe out there,” says a veteran cop colleague—fair warning, however understated. “Out there” is the snow and ice of basically inaccessible northern Alaska, plus a dangerous man that Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active is tracking. Nathan (White Sky, Black Ice, 1999), still regarded as an interloper in Chuckchi, where he’s been stationed for the past two years, has begun to chafe under the description. True, he was raised in citified Anchorage, but Chuckchi is the town of his birth; he’s a full-blooded Eskimo; and being treated as an outsider is no help to an investigator contending with a complex case, particularly when it involves the old ways. Crusty, unpopular Victor Solomon, proprietor of Chuckchi’s village museum, has been found lethally harpooned, and law enforcement has connected the homicide to “Uncle Frosty,” the mummified Eskimo only recently rejected by the Smithsonian due to its callow youth. Uncle Frosty is a mere 40-something, far shy of the centuries he was first assumed to be mellowing. Undeterred, entrepreneurial Victor, convinced of Uncle Frosty’s potential as a tourist attraction, bought him, planning to give him prominence in the museum. But the unseemly display was anathema to a hard core of old-way believers, one of whom probably did him in. So now Nathan finds himself trekking to the far reaches to catch up with the man who probably purloined the mummy, probably harpooned the curator, and probably intends to kill Nathan should he ever complete his journey.
Solid police work in a cold climate.