Cover image for White sky, black ice : a Nathan Active mystery
White sky, black ice : a Nathan Active mystery
Jones, Stan, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Soho Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
264 pages ; 20 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the small Alaskan village of Chukchi, what are the odds of two suicides occurring in a matter of a few days? State trooper Nathan Active discovers that his suspicions concerning the deaths are well-founded; the two men were murdered. But what was the motive and who killed them?

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tony Hillerman fans will feel right at home when they pick up this mystery, even though Jones' story is set in Alaska and not in Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee's home territory. Attractive, eligible Nathan Active, an Inupiat raised by white adoptive parents, has returned to his roots. His job as a state trooper has taken him back to Chukchi, the tiny village where he was born and where his birth mother still lives. Active's dual heritage becomes both an asset and a disadvantage when he begins an investigation of two suspiciously similar deaths. Local superstition, local prejudices, and local politics all come into play as Active quietly and persistently works his way toward the surprising truth. Both culture (there's an Inupiaq glossary) and climate are authentically portrayed in a winning debut that will leave readers looking forward to another encounter with the smart, compassionate trooper and the people of the small town he's just now learning to call his home. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

The hero of Jones's promising first novel is Nathan Active, an Alaska state trooper. He is an Inupiat, but was given away by his mother when he was a baby, and raised by a white couple in Anchorage. Now he knows little of his background, and feels torn between two worlds. Nathan's bafflement hasn't been helped by his work assignment in Chukchi, the town in the rural northwestern corner of Alaska where he was born and where his birth mother still lives. The Inupiat townsfolk there have welcomed the opening of the Gray Wolf copper mine, as it provides jobs for young people. The number of wife-beatings and liquor-related offenses has declined dramatically. But now two local men have died in the same week, each of a gunshot wound in the throat. Locals assume that the deaths were suicides, especially as one of the young men belonged to a family whose members are subject to a curse. Nathan is not convincedÄeven in suicide-prone Chukchi, men don't usually shoot themselves in the Adam's apple. While this tough, gritty mystery generates only modest suspense, its exotic setting will hold readers throughout. Jones has a real knack for depicting the daily life of a small Inupiat community, and the toll that alcoholism has taken on it. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Fans of authentic Alaskan mysteries will love this new series featuring state trooper Nathan Active. A full-blooded Inupiat adopted by a white family and raised in Anchorage, he has been assigned to the remote village of Chukchi, where his formidable birth mother and a small host of other memorable characters are coping with a string of youthful suicides. People blame a family curse for the latestÄthough Active has his doubtsÄand the next falls totally outside the pattern. Details of speech, everyday life, and cultural beliefs permeate the narrative, while Active's position as a native raised by whites provides frequent humor. First-rate. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.