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.
“In a robust sequel to White Sky, Black Ice, this Alaska state trooper is still burdened by his urban upbringing and his aversion to ice and snow . . . Active maintains his awe of the vast Alaskan tundra, a forbidding region that Jones renders in all its bone-chilling beauty.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Jones captures in precise detail . . . the starkly individual spirit of this village’s collection of characters . . . His depiction of a freezing world of tar-paper houses and whaling camps is absolutely convincing . . . The effect is one of wry immersion in a mildly cantankerous society whose members are eccentric only in comparison to ‘the outside.’”
“Solid police work in a cold climate.”
“Stirring . . . Jones skillfully depicts the beauty and desolation of the ‘treeless tundra’ in winter as well as the hardships of survival in one of the world’s harshest climates.”
“Jones creates a stunning authentic sense of Alaskan history and of culture still in the throes of change.”
Meet the Author
Stan Jones was born in Anchorage, where he now lives with his wife. He holds a BS from California Institute of Technology and an MA in Economic Journalism from the University of Alaska. He has worked as an award-winning reporter and editor at multiple newspapers. In addition to writing, he works to correct environmental issues, and as a former Bush pilot, has flown his own plane all over Northwest Alaska.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.
It took several years after I checked out White Sky, Black Ice, the Nathan Active debut novel, until I read Shaman Pass, the second in the series. Stan Jones grew as a writer with the second novel. The mystery is more rooted in the Inuit culture and folklore this time and Nathan has become comfortable with his roots and more empathetic to those around him. The case stretches back almost a century but it is more a whydunit than a whodunit. Jones is expert at making you feel the icy Arctic chill. Only a native Alaskan would know that flying ptarmigan are invisible from a plane and that only their shadows show on the winter snow below them. This book is equal to the best of John Straley's Cecil Younger series.