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Tundra Kill
Reviews

 



Seattle Times
2/14/2016

“Tundra Kill” takes place in the far reaches of Alaska. Nathan Active, the top cop in a vast swath of wilderness, has a new puzzle to solve: the murder, by snowmobile, of a dog musher.


Things get complicated for Active when he’s tapped to be a bodyguard for the state’s governor — a flirtatious, beautiful, brash and ambitious publicity hog with a whacked-out family. (Hands up if you see a resemblance to a certain real-life Alaskan politician.) Active is a sturdy, reliable figure, and Jones has a palpable affection for the Alaskan Native culture and his eccentric characters.



Publishers Weekly

Starred Review, 12/21/2015

Jones’s stellar fifth Nathan Active mystery (after 2009’s Village of the Ghost Bears) finds the former Alaska state trooper the newly appointed chief of public safety for the Chukchi Regional Borough, a region “bigger than 15 of the [lower] United States.” Active manfully strives to heal his partner Grace’s trauma from childhood incest, while he investigates a hit-and-run snowmobile homicide. He must also fight off the advances of Alaska’s gorgeous man-eating governor, Helen Mercer, who’s making a publicity-driven visit to her Chukchi home while contemplating a run for the White House. Active, who considers Mercer a “dangerous natural phenomenon,” learns that she’s willing to threaten anything or anybody, including Grace and her adopted daughter, Nita, to satisfy her personal and political desires. Jones, who was born in Alaska, uses his intimate knowledge of the state, his fondness for the Inupiat people and their traditions, and his eye for politicians’ excruciatingly funny incongruities to produce a well-rounded and appealing portrait of America’s Last Frontier.



Kirkus Reviews

11-5-2015

Murder is the least of Nathan Active’s problems when he tangles with Alaska’s high-maintenance governor.


He may have switched from serving in the Alaska State Troopers (Village of the Ghost Bears, 2009, etc.) to being chief of public safety for the newly established Chukchi Regional Borough, but Active hasn’t moved far enough to escape the searchlight gaze of Gov. Helen “call me Suka” Mercer. Swooping down in Chukchi to cheer on her musher husband, Brad, in the Isignaq 400, she requisitions Active as her bodyguard, reminds him that his job depends largely on state money, promises funding to the women’s crisis centers run by his lover, Grace Palmer, and spirits him off aboard Cowboy Decker’s Cessna, which is promptly forced to touch down in inhospitable Shelukshuk Canyon. Obliged to share a tent with the seductive governor, Active awakens next morning to find her face mysteriously scratched before they’re rescued and everything is fine. Everything, that is, except for the death of Pete Wise, an alcoholism counselor who went to school with Suka years before she moved into the governor’s mansion and he got fatally struck by a snowmobile. When the evidence leads Active to Brad Mercer, he finds that the governor’s a distinctly fair-weather friend. And a shocking allegation by Wise that survives his death puts a full-court press on Active, who finds himself alternately propositioned by the governor and threatened by her with the loss of his job and his reputation, not to mention that funding for Grace’s crisis centers.


The delightfully off-speed Alaska lore—the authorities offer two free nights in jail for information about the missing snowmobile—is supplemented this time by a compelling portrait of a female Alaskan governor too monstrous to be anything but wholly fictitious.