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White Heat: A Novel Audiobook, by M. J. McGrath Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: M. J. McGrath Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Edie Kiglatuk Mysteries Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781470803162
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (571 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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A riveting Arctic mystery that marks the fiction debut of a “wickedly talented” writer (New York Times)

Half Inuit and half outsider, Edie Kiglatuk is the best guide in her corner of the Arctic. But as a woman, she gets only grudging respect from the elders who rule her isolated community on Ellesmere Island. When a man is shot and killed while out on an “authentic” Arctic adventure under her watch, the murder attracts the attention of police sergeant Derek Palliser. As Edie sets out to discover what those tourists were really after, she is shocked by the suicide of someone very close to her. Though these events are seemingly unrelated, Edie’s Inuit hunter sensibility tells her otherwise. With or without Derek’s help, she is determined to find the key to this connection—a search that takes her beyond her small village and into the far reaches of the tundra.

White Heat is a stunning debut novel set in an utterly foreign culture amid an unforgiving landscape of ice and rock, of spirit ancestors and never-rotting bones. A suspense-filled adventure story that will captivate fans of Henning Mankell’s bestselling mysteries, this book marks the start of an exciting new series.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An arctic setting so real it’ll give you frostbite.”

    Dana Stabenow, New York Times bestsellilng author

  • “M. J. McGrath opens a window onto a fascinating and disappearing culture in this haunting mystery.”


  • “She weaves a strong strand of whodunit into a broader story about life in a twenty-first-century community on Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The plot is wholly satisfying, and McGrath’s portrait of a culture that uneasily blends yesterday and today is engrossing on its own merits. The Arctic is a big place—big enough, one hopes, for Edie Kiglatuk to find another mystery that needs solving between warm bowls of seal blood soup fresh from the microwave.”

    Associated Press

  • “This debut novel encompasses the hard, otherworldly beauty of the far north and the rapaciousness of energy moguls determined to exploit the area’s natural resources.”

    New Yorker

  • “The most addictive character—both hero and villain of the piece—is the Arctic itself. It makes a seductive location for a thriller, a land of wonder and terror shut in darkness for months of the year, a place in which temperatures rarely rise above freezing and, in winter, regularly fall below -40ºC.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “In a gripping debut novel, McGrath transports the reader to a land of almost incomprehensible cold and an unfamiliar but fascinating culture, taking on issues of climate change, energy exploration, local politics, and drug and alcohol abuse. Edie, a fiercely independent woman in a male-dominated milieu, is sure to win fans. Expect great things from this series.”


  • “McGrath has written a mystery but one reminiscent of Tony Hillerman’s culture-clash novels. The language is beautiful, especially the descriptions of the Inuit people, living in ‘a place littered with bones, with spirits, with reminders of the past...surrounded by our stories.’ Detailed in her knowledge of setting, McGrath vividly invokes the frozen land, and her portrayals of the rugged people who cherish its beauty and bounty, especially Edie and Derek, ring true.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Kate Reading, with her straightforward descriptions of the stark Arctic tundra and the cold, unforgiving weather, brings a strong sense of place to her narration. The characters she creates are fully realized, each with its own distinctive voice. Especially well rendered is the troubled Kiglatuk, who comes across—warts and all—as an earnest, courageous, and appealing heroine in this promising new series.”

    Publishers Weekly audio review

  • White Heat is a blazing star of a thriller: vivid, tightly-sprung, and satisfying on all levels. Encountering Edie Kiglatuk, the toughest, smartest Arctic heroine since Miss Smilla, left me with that rare feeling of privilege you get on meeting extraordinary people in real life. A huge achievement.”

    Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture

  • “M. J. McGrath’s White Heat is a tour de force, a book with a stunning grip on all the elements that make a mystery story great. The characters are unique and profoundly human, the plot wonderfully labyrinthine, and the sense of place beautifully—chillingly—evoked. I challenge any reader to pick up this marvelous novel and not be completely mesmerized.”

    William Kent Kreuger, author of Vermillion Drift 

  • “M. J. McGrath’s White Heat pulls you along like a steel cable, inexorably welding you to the characters and a place that you’ll never forget.”

    Craig Johnson, author of The Cold Dish and Hell Is Empty

  • “With a poet’s confidence McGrath makes an unforgiving Arctic landscape, and then gives us a smart and strong yet vulnerable survivor in Edie Kiglatuk. You root for Edie. You can’t do otherwise. In her risk-all pursuit of truth resides the best in all of us.”

    Kirk Russell, author of Redback: A John Marquez Crime Novel 

  • “Once in a blue moon a book comes along that exposes the world to us in a new light, makes us question everything: who we are, what we think we know, our beliefs and values, even the nature and purpose of our existence. White Heat is such a book. Seek it out and bask in it.”

