Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Bone Seeker by M. J. McGrath + a Giveaway

Edie is spending the nightless summer in Kuujuaq as an interim teacher for the local school. It's supposed to be a break from her home and the memories of her ex stepson's all too recent death. When one of her students goes missing and is later discovered gruesomely murdered, Edie once again gets drawn into the investigation. This time it's at the request of her friend Derek Palliser. With the only other officer in Kuujuaq off for training, the force is grossly unequipped to deal with a murder. His reinforcements - the medical examiner and forensics "team" tasked with the territory are unavailable and Derek knows that every lost minute could be detrimental to such an investigation. What's worse, the locals are all certain the killer is a soldier from the nearby base. The longer Derek takes in solving this one means increased bad blood between the townsfolks and the outsiders.

I was pretty excited to return to Edie after The Boy in the Snow. Before this I hadn't actually read any of the series I'd consider comparable (the Alaska based ones, that is). But even those are Alaska and to my knowledge there aren't any series featuring Inuit. (Flavorwire mentions Smilla of Smilla's Sense of Snow as being part Inuit, which I'd forgotten.) All in all, though, M.J. McGrath's series has a definite exotic flavor considering the setting.

As with The Boy in the Snow, McGrath does a fine job yet again of placing the reader smack dab in the center of this setting. This time it's a quite unforgiving part of the Canadian Arctic. And in the middle of summer with 24 hour sun (though the character's complaints of hot 10 degree C weather - which is about 43 F - made my jaw drop. I'm NOT made for cold weather climate!).

This is a little bit of an issue-y book but it wasn't overwhelmingly so. The incident that inspired part of the plot is outlined a bit in McGrath's afterword and is a nasty bit of history indeed. There's also a lot of attention paid to the relations between the people of Ellesmere and outsiders, which ties directly into the subplot. I've not actually mentioned it in the above synopsis, I think I'll leave it for you to discover, but it's definitely an element that makes The Bone Seeker intriguing from the very start.

One thing I did have a bit of trouble with in this third of the series was a series of sections that seemed to be fairly unnecessary to the overall plot. The appearance of Sammy, for example, did little in the way of helping the story move along. I wasn't even sure why he was there except to possibly add a little emotional turmoil for Edie (though I think she had enough otherwise).

The Bone Seeker is fairly well executed and thoroughly gripping. Like The Boy in the Snow, The Bone Seeker can work quite well for someone new to the series. Do know, however, that there are more mentions of the incidents from White Heat so if you were to go back to that first book later you'd have a handful of those plot points in hand already.

Thanks to the publisher I've got a copy of The Bone Seeker to offer up for giveaway! To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, August 11 (US only and no PO boxes please):

a Rafflecopter giveaway


traveler said...

Thanks for this intriguing and fascinating giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

KAS said...

This book has already spent some time on my (unrealistic) long to-read list, but your particular comment in re: how this read helps one get into the series through overlaps with White Heat...reviewing your point in the article, I can see you meant to highlight the potential spoiler at least as much as convenience (and likely more). In any event, it's useful knowledge for me, and I appreciate your provision of it. :-) -Kara

Anita Yancey said...

It sounds like an exciting read, and I love the storyline. Thanks for having this giveaway.

Harvee said...

I know several people who would also love this book!