Hodder & Stoughton | 19 August 2021 | 384 pgs
Dr. Kate North is trying to gather herself after a tragedy that took her lover, Ben, away. So when she's given an opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she said yes to the offer without much thinking. At that point, she's only glad that no one around will ask about her past and that she'll have all the freedom in an isolated place like the Antarctica, in spite of the harsh weather condition and any other risk factors associated with it. Furthermore, there's only thirteen staff there, including herself.
Upon her arrival, she's shocked to learn that no one is there to guide her regarding her job scope. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice and when Kate tries to ask more about his accident, no one offers more information or they just simply brush it off. As the days go on, Kate soon find that the group’s dynamic has become more strained and there's a sense of mistrust lingering among them. She has a feeling it has got to do with Jean-Luc's death and she's set to find out on her own whether if Jean-Luc was murdered and who's the murderer living among them.
I was intrigued by the claustrophobic atmosphere in this book. After all, Antarctica isn't a tourist destination for that matter and we could only experience it through armchair travel. To begin with, Kate's narrative was engaging but I couldn't connect with her as a character. For a medical professional, I felt that she was rather impulsive and overreacting in some circumstances. She relies too much on pills (given her mental state over the past tragedy) and this made her vulnerable. Also, since there are other twelve characters, I didn't feel they were flesh-out enough although a few stood out due to their (loud) personality. Pacing- and intensity-wise, it was slow until the last third of the story and thereafter things started to escalate and it ended quickly. Overall it had a good premise but I think it'd make a propulsive thriller with better execution.
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