Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery

Henry, Sue

Published by Avon, 2000
ISBN 10: 0380788640 / ISBN 13: 9780380788644
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Synopsis:

The Yukon Quest has the reputation of being the toughest sled dog race in the world, taking teams and mushers through more than a thousand miles of North America's most remote and treacherous territory.Jessie Arnold is ready to meet the challenge.

Jessie and her team of dogs are well prepared for the daring competition, 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.

It's the contest of a lifetime, yet as the other mushers push toward the finish line, Jessie forges ahead in a race all her own. Unable to ignore the plight of the missing girl, she's in a life and death battle against a desperate, unknown kidnapper who will stop at nothing. Speeding through the twists and turns of the icy, broken trails, Jessie has no time for fear. For somewhere in that vast and lonely landscape, a killer waits for a chance to unleash a murderous rage on anyone who dares to get in his way.

Review: While most modern mysteries set in Alaska concentrate on the damage done to the ecology or the strange personalities who take refuge in this arctic vastness, Sue Henry's books are more straightforward and usually more fun. In such stories as Deadfall and the Anthony Award-winning Murder on the Iditarod Trail, Henry follows in the sled and snowshoe tracks of writers like Jack London and Robert W. Service, who realized that Alaska was the last great frontier of adventure. Her characters, like champion sled-dog racer Jessie Arnold, are welcome throwbacks to a simpler period when physical challenge was a healthy way to measure self-esteem.

Jessie is testing herself in the thousand-mile Yukon Quest race, which follows the old mail trail from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, when one of the other racers is kidnapped and held for ransom. The kidnappers insist that only Jessie can deliver the money, and it has to be on the most dangerous leg of the race. Any attempt to involve the police will result in the victim's death. Of course, the worst blizzard of the year blows up just as the race gets to that point, and it goes without saying that Jessie risks herself and her beloved dog team to recover the victim and capture the bad guys. Even if the thought of somebody shouting "Mush!" fills you with silent laughter, you're sure to be gripped by Henry's ability to recreate the pleasures and perils of an arcane sport in a breathtaking landscape. --Dick Adler

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Title: Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
Book Condition: Acceptable

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