Book Review: Cold Storage, Alaska by John Straley
February 27, 2014 1 Comment
I got this book from Soho Press for review. I love stories in cold places, so the title, Alaska, immediately made me sit up. It’s supposed to be a mystery but it’s much more than that!
Cold Storage, Alaska: What it is about
From the publishers: “Reformed with the dream of opening a bar-slash-church, Clive “The Milkman” McCahon returns to his Alaska hometown of Cold Storage after a 7-year jail stint for dealing coke. He has a lot to make up to his brother, Miles, who has dutifully been taking care of their ailing mother—and, really, all of Cold Storage.
Miles is a Physician’s Assistant and the closest thing to a doctor this side of Sitka.
But Clive doesn’t realize the trouble he’s bringing home. His vengeful former business partner is hot on his heels, a stick-in-the-mud State Trooper is dying to bust him for narcotics, and, to complicate everything, Clive might be going a little insane—lately, he’s been hearing animals talking to him.
Will Clive’s arrival breathe new life into the dying town and its hard-drinking, no-nonsense inhabitants? Or will the trouble he brings along be the last nail in Cold Storage’s coffin?“
Cold Storage, Alaska: What I thought
This is a crazy story about a small town in Alaska called Cold Storage. I mean, what name is that for a town? It’s all explained, though. I expected this to be a fun small-town story but also a more straightforward story than this is. That was actually good – it was quite unpredictable (in a good way).
The story alternates between Clive and his brother Miles (and a few more people). Clive has just come out of prison. I didn’t like him particularly, but he had good intentions. But what a silly man, to show up in Cold Storage with a ferocious dog that he doesn’t know how to handle!
Miles is a small town man, who knows everyone and is involved in many things. He’s a bit boring, really, but he made a good, stable contrast with his criminal brother.
The most unlikely and odd things happen, including a pilgrimage by canoe to visit the Dalai Lama who is visiting Seattle. Or a man of native Indian heritage who is studying white culture. Or… well, you must read it for yourself. I can reveal that Cold Storage is a place that attracts the strangest people and brings them together.
A fun and weird read. The story goes everywhere but eventually the strands come back together. Not a good ending for some, but hey, doesn’t that make it vaguely realistic?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)
Number of pages: 300
First published: 2014
I got this: from the publishers, Soho Press, for review
Genre: contemporary fiction, mystery