The Winter Over, by Matthew Iden
The Shackleton South Pole Research Facility has been privatized. Winter is coming to the facility, meaning the summer researchers are leaving. The team chosen to “winter over” for the six months of night is an unusual mix, and every one of them seems to have had some emotional problems.
Just before the last plane leaves one of the researchers is found dead after wandering out in a snow storm. Cass Jennings, the mechanical engineer for the facility, thinks the brief investigation of the death is strange. Then, once the crew is generally stranded for the winter, problems begin to pop up in the station equipment. After that, one of the team disappears and others start showing up dead.
Cass suddenly finds herself in a bizarre situation where no one can be trusted and she may end up being the last one alive … or the last one to die.
It’s a fun concept and there’s tons of information about living and working in the antarctic, everything from fuel deliveries to how sewage is handled. All this while a killer lurks somewhere on the station.
As a mystery I found it a bit weak. Sometimes a writer lets the most likeable and least suspicious person end up being the murderer, and Iden let this happen early in the book. Even with reaching the end and getting to yell “I knew it!” and making the dogs jump, the motives were interesting.
As a mystery with an unusual setting the book is solid. As a brain twister of a mystery not so much, but there’s plenty of action and suspense to keep the story flowing all the same.