In the Arctic Sun by Rowan Hill

Review by Patrick R McDonough

Isolation, extreme weather conditions, and atmospheric horror are the major building blocks of In the Arctic Sun. These ideas and more litter the pages of Hill’s debut. When I think of creature features, I typically imagine the over-sized monsters from the black-and-white days, but Arctic Sun falls in that category as well, and it does a damn good job.

This is the story of someone trying to escape their past, and start a new one in a land that has more trees than people. I’m sure many of us can relate to the idea of escaping from society, but what would you do if you did and the thing in this new place has actual monsters?

The cover—a Don Noble piece—sums up the tone perfectly. It’s strange, mysterious, psychological, and the juxtaposition of colors create the effect of light, causing you to squint. Incredible!

The way Hill peppered in clues throughout the story was not only necessary, but integral to the plotting and pace of the story. The character development reflects an all-too-real person in the most surreal of conditions, and that is what makes this story so believable. Something else Hill does incredibly well is makes it so not only the protagonist, Sarah, questions who she can and cannot trust, but at times the reader questions if she’s a reliable source.

Hill is one of those author’s that bust through the gates swinging with a smart, fast-paced, and thrilling ride. This book is perfect for readers that like mystery, suspense, and don’t want too much of the blood and guts.

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