Book Review: Bonereapers by Jeanne Matthews

Jeanne Matthews
Poisoned Pen Press, June 2012
ISBN: 978-159058-618-1

Fascinating story. One reviewer calls it Norwegian Noir, because it’s set in a very unusual place and time. The normal endless night has settled on the small Norwegian town of Longyearbyen, located in enduring cold only a few hundred miles from the North Pole.

The American delegation is both political and commercial. From the warm and sunny shores of Hawaii comes anthropologist Dinah Perelin. Accompanied by some United States Senators and their entourages, the CEO of a large and wealthy agribusiness corporation, and a growing gaggle of media types, Perelin is present to see to the sequestration of a quantity of heritage banana seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Buried in the permafrost, the high-tech vault is a repository for heritage and special seeds. Some have dubbed it the Doomsday vault, a place to store viable seeds against the possibility of the next world-wide catastrophe that would send the world population into widespread starvation. There are intriguing possibilities for crime fiction in this vault, but they are only alluded to here.

Perelin slogs her way through a complicated group of characters, some of whom could stand more development, as well as murder and assault with a little potential romance thrown in as well. There are disappointing shifts in points of view at times. These are relatively small points against a story that moves along at an icy jog through the enduring night, revealing crucial information that will keep many viewers turning the pages, if only to see what happens next to the charming protagonist.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2013.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.