The Winter Over by Matthew Iden
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.
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.
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.