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White Heat (Edie Kiglatuk Mystery, #1)
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White Heat (Edie Kiglatuk #1)

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,235 ratings  ·  290 reviews
On Craig Island, a vast landscape of ice north of the Arctic Circle, three travellers are hunting duck. Among them is Inuit hunter and guide, Edie Kiglatuk; a woman born of this harsh, beautiful terrain. The two men are tourists but when one of them is shot dead, the local Council of Elders in is keen to dismiss it as an accident.
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Mantle (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Having read all of Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak mysteries set in Alaska, MJ McGrath's Edie Kiglatuk series seemed quite similar although the latter is based on arctic Quebec, across the sea from Greenland. Edie has some of the same issues of alcoholism and a dysfunctional love life, but is more of a hunter/guide and less of a detective. Her police contact Derek Pallister was pretty weak, and had to be constantly prodded to action by Edie. Two men, masquerading as tourists, die under mysterious ci ...more
I seriously tried to read this book but I struggled through it and finally gave up on page 187. I know I was halfway through it but the book could not keep my attention. I am not a reader who gives up on a book very often, I never start a book I don't think I can't finish, so I was kinda upset with myself for not finishing it but it was too slow for me. For the first 100 pages, I don't really remember much. Just recently in the book, the action just started picking up and the victims started pil ...more

Set in the icy wastes of a small Inuit community in the High Arctic on Ellsemere Island and the fictional Craig Island this is a tale of the harsh realities of survival and murder. The story centres on a community facing the common woes of an indigenous people subjected to their dependence on a larger sovereign state, in this case, Canada, and highlights the social problems of drink and drug dependency that these and similar indigenous communities across the globe suffer. This, for me, was proba
"White Heat" is the first in a mystery series set on Ellesmere Island which is next to Greenland though it's actually part of Canada. The protagonist is Edie Kiglatuk, an Inuit woman who makes her living as a hunting and fishing guide. Edie becomes caught up in a mystery when one of the two men she is out guiding for is shot by someone out in the middle of nowhere. She tries to get him back to the village for medical help but he ends up dying along the way. His assistant goes along with the loca ...more
Rob Kitchin
As debut crime novels goes, White Heat couldn’t be much better. It has everything a good crime novel should have: strong plot, excellent characterization, vivid sense of place, a dollop full of history, culture and social politics, and a swirl of conspiracy. The book doesn’t simply describe the world of Edie Kiglatuk - the small, tight knit community and the icy, harsh landscape - but places the reader into it. Edie is a wonderful creation - a headstrong woman who rails against custom and tradit ...more
A compelling, gritty debut mystery set in the frozen tundra of the arctic, on Canada's far northern Ellesmere Island, close to Greenland. I found the descriptions of the rapidly changing, harsh, beautiful location and of the way of life of the rugged, troubled residents to be fascinating; the murder mystery was pretty good. 3.5 stars overall. I've read that the British author, who has previously written nonfiction, is at work on a second mystery featuring the appealing main character, Edie. I an ...more
In her fiction debut, M.J. McGrath blows this one out of the water (or shall I say, ice?) with an excellent novel set in Canada's far North. Using the Canadian Arctic as its setting and utilising the nuanced characters found therein, McGrath creates a stellar novel that has the reader feel as though they are there, living with the Inuit and not sitting on the sidelines like a useless 'qalunaat' (white man). Using authentic language, skills, foods, and techniques, McGrath brings to live a story t ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Carol rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carol by: The Readers Podcast - Gavin & Simon
I got a hair behind on my reviews and have been trying to find some time to say a bit about White Heat. This book must have been under my radar before I heard about it on The Readers but it's definitely Simon, who made me run to the shelves to scoop this up to read. His enthusiasm sparked my interest and I can say I was not disappointed.

What captured me most about White Heat was its Arctic setting and Inuit culture and heritage. You can not read this without being just a tad curious about what t
I won this book as a First Reads giveaway.

The imagery in this book is phenomenal. The author brings you to a world that most people never see in there lives, well except on television.

The main character Edie is an Inuit and she is investigating some deaths that occur in the Arctic near her home. No, she is not a detective she is a teacher and a hunter.While most people want to forget what happened and call it an accident she needs to know the truth.

Throughout her investigation Edie becomes clo
Found in Parade 12 Great Summer Books, July 10, 2011.

An enjoyable read, but no great art here.

