Let me admit up front that I'm a sucker for Arctic stories — 24-hour darkness, punishing temperatures, white critters fuzzy and fearsome...
“The Trudeau Vector”
by Juris Jurjevics
Viking, 402 pp., $24.95
Let me admit up front that I’m a sucker for Arctic stories — 24-hour darkness, punishing temperatures, white critters fuzzy and fearsome — what’s not to like? “The Trudeau Vector” is a good one. While its plot is reminiscent of a classic “X-Files” episode, author Juris Jurjevics has worked overtime at providing depth and a wealth of background to his story of Arctic researchers being killed off one by one by some mysterious biological and/or chemical villain.
The setting is an international research station in the way far north of Canada. Something has snuffed out the life of several research scientists out on a mission on the ice in an original, if gruesome, fashion.
Dr. Jessica Hanley, a rule-breaking American epidemiologist, is brought into this pod of fearsomely freaked-out scientists to try to figure out who or what the killer is. A Russian submarine crew heads for the scene for reasons best left undivulged.
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Jurjevics is the publisher of Soho Press, which publishes a line of high-concept crime fiction. Maybe he decided, after reading umpty-jillion manuscript submissions, “Hey — I can do this.” He has worked very hard at providing a believable milieu for his characters, and the chief strength of “The Trudeau Vector” is its presentation of virtually every aspect of life on an Arctic research station. He’s also an excellent translator of scientific jargon.
The weakness of the book’s construction is that Jurjevics is a little too entranced with his Arctic material, which forestalls the key question of whodunit for too long. But “The Trudeau Vector” is still a worthy companion for one of our own long, cold nights.