I tried this one on a lark and I was pleasantly surprised. I always like a story set at the north or south pole, they're such harsh environments and great settings for mystery and mayhem. This one is no exception. It's set on Antarctica at a fictional research station where the long austral winter is about to begin, and the crew of the station are settling in for nine long months of darkness. Unfortunately a body is found on the ice just before the last plane leaves for the season, and that throws everything off.
Cass is a woman with a past and she's come to Antarctica to start over and find herself. We're reminded over and over that she is fragile, and the base psychologist seems unsure of her, but we quickly see that she is smart and capable. She's a mechanic and takes care of all the snowmobiles and various machines, and even though she's flawed she's tough too, and quickly realizes something is not right at the base. She doesn't have a lot of friends she can confide in though, and she's kind of a loner, but she does have an outlet- she keeps up a clandestine radio contact with a friendly Russian guy at a base not far away. When things get really dicey she turns to him as the only person she can talk to.
I could tell right off the bat there was some misdirection going on here, and that's the fun of it. Not only do we have Cass but we also get the occasional perspective of the station manager, the psychologist, and various other crew members. It's fun to read their thoughts and try to piece together who is lying and who isn't. As the long winter takes hold and it's eighty below zero outside, paranoia starts to set in as things happen and trust rapidly erodes among the forty- four people on the winter over.
I can see where some may get a little bored in the early going- there's not a lot of action and lots of dialogue, but for me this was a page turner. I enjoyed the dialogue because you're always looking to see who has answers and if you can spot the lies- it becomes obvious that something is going on at the base but it's unclear if the station manager and/ or senior staff are aware of it or are victims themselves. I think the atmosphere of isolation is captured quite well, and add to that lonely ice tunnels dating back to earlier settlements and some people who clearly are not psychologically suited to be there, and you have a recipe for bad stuff.
So all in all this was a winner. I loved the howling winds, the paranoia, the sense of creeping doom- the only thing I didn't care for was the explanation. While it made sense to a certain extent, it also didn't go far enough for me- I was looking forward to more weird stuff, I like a touch of the paranormal or SF with my thrillers and didn't get that here- but if this sounds good to you I'd give it a shot.