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White Heat (Edie Kiglatuk #1)

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,464 Ratings  ·  338 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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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
Sandy
Sep 24, 2011 Sandy rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
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
Stephanie
Sep 09, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, thriller
"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
Raven
Oct 20, 2012 Raven rated it it was ok


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
...more
Rob Kitchin
May 06, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
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
Matt
Jul 22, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing
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
Carol
Jan 28, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
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
...more
Jessica
Aug 07, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
...more
Linda Baker
Jan 31, 2015 Linda Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, mystery
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
Annmarie
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
Miles
Mar 16, 2011 Miles rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
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,
...more
Kari
Oct 05, 2011 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2011
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
Nicolemauerman
Oct 17, 2011 Nicolemauerman rated it really liked it
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
Dan
Jul 15, 2012 Dan rated it liked it
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-
...more
Doreen
Feb 04, 2016 Doreen rated it liked it
This is the first of the Edie Kiglatuk mysteries set in Canada’s high Arctic. Everything begins when an American hunter is killed while on a hunting expedition guided by Edie, a half-white, half-Inuit woman. Her community of Autisaq on Ellesmere Island wants to dismiss the death as an accident, but Edie is left uneasy, and when more deaths occur, she decides to investigate.

I liked the character of Edie. She is a strong-willed, intelligent woman, though she certainly has her flaws. She struggles
...more
Laura
Nov 16, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
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.
Jeff
May 18, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Yummy fried seal blubber. This is a phrase I never even thought could exist before reading this novel. This is a murder mystery set in the far north. Think of northern Canada, then go further north, then go further north still. The population here is something like 1 person every hundred square miles. And yet the island is full of people who know each other, and know nothing of each other. Very strange. The story is told from Edie's perspective and we quickly get to know her. Strong willed, inde ...more
Dawn
I am hoping that I can rely on this authors research of the Canadian north because this is definitely an area of the country I know very little about, except that like most indigenous people, they got screwed over by whoever was taking over their land.

I liked the protagonist in this story, she was eminently likable, with her struggles to stay sober, the unresolved emotions about her ex-husband, her wish to do the right thing and her tenacity at finding out the truth.
It was amusing to listen to
...more
Sandy Lenahan
A slow burn is what you get from McGrath's White Heat ...and that's not always a good thing.

While I loved the cultural aspects of the story I had a serious problem with the pacing-molasses moves faster than the action here. I was frustrated by the characters meandering & repetitive ways. But maybe there was a good reason for the slower paced character driven format. White Heat is book one, maybe book 2 will move faster since less time will have to be spent building characters/relationships.
...more
Vicky Ziliaskopoulou
May 19, 2016 Vicky Ziliaskopoulou rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: Ξένα
Δεν μου άρεσε καθόλου το βιβλίο. Σε άλλα σημεία η συγγραφέας πλατιάζει και δίνει υπερβολικά πολλές λεπτομέρειες χωρίς να προσθέτει κάτι στην ιστορία, και άλλα σημεία τα περνάει πολύ γρήγορα. Επίσης αντιπάθησα ολοκληρωτικά την πρωταγωνίστρια...

Το θετικό του βιβλίου είναι ότι προσπαθεί να σε βάλει λίγο σε μια τελείως άγνωστη κουλτούρα, των κατοίκων της Αρκτικής.
Luce Cronin
Mar 19, 2016 Luce Cronin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great first book for this author! The story maintains it suspense throughout and acquaints the reader with the Great North. Apart from the great story line, the book acquaints the reader with people from the North - how the Inuk's approach to life conflicts with Western society. Don't get me wrong, this is not a book with a social message; these are elements i gleaned from reading this novel. If you like mystery novels and/or novels of the vast North, you will enjoy this.
Andres Hudson
Hmmm como empezar...
Las 180 primeras paginas del libro, fueron lo más fome del mundo, pero aún así te metias en la historia, pero era facil distraerse.
Luego de eso, el libro comenzó a ponerse demaciado bueno.
Debo decir, que lo pause, porque creo que no estaba preparado aún para leerlo. (Gracias a la virgencita que lo termine xd).
Me gustó bastante la actitud de la personaje principal y eso principalmente.
Ah y me gusto demaciado en donde ocurre toda la historia, me imaginaba los paisajes y me daba
...more
Sharonm
Aug 13, 2011 Sharonm rated it really liked it
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
Julie
May 06, 2012 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Mercedes
Jan 21, 2016 Mercedes rated it really liked it
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
Patricia
Feb 18, 2016 Patricia rated it it was ok
The author arranged too many coincidences (all of which, of course, helped the main character along in her quest to discover the killer) for my taste. I liked the setting, and most of the characters, very much, but those contrived coincidences........
Linnaea
Jul 04, 2015 Linnaea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book surprised me. I was expecting a mystery and it turned into a political thriller with international players involved. The writing style was a little odd at first, so give it a hundred pages. There is also a lot of Inuit words (though they are all translated) which gave the book more of an "other" feeling. I thought the book was really good, I enjoyed the discussions on how difficult it is to move into the future as a member of the Inuit along with the racism (seems too loaded a word for ...more
Erin
Jan 05, 2015 Erin rated it liked it
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
Syrdarya
May 01, 2016 Syrdarya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do you do when the hope of a community is destroyed and it seems like there isn't any tunnel, let alone light at the end of it? Do you start drinking, lose your job, alienate everyone around you, go out and cause international trouble to find the truth? If your answer is yes, all of the above, then you might be Edie Kiglatuk.

Edie lives in the far north, in a small and destitute Inuit community. She teaches school and leads tours of nearby islands for outsiders. The extra money goes to her s
...more
Ed
Sep 18, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
#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
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4552007
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
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)

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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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