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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Martin Roy Hill's Polar Melt: A Novel is a science fiction mystery thriller set in the Arctic. With global warming, the Arctic polar ice is melting and strange events unfold in the Chukchi Sea. The Franklin, an American oceanographic research ship, mysteriously disappears and reappears, with no crew aboard and no power. The US Coast Guard sends a special ops team, led by Commander Douglas Gates, to investigate. Gates is a marine archeologist and an oceanographer. He and his team discover a sabotaged main power unit and two explosives aboard the Franklin. The unusual structure of the nearby Russian oil drilling platform, the Vilanovsky, raises disturbing questions. Puzzling massive energy emissions hint at an unknown energy source on the seabed. Gates and his team face increasingly formidable and perilous challenges to solve the strange mystery under the sea.
I thoroughly enjoyed Martin Roy Hill's Polar Melt for its strong characters and spell-binding sea mystery. I loved Hill's interweaving of marine tales into the mystery, like the phantom Flying Dutchman, the Kraken, giant stingrays, Inuit mythology, high-speed underwater objects, and even gremlins! I liked Hills's use of real unexplained submarine disappearances as it added depth to the science fiction. I liked the development of the characters as they pursue seemingly unconnected clues. Gates is an experienced mariner, a strong leader, and deeply aware of the risks for his special ops team. The fast-moving events push the team’s courage and endurance to dangerous limits. I liked the way Hills builds the tension in the story as every discovery leads to more questions. The climax builds as a terrifying maelstrom of events unfolds. A gripping sea story from start to finish!