In Cold Pursuit: A Mystery from the Last Continent
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
limb on board a U.S. Air Force C-17. Bundle up and encumber yourself in your giant down parka, your two layers of polypropylene underwear, your thick black wind pants with suspenders, and - most unwieldy of all - your giant blue boots with thick felt and quilted liners. Then, just to make sure you're warm enough, make sure you've put on your extra-thick wool socks. You're on your way to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
ou're traveling with twenty-four year old Valena Walker. As a brilliant graduate student in the geology program at the University of Nevada at Reno, she's going to join her professor and mentor, Dr. Emmett Vanderzee, on what promises to be the research adventure of her lifetime.
owever, from the moment she arrives on the vast, stark beauty of the ice in McMurdo, Valena's research adventure becomes something quite different. Apparently Professor Vanderzee has now been implicated in the mysterious death of a young journalist who died a year earlier while accompanying Vanderzee's team at a remote research facility. And now, only days before Valena's arrival, Professor Vanderzee had been arrested and removed from Antarctica.
ith her research sponsor now under arrest, Valena is scheduled to be abruptly turned around and sent back home in the matter of a few days. So - as something of an ad hoc private investigator - she begins a different kind of research: She is determined to clear her mentor's name and to find out what really happened to the journalist.
roblems immediately confront Valena because McMurdo Station is overflowing with rumors, half-truths, secrets, and eccentric personalities. Then, when another death (could it be murder?), larceny (of some rather surprising artifacts), biological high-jinks (involving some rather special materials), and environmental-political considerations further complicate Valena's inquiries, she soon finds herself in a very dangerous situation.
ritten by an accomplished author (and a professional geologist and licensed pilot who lives in northern California),
In Cold Pursuit
is a carefully plotted and deliberately paced murder mystery that rewards the patient reader with wonderfully descriptive imagery, plenty of technological and geographical details, and a colorful cast of singular characters. For mystery fans who love unique settings, character-driven adventures, and a unique spin on the well-worn locked-room mystery plot,
In Cold Pursuit
is a compelling tale from the last continent.
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