My review of Aaron Elkins’ Icy Clutches


Gideon Oliver expects to be amicably bored when he takes on the role of “accompanying spouse” at a lodge in the magnificent wild country of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where his forest ranger wife, Julie, is attending a conference. But it turns out to be exactly his cup of tea. There is another group at the lodge: six scientists on a memorial journey to the site of a thirty-year-old glacial avalanche that killed three of their colleagues. Their leader is TV’s most popular science personality, the unctuous M. Audley Tremaine, who is the sole survivor of the fatal avalanche. But he does not survive long and is soon found hanged in his room. If that is not upsetting enough, shocked hikers discover human bones emerging from the foot of the glacier—are they the shattered remains of the three who died, finally seeing daylight after their two-mile, three-decade journey within the glacial flow?

When the FBI seeks expert help, everyone agrees how fortunate it is that Dr. Oliver, the famed Skeleton Detective, is on the scene. Everybody, that is, but the person who wants ancient history to stay that way—and who believes that murder is the surest way to keep the past buried.

4 Stars

I think this is my favorite in the series so far. It was well paced and kept me interested the entire story. I didn’t figure out the culprit until towards the end. I like the main characters of Gideon, Julie and John. The story specific characters were all rather annoying, particularly Tremaine, who was a completely unlikable creation.

I’ve always wanted to visit the inside passage and see Glacier Bay. This just reinforced that. I’m also curious to visit Juneau. It’s got a milder climate than Fargo despite being considerably farther north. It appears to have grown considerably since this was written, but still sounds like a great place to see.

There was one quote that bothered me, where it was stated that the average depth of San Francisco Bay was only 3 feet. It’s much more than that, at a little over 3 meters.

The eBook was formatted fairly well, but had some line break issues and misplaced punctuation.