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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Winter Over - Matthew Iden

The Winter Over by Matthew Iden

First Paragraph(s):

The woman's arms were spread wide, open to the world, as though she were asking for a hug or just starting a snow angel.
     One boot--ridiculously oversized--was turned at an obscene angle.  The other, held rigidly in place by its thick plastic and neoprene, pointed toward a dishwater-gray sky.  Reflective goggles and a thick balaclava hid her face, but a delicate lattice of ice crystals framed her mouth and nostrils, a ghostly 'o' and two dashes where her once hot breath had frozen instantly in air that was forty degrees south of zero.  Ramps of snow leaned against the body's windward side, brought to rest against her by the constant Antarctic gales.  Had they not found her, she would've been buried in eight hours, maybe less, and she could've been someone else's discovery a hundred days or a hundred years from now.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book set in Antarctica that I've read recently and I liked it very much as well.  I'm rather fascinated with the idea of spending a long season in that remote and scary place.  I really can't imagine why you'd want to do that, but I do know that scientists and researchers make the decision to endure it year after year.  I also think that the 'oddness' of a place that is so extreme lends itself well to fiction - either sci-fi or mystery or a combo of both. 

I've heard the author, Matthew Iden, twice on panels at mystery conferences and he told us recently that he did indeed visit Antarctica as part of his research for the book.  He also shared a multitude of websites and blogs and other resources he tapped to tell his gripping story.  The Winter Over was a book that I did a listen/read combo.  It was narrated very well by Karen Peakes.  And it is indeed a mystery thriller, but it also slides a bit over into the sci-fi realm in my opinion - not a bad thing at all.  I liked the main protagonist, Cass, an engineer who was eager for a change in her life.  Her jobs at the facility were myriad and the description of how she went about them was interesting to me.  There was not too much about the science angle, but a lot about how people might cope with months of darkness and close quarters.  As I said, I was quite interested.  I guessed what the outcome would be, but that was fine with me.  I needed to know how things would play out.  I'll be trying other books by Matthew Iden, though this was a standalone novel.  His most recent book published is Birthday Girl.  Think I'll be picking it up soon.

Blurb:

Each winter the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life.

But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance. Confined and cut off from the outside world, will they work together or turn against one another? As the tension escalates, Cass must find the strength to survive not only a punishing landscape but also an unrelenting menace determined to destroy the station—and everyone in it.

24 comments:

  1. :) I saw this one on NG, but had no interest in Antarctica until reading your last review set there! Wonder if it is still available....

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    1. Probably not on Netgalley. It's been out for a while. Think it's on Kindle Unlimited though.

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  2. After recently reading a book in Alaska, I think Antartica is a logical next setting for me. Haven't heard of this series, so I'll be checking it out now.

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    1. It's not a series, Catherine, or no indication of that at this time. However, it's a good standalone book.

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  3. This does sound interesting and although I am with you on not EVER wanting to experience a landscape like this one, I am fascinated but those who do. I guess the isolation appeals to them. It would for me for a brief while. But certainly not for nearly a year!

    Have you ever read The Terror by Dan Simmons. It was set in an icy landscape but is historical fiction. I was riveted but also terrified. It's quite intense.

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    1. I have not read The Terror, but I heard something about it somewhere - maybe from you? Anyway, it sounds really interesting. Will have to investigate.

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  4. I noticed the cover of this one when it was on your sidebar because it's so eye-catching. The story sounds gripping, too. I like isolation/extreme weather settings, so I'm definitely going to check this one out. Thanks for another great-sounding rec, Kay!

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    1. Yes, this would be at the opposite end of the scale from where you live - ha! It's pretty intense, but quite, quite interesting.

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  5. I love these extreme environments as settings for books too, though I'd avoid them like the plague in real life! This sounds good - there's something about Antarctica that lends itself to a slightly science fiction feel...

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    1. I agree. It's the whole unknown setting I think, plus the isolation - like a space station.

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  6. Although I joke that during our summers I wouldn't mind being in the arctic, I really can't imagine being in a place so isolated. I think it would be amazing to visit but cannot imagine being there for too long!

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    1. You and me both. I like reading 'cold' books when it's hot outside, but I don't necessarily like being in the cold. Ha!

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  7. Wow, that's really cool that the author actually went to Antarctica for research - that's dedication! I like the idea of being stuck in this cold, dark place and having weird things going on - I'll keep my eye out for this one!

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    1. Well, some weird things definitely go on in the book. LOL

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  8. Yay! Another book set in Antarctica. I'll be adding this one to my list to read during those hot 100+ July days. :)

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    1. Our minds think alike, Lark. Cold books in summer.

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  9. Sometimes I think of living in a secluded location with hardly anyone around. I am not sure I would like it. But the book sounds good. I love the idea of a mystery set in Antarctica.

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  10. I've read one book set in Antarctica but not a thriller. I'm absolutely fascinated by the concept as a whole. This sounds like a good read and one that I really want to try.

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    1. You'd probably like to read this one on a hot, hot day, Katherine. LOL

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  11. I thought this was really good and I was glad to see this, as I never saw a lot of blogger reviews for this one. I thought he did a great job evoking the setting as well. I will have to check out more of his books.

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    1. I think it's interesting how often books that I really like get overlooked at times. I'm always happy to share my experience and I'm glad that this one worked well for you too. The author was very interesting to hear on a panel.

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  12. I did purchase this recently and hope to read it soon. Especially looking forward to it after your review.

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    1. I do hope you like it. I thought it was quite interesting with the descriptions of what life was like there over such a long period of darkness and isolation.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!