Hot on the heels of Lance Mackey’s amazing 2008 Iditarod win, back to back with a win on the grueling Yukon Quest, and the second Iditarod championship in a row for Mackey, here are two Alaskan murder mysteries for after-mushing brandy-quaffing by the fire.
Murder on the Iditarod Trail
The Iditarod, sometimes called The Last Great Race, brings thousands of competitors and their dog teams to Anchorage each year. The racers cover 1150 miles of some of Alaska’s roughest, most majestic terrain – jagged mountain ranges, iced-over areas of Norton Sound, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coastline. The temperatures frequently fall well below zero, with winds that can cause complete loss of visibility. Hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills are always present.
It is an arduous sport, but not a deadly one. Until now.
When a veteran musher smashes into a tree and is fatally impaled by a branch, Sergeant Alex Jensen is called in. In the midst of race proceedings, he begins a homicide investigation. The next day, another death. And then another, each one more brutal than the last.
Someone is systematically killing the top competitors. And as the mushers thread their way through the treacherous trails, Jensen races to find the murderer – before more blood stains the frozen Alaskan range.
Jessie Arnold has been training long and hard. This is her big year; for the first time she’s got a shot at winning. But as her position in the race improves, so do her chances of being the killer’s next target. Amid the tensions of the race and the threat of murder, Jessie and Alex Jensen are drawn together.
In a stunning finale, the race and the case come to a close simultaneously, and the savage truth emerges just as the winner crosses the finish line.
Murder on the Yukon Quest
Jessie and her dog team are well prepared for the tough Yukon Quest sled race, but her one regret is that her longtime friend and lover, Alex Jensen, isn’t there to see her off. Alex has been called home to Idaho for a family emergency and Jessie begins the big race without her biggest booster.
Well along the trail, Jessie is stunned to learn that a young novice racer she met at the start has been abducted and held for ransom. The girl’s distraught father has been warned that no one but Jessie Arnold is to be told – especially not the police. Feeling isolated and alone, Jessie must decide what to do in the face of terrible odds.
As other mushers push on toward the finish line, Jessie forges ahead in a race all her own.
Sue Henry is the author of six novels in her award-winning Alaska mystery series: Murder on the Iditarod Trail, Termination Dust, Sleeping Lady, Death Takes Passage, Deadfall, and Murder on the Yukon Quest. She has lived in Alaska for almost a quarter of a century, and brings history, Alaskan lore, and the majestic beauty of the vast landscape to her mysteries. Based in Anchorage, she teaches writing at the University of Alaska.