We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of Village of the Ghost Bears by Stan Jones

Village of the Ghost Bears

A Nathan Active Mystery

by Stan Jones

Village of the Ghost Bears by Stan Jones X
Village of the Ghost Bears by Stan Jones
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2009, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active must figure out what connects a dead hunter on a remote Arctic lake with a deadly series of events.

Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active must figure out what connects a dead hunter on a remote Arctic lake with a year-old fatal plane crash in the Brooks Range and a fire at the Chukchi Recreation Center that killed eight people, including the town's basketball star. The case turns out to involve a lucrative polar bear poaching operation and the intense bond between a brother and sister from the village of Cape Goodwin, famous in the Arctic for twins, polar bears, and schizophrenia. The heart of the matter, he discovers, is a dead woman whose killer remembers her as having a mouth so sweet "it was like kissing a Hershey bar."

Chapter One

“See why they call it One-Way Lake?”

Cowboy Decker rolled the Super Cub into a slow arc as Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active peered over Grace Palmer’s shoulder. One-Way Lake was a blue teardrop cupped in the foothills of the Brooks Range, with caribou trails lacing the ridges on either side. The outlet, One- Way Creek, lined with stunted black spruce and a few cottonwoods gone gold, threaded south across the rusting fall tundra toward the Isignaq River. At the lake’s head, wavelets licked a fan-shaped talus under a steep slope of gray-brown shale. More caribou trails cut across its face.

Grace was wearing the intercom headset, so Active was obliged to shout at the back of the pilot’s head. “Looks pretty tight,” he said.

“Yep,” Cowboy shouted back. “One way in, one way out. You land toward the cliff and take off going away.”

Active lifted one of the headset cups away from Grace’s ear. “What ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The series has many fans, and for good reason. The novel isn't just a mystery about who started a fatal fire, it's also a source of insight into the lives and culture of Native Americans in Northwest Alaska... If you have enjoyed the previous books, you will probably enjoy this one. If you are new to the series, and want to learn about Inupiat culture through these books, I recommend starting with one of the earlier books so that you don't feel too lost in the beginning of this volume...continued

Full Review (674 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Cindy Anderson).

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
Jones delivers a finely laddered plot...but the real fun, as always, lies in the dozens of mini-lessons he gives on hardscrabble Alaskan life, covering everything from the illegal trade in polar-bear bladders to the description of a potent indigenous chewing tobacco made from burnt birch-tree fungus.

Entertainment Weekly
Stan Jones delivers a finely laddered plot... but the real fun, as always, lies in the dozens of mini-lessons he gives on hardscrabble Alaskan life.

The New York Times - Marilyn Stasio
A writer of muscular words and stark images, Jones sets up his scenes like film shots...[t]his kind of writing makes for strong reading, especially with a sturdy murder plot to give it structure.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Multilayered characters and an offbeat setting authentically rendered-Jones...bids fair to become the Tony Hillerman of Alaska.

Library Journal
Readers get a crash course in living in remote Alaska and a mighty fine mystery as well...this series should get more exposure than it does.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. His sympathetic portrayal of Alaska's mixed-ethnic traditions is a tribute to both the state and the states of mind it inspires.

School Library Journal
Jones provides a unique look at the Alaskan landscape and reveals many of the racial tensions that still exist in this part of the world. Ghost Bears leaves readers looking forward to the next "Nathan Active" installment.

Booklist
Recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a stylishly written, solidly plotted mystery

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Polar Bears

In Village of the Ghost Bears, Trooper Nathan Active and his fellow law enforcement personnel must discuss the problem of polar bear poaching, because at least one of the suspects in the arson/murder has been involved in the illegal trade of selling polar bear gallbladders to China...

The Value of Bear Gallbladders
As the book correctly explains, gallbladder bile is highly prized in Chinese medicine. It is considered to be a cure for everything from fever and rheumatism to poor eyesight. Illegal trade exists between Alaska and Korea, and between Alaska and Russia (for eventual sale to China), and it is a lucrative enterprise. The Humane Society of America's website states: "The sum of saleable parts can make a dead bear worth in ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Village of the Ghost Bears, try these:

  • Arctic Chill jacket

    Arctic Chill

    by Arnaldur Indridason

    Published 2010

    About this book

    More by this author

    The Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society.

  • A Deeper Sleep jacket

    A Deeper Sleep

    by Dana Stabenow

    Published 2008

    About this book

    More by this author

    A brutal murder takes place in a small Alaskan community. People know who the culprit is, and he has evaded justice for many years. But Kate Shugak is determined to find the evidence needed to convict him.

We have 4 read-alikes for Village of the Ghost Bears, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    by Shubnum Khan
    Shubnum Khan's eloquent and moving debut novel opens in 1932, when a djinn that haunts a house by ...
  • Book Jacket: Transient and Strange
    Transient and Strange
    by Nell Greenfieldboyce
    Throughout her powerful essay collection, Transient and Strange, science reporter Nell ...
  • Book Jacket: Prophet Song
    Prophet Song
    by Paul Lynch
    Paul Lynch's 2023 Booker Prize–winning Prophet Song is a speedboat of a novel that hurtles...
  • Book Jacket: The Frozen River
    The Frozen River
    by Ariel Lawhon
    "I cannot say why it is so important that I make this daily record. Perhaps because I have been ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Adversary
    by Michael Crummey

    An enthralling novel about a small town struggling to survive, and a bitter vendetta between two rivals.

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.