    James Thompson, author of Lucifer’s Tears

  • An Entertainment Weekly Pick of 15 Captivating International Crime Thrillers

Listener Reviews

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  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Raven | 2/8/2014

    " 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 probably the most interesting aspect of the book as McGrath documents the day-to-day lives of these inhabitants referring often to the minutiae of their daily routines, language and life within this unrelenting environment, drawing on her established reputation as a non-fiction writer. The depiction of the landscape and the sheer grind of existence living with these climatic conditions was captured perfectly throughout and it did amuse me somewhat that a character refers to one day with a temperature of -25 as ‘balmy’! So these aspects of the book should have created a perfect backdrop for a gripping tale of murder in the Arctic wastes… However, the main plot line was a disjointed and slightly unbalanced affair focusing on the character of Edie Kiglatuk, a part-time teacher and guide, and opening with the murder of a tourist she is accompanying on a visit to the island. As the town council are keen to sweep this incident under the carpet and the body count continues to grow, including one of Edie’s nearest and dearest, Edie finds herself drawn into a dangerous conspiracy concerning the tapping of natural resources in the Arctic region by an unscrupulous business organisation. This leads Edie to a seemingly suicidal mission to mainland Greenland to uncover and expose this conspiracy putting herself and those within her community at great danger. To be honest I found the plot a bit turgid with the central conspiracy not really gripping me in the way that I think it should, and I felt that at times some fiercer editing was needed with some passages meandering on losing this reader’s interest. In terms of characterisation, aside from Edie who was a well-drawn and empathetic character, the other protagonists were less effective particularly the male characters, and I think that maybe McGrath focused to much on the factual construct of the book leaving gaps elsewhere, which would hinder the engagement of the reader with the overall story line. I think this is something that McGrath overcomes in the follow up book ‘The Boy In The Snow’, but for me, despite the strength of the historical, political and cultural aspects of ‘White Heat, I was a little disappointed with this debut. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 2/6/2014

    " Interesting cultural background among Inuit in the Arctic "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefan | 2/5/2014

    " How I found this book- I was at the Sun-Ray branch and performed a search for the newest book-on-CD that was on the shelf that day. This one looked the most interesting. Well-written, and well-performed. Fine descriptions of the arctic and a lot of details on "native" foods like blood soup, chunks of seal blubber, and briny fresh-caught raw char. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lori | 1/30/2014

    " A disappointing read. Flat prose and a dull protagonist. The Arctic is the best character of all in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Librarylady | 1/27/2014

    " The descriptions of the Arctic are enough to make for a great read, but the author throws in a pretty darn good mystery to boot. Can be a bit slow in places & some plot lines are better thought out than others, but this was overall a fun & intriguing mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 1/22/2014

    " Kind of slow to develop, but this gave me an interesting view into Inuit culture. A mystery that was by its geography international and multicultural. We listened to this one in the car and were impressed by the reader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Luci | 1/10/2014

    " Lots of interesting Inuit culture details. This book really takes you away. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynda | 10/14/2013

    " very interesting book, mystery about Inuit Eskimos, fascinating culture (especially their diet!) But sure would recommend this one for a different experience "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 9/8/2013

    " meh. Ok, sometimes a little too much description for my taste. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amber | 9/3/2013

    " I so wanted to like it but I couldn't get past the first 50-75 pages. I found myself wanting to skip around just to get ahead. That's usually my clue to move on. Maybe another time but not now. I'm passing on the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Helene | 6/22/2013

    " Mystery set in northern Canada "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sundra | 12/27/2012

    " Something different than the usual setting and characters; never read a book w/ Inuit characters--learned something. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 8/14/2012

    " I thought this was an interesting murder-mystery. Some parts of the book were dragging a bit, and probably could have been cut out. I loved the main character though and would definitely read another book about her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 7/21/2012

    " A great change of pace. I really liked Edie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martina | 6/4/2012

    " First in a series set on Ellesmere Island. Love the main characters, the setting, the emphasis on Inuit life, just 'all of the above'. Planning on this for the Mystery Group.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimmo | 4/30/2012

    " Erikoinen kirja, ei ihan perinteinen rikostarina, mut kannattaa lukea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances | 2/28/2012

    " the Inuit culture is really what made me read this book...story was good too... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 8/10/2011

    " Loved this book and learned so much about life in the Artic. It reminded me a little of the "Kate Shugak" mysteries. "

About the Author

M. J. McGrath is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including The Long Exile: A Tale of Inuit Betrayal and the novels The Boy in the Snow and White Heat, which was longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime and mystery novel of the year. She currently lives in London.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received dozens of Earphones Awards. She has been named by AudioFile magazine as a “Voice of the Century,” as well as the Best Voice in Science Fiction & Fantasy in 2008 and 2009 and Best Voice in Biography & Culture in 2010. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others.