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From Ice to Ashes
Jessica Simon
NeWest Press 2009
258 pages

The Yukon – Alaska winter setting does a lot for Jessica Simon’s thriller From Ice to Ashes. Simon is so good at conveying this environment you instinctually bundle up and then check the thermostat when you take a break from this easy to read and very interesting novel. A mystery reader especially appreciates a well-written adventure off the beaten track and From Ice to Ashes is most definitely off the beaten track.

Sometimes, local color and colorful characters are all that really hold a thriller together. This is not a problem here.

From Ice to Ashes takes place before and during the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a three-tier race featuring a marathon, a 100k race, and a 300-mile race from Dawson to Tok, Alaska. One of the race volunteers is Markus Fanger, a German expatriate and auxiliary RCMP agent. He has taken young Native offender Donjek Stoneman under his wing and to man the border checkpoint of the race. Other events and characters include an explosives theft at Boreal Blasters which is being investigated by RCMP corporal LaRouge, a single mother working on an Alaskan army base, a German-Morrocan Muslim contestant, and various colorful folks from the Yukon.

At first, From Ice to Ashes will not get your heart racing but once Simon has set everything up, this thriller really … races along.

Jessica Simon has written an excellent, quick paced, original thriller.