Edie Kiglutak is a likeable enough hero, and one that we root for throughout the book, but there is just something missing. She suffers the loss of her stepson, and soldiers on to find his killer.

The most interesting part of the story for me proved to be McGrath's insights into Inuit culture. From Edie never locking her door to burial practices to the life lived close to the land, I felt I had a behind-
Linda Baker
I was looking around hoopla for something to download and listen to while working on an extended project; a project requiring little or no actual thought. White Heat popped up and since it was narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Kate Reading, I thought I would give it a try. Little did I know that White Heat would be one of those books that remind me just why I love to read. Books offer me the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of a place that I will never visit. White Heat is se ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
On an island hunting trip, Inuit tourist guide Edie finds herself and her family embroiled in a murder. Adaptation read by Denise Gough.
Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton – not the first thing that comes to mind when reviewing a book set in the desolate regions of the Arctic but believe you me, these famous Hollywood stars of the classic silent era all have one thing in common – they perform almost on a daily basis in Autisaq in the Arctic – more often than not comforting “White Heat’s” protagonist Edie Kiglatuk in her front room.

A well established and published non-fictional author (Long Exile,
White Heat is beautifully written. The author did a wonderful job of describing the area in which the story took place. As I was reading, I really felt like I had been dropped in the Arctic region. Her descriptions of the landscape make me want to visit there myself someday. I also really liked her characters. Edie was so believable and not without fault. I want to know more about her and I hope that the author visits her again. I also enjoyed the friendship that develops between Edie and Derek. ...more
Really great first in a series set in the far north, with an Inuit protagonist. Edie is a part time teacher and part time hunting guide, who gets herself involved in a complex situation which has geologic aspects. Throughout, the author writes beautifully of the frozen landscape and touchingly of the connections between the people. The difficulties both young and old have in trying to make a life in this remote desolate environment are convincingly written. The only nit I have to pick about this ...more
This book gives you such an intense appreciation of the Inuit people and their life on Ellesmere Island. I loved that part of the book along with the character development. Primary and secondary characters are fleshed out with strengths and weaknesses. The "mystery", not so much. The mechanics of both the crimes and the investigation just don't make sense. Bad guys and victims alike do things unbelievable and/or unreasonable in order for the protagonist to "solve" the crimes. For the most part I ...more
I think if this book had a different setting I wouldn’t have liked it nearly as much. Taking place in the high Arctic, White Heat is a murder mystery. Edie, a mid-thirties woman it the one who is left to question the Inuit elder’s decision to sweep these murders under the rug. I learned a lot about the Inuit culture by reading this book. I thought that part was pretty fascinating. However I thought the ending was kind of confusing. I couldn’t really keep the names straight and I kept having to r ...more
Solid 3 star, I agree with many reviewers that it was slowwwwwww in the beginning but I am a sucker for a stark landscape and a different type of protagonist. really enjoyed learning about the cultures and how they differ
#1 in the Edie Kiglatuk series. Finalist 2011 Gold Dagger Award. Edie is half Inuit but she lives as an Inuit. An ex-hunter, she is now the best guide in her part of the Canadian arctic, the southern end of Umingmak Nuna (Ellesmere Island). An intriguing tale of death and deception tied into the disappearance of her guide great-great-great-grandfather. Although it may be supposed to add color, I found the use of the Inuktitut language to be distracting and certainly slowed my reading speed. Some ...more
White Heat is the first book in a series about Inuit (well, 50%) hunter, guide, and teacher Edie Kiglatuk. In brief, I found the book to be mediocre (and I searched the online thesaurus in an attempt to find a better word). The setting – in and around Ellesmere Island (in the Canadian arctic territory of Nunavut), with a side trip to Greenland – was exquisite, with excellent and vivid descriptions provided by the author. The plot and its pacing were fair to good, perhaps even better than that. I ...more
I really enjoyed reading about the Canadian high Arctic. I thought that the author, despite not being Inuit nor Canadian, captured the Northern culture and the Inuit culture fairly well though I am not Inuit nor have I lived in the Arctic so that might not be saying much. The novel made me look up Ellesmere Island and learn a little more about Nunavut and I really appreciate that.

