Bear Island is less a thriller than it is a mystery, which explains the somewhat slower-than-usual pacing. MacLean brings back Captain Imrie (from When Eight Bells Toll) who is a good guy this time. Rather, he's a sub-character, piloting the Morning Rose to Bear Island. Aboard is a film crew and the producers/directors of the most anticipated film of the year.
And then people start dropping like flies. I love it! It's very reminiscent of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None or William Dietrich's more recent Dark Winter. The classic premise: a bunch of people somehow completely isolated, and it's just not the best week for any of them.
Bear Island is written in first-person (an immediate MacLean favorite), written with that ubiquitous dry wit found in his other novels. Despite the obvious -- more whiskey and scotch downed than there is water in the ocean, and that Bear Island only appears halfway into the book -- I found myself enjoying every page. And it turns out Bear Island is actually a very beautiful island. I recommend Googling for images (see "customer images" for book cover). Don't expect MacLean to describe it too well, since it's dark, cloudy, windy and rainy during the tale.
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
A film unit heads to a top-secret loction on a barren Artic Island. A killer sails with them. Great climax!