January 02, 2009

Native beauty in Frozen Sun

Frozen Sun: A Nathan Active Mystery (The Nathan Active Mysteries) (Paperback)Blizzards, tundra, Eskimos, bush pilots, and bingo-loving grandmas enliven this literate ethnic mystery starring Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active, who has been assigned to the remote Arctic town of Chukchi. Though born an Inupiat Eskimo, Active was raised in Anchorage by white parents and has little knowledge of his native culture. During the long months he has spent in Chukchi, he has rallied against the icy weather and struggled to understand his two cultural identities, but he realizes how deeply he has been settling into the rhythms of community life when Grace Palmer, a local beauty queen, goes missing. The state trooper mounts a search that ultimately leads him halfway across Alaska—and gives him plenty of time to discover he is in love with Grace. Closing in on the answers, however, he discovers evidence that points to an agonizing situation: she is either dead, or she is a cold-blooded killer.Native beauty is in hands of book holdersAlaska author Stan Jones wanted a certain look for his latest mystery novel, “Frozen Sun.” So he posted an appeal online for a “beautiful Native woman” on craigslist.com.

“I’ll be more careful next time,” he said with a laugh recently. “I got some pretty, um, off-the-wall responses, including some guy in Seattle. I’m not sure what he thought I wanted.”

In the end Jones got what he wanted: Heidi Johnson, a Cordova-born model who has been scouted for Budweiser billboards and even a Bruce Willis movie, responded to Jones’ post and her face graces the book’s cover.

“The book distributor didn’t like some of the grittier options we put together,” Jones said. “I was told that eyes will sell books, so having the eyes of a beautiful face like Heidi’s should be a winner.”
Comment:  I would've complained about using a Native beauty queen (i.e., princess) on the cover of Frozen Sun, but that's what the book is about. Never mind.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

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