I found Edie Kiglatuk an interesting character and wanted to know more about her. The mystery kept me interested. I
I enjoyed reading this book. It was initially a little slow to pull me in. I think this initial slowness is more a result of my unfamiliarity with the Inuit way of life. At first, it was hard for me to relate to the characters in the book and the environment. Once the action began, I did connect with Edie and some of the other players. There were times were I thought the mystery became a little too involved and convoluted. I also found myself thinking, "Really? She just happened upon this clue?" ...more
One of the best books I have read for a long time. This is an almost cinematic read, and does not shy away from the harsher side of life. I felt this added to the book, giving the characters depth and showing the struggles they face with many aspects of living in the cold climate and the damage that is being done by having their isolation slowly invaded. I am looking forward to reading more of M.J. McGrath's writing.
Brilliant descriptive setting in the Arctic. One of those books where it hits the spot in your brain where you believe it's true, then get disappointed when you reach the end and the author says that the towns and island in the story are invented - oh, shame. I wanted to visit the island. Want to go to Northern Canada though. Maybe one day. Have ordered a non-fiction book from this author about times in the north.
Loved it! I couldn't put it down, spending the entire weekend on the couch, reading. The setting (Ellesmere Island) is exotic, somewhat reminiscent of the setting of Smilla's Sense of Snow or Ice Trap but so much better in every way, including a determined, flawed protagonist and a true sense of the landscape and people of the far north.
Very readable. Was difficult not to compare with "Fröken Smillas känsla för snö" by Peter Hoeg even though the story was somewhat different and perhaps also less interesting. It's been a while since Smilla but my recollection is that it was better.
All and all there was not that much plot in White Heat, just a crime story without great surprises. No Hercule-Poirot-like great revelations in the end.

Some irritating mistakes by the author or the translator; Twin Otter plane flying in 15.000 meters
This book is a murder mystery which takes place in a vividly compelling natural and cultural context: a tiny, modern day town in the far arctic. I very much enjoyed the Inuit culture, arctic survival, and environmental themes that are woven through the narrative. The characters are interesting. I'm not normally a murder mystery reader - so I can't speak to that content very critically. However, I very much enjoyed this book. If you read Julie of the Wolves as a kid and developed an interest in l ...more
Holly Robinson
Since we have a summer house in Canada, I've been searching high and low for great reads set in Canada. This is one of my favorites. WHITE HEAT, set on Canada's Ellesmere Island in the Arctic circle, is the first novel in a series featuring hunter, tourist guide, and sometimes-detective Edie Kiglatuk, a half-Inuit woman. In this novel, she's drawn into solving a mystery revolving around the death of her stepson and two tourists. The book is rich with geological and cultural details that are as g ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed the Innuit aspects of this book. I'm mostly unfamiliar with north Canadian indigenous culture so found the background information fascinating. The characters were well developed and the setting descriptive and easy to picture. The storyline had me gripped from the start - but in a 'patience puzzle' way. I felt as though it were a slow unravelling that required a long thought process with time to mull. Edie is a great protagonist: determined, bitten, and flawed. White Heat wa ...more
Val Sanford
This compelling mystery, set at the top of the world, is full of Inuit lore and tells not only of some of their history, it show cases the incredible skills the Inuit have developed for living in the isolated wilderness of ice and tundra, living through 100 days of darkness and the frailty of their lives carved out of rock and shale and the spirits of their ancestors. I could see the white ice roads and smell the whale blubber-- a delicacy favored by the Inuit. The story is a moral tale, illumin ...more
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Kindle English My...: White Heat by M J McGrath 1 10 Feb 08, 2013 01:06AM  
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Aka Melanie McGrath

I was born in Romford, Essex, the third of four children. My parents, Peter and Margaret, had moved out of East London some time before, looking for a quieter, more spacious life. They thought of themselves as upwardly mobile, which they were. We moved a lot during my childhood, first to Basildon in Essex, then to a village in Germany, from there Kent, then north to Lancashire,
More about M.J. McGrath...

Other Books in the Series

Edie Kiglatuk (3 books)
  • The Boy in the Snow (Edie Kiglatuk Mystery, #2)
  • The Bone Seeker (Edie Kiglatuk #3)
The Boy in the Snow (Edie Kiglatuk Mystery, #2) The Bone Seeker (Edie Kiglatuk #3) Edie Kiglatuk's Christmas

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“Have you forgotten who we are? Inuttigut. We are Inuit. We live in a place littered with bones, with spirits, with reminders of the past. Nothing dies here and nothing rots: not bones, not plastic, not memories. Especially not memories. We live surrounded by our stories. It's one of our gifts. Unlike most of the rest of the world, we can't escape our stories, Derek.” 0 likes
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