Shaman Pass (Nathan Active Series #2)by Stan Jones
Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active is regarded as “half-white” by the Inupiats of the village where he is stationed. He was born in Chukchi but was adopted by Anglos and raised in Anchorage. Now he is called upon to investigate the murder of a tribal leader who was stabbed to death with an antique harpoon, which had been recently returned to the community… See more details below
Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active is regarded as “half-white” by the Inupiats of the village where he is stationed. He was born in Chukchi but was adopted by Anglos and raised in Anchorage. Now he is called upon to investigate the murder of a tribal leader who was stabbed to death with an antique harpoon, which had been recently returned to the community under the Indian Graves Act.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“[Jones’s] depiction of a freezing world of tar-paper houses and whaling camps is absolutely convincing.”
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Adhering to the Indian Graves Act, the Smithsonian naluaqmiut (means more than one white man) send home the mummy 'Uncle Frosty' to Alaska. Once in the northern state, villagers respecting centuries of tradition steal the body. However, not long afterward at a sheefish camp on the ice of Chukchi Bay, Inupiat tribal elder Victor Soloman is found bludgeoned to death by Frosty¿s harpoon. Born in the village of Chukchi though raised in Anchorage, State Trooper Nathan Active investigates the murder. He quickly finds a herd of suspects with motives and opportunities. Nathan receives help (some unwanted) from his girlfriend and his native mother while struggling to learn and understand the matriarchal side of his heritage. Meanwhile his inquiries place Nathan in the dangerous middle of a deadly tug of war between the angatquq shamen and the followers of a murdered social reformer considered by many to be a prophet. The police procedural aspects are strong and exciting, but serve as a method to enable the audience to receive a deep understanding of a people in which modern technology encroaches faster than snowmobiles drive the vast frozen tundra. Stan Jones provides a vivid picaresque scenario of surviving and residing in what would seem like a frozen wasteland, but is stark, beautiful, and more (at least as described by this author. Obviously fans of Alaskan mysteries will enjoy SHAMAN PASS, but so will anyone who appreciates an impressive who-done-it. Harriet Klausner
This book is well written, well thought out, and the author knows what he is talking about. The characters are well developed, and the story has a flow that makes it hard to stop reading. In addition to the plot, there is also a great deal of information about northern Alaska and the Inupiat who live there. It was as much a learning experience as it was thrilling mystery. The imagery used to describe settings and situations stimulated my senses, and made me feel as if I were in the story. Jones paints a picture of the arctic winter landscape in the readers mind. I used to live in the Adirondacks of New York state's North Country, as it is called; and felt right at home with the pelting snow, subzero temperatures, and the nuances of living in hard winter weather. Overall, this is a great book that is worth reading.