By: William Dietrich
(Paperback / 463 Pages / Warner Books / ISBN: 0446611972 / $7.99)
Description: The title of Dietrich's third novel (after Getting Back) refers to the season that hero/geologist Jed Lewis and some 20-odd fellow scientists and staff spend at Amundsen-Scott research base, at the South Pole. During that winter, several of them are murdered. Whodunit? That question drives the plot, marking this book as a mystery disguised as a thriller.
Verdict: For the 26 men and women who are wintering at the South Pole, they have to survive in possibly the most isolated place on the planet. During winter, the sun won't come up for eight months; they are completely alone to carry on their research. Many of them have done it before, so are not too disturbed at the prospect of being cut-off from the rest of the world, enduring the eight-month night. Until the killings start.
Not long after one of the scientists makes a significant, and possibly very profitable, discovery, members of the Amundsen-Scott Research Base begin to mysteriously disappear before being found dead. Is it an accident, suicide or something far more sinister? Unfortunately, for Jed Lewis, the new arrival on the base, all evidence seems to suggest that he's the murderer. In order to clear his name, he is compelled to find out just who is causing the mayhem.
This book had me wholly engrossed, both with the fascinating detail regarding survival in Antarctica and at the prospect of being cooped up for eight months with a killer. As more and more members of the tiny community are picked off, everyone's fears begin to get manipulated and rationality flies out the window. It's a chilling book in more ways than one.
Reviewed by Russ Trunk