City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita

The City was the nickname they gave the Walcott Building, because back in the sixties, when Point Mettier was an army port, they used to refer to it as “the City Under One Roof.” The City was where all the good stuff was when the military was there, but now it was just an abandoned building.

City Under One Roof

I don’t know if I enjoyed this book more for the setting, characters, or the plot. All of it is written with a mesmerizing style; I felt I lived in Alaska trapped by a snowstorm which rendered the tunnel inoperable. I felt that I, myself, was surrounded by an assorted bunch of rather odd people: Amy and her mother who ran Star Asian Food; the police consisting of J.B. and Chief Sipley; Mrs. Blackmon and her two sons: Spenser and Troy; Lonnie, who muttered nursery rhymes to herself and cared for her pet moose, Denny, while fretting that she would be sent back to the Institute. Worst of all was the arrival of a band of men with tattoos and weapons, brought by a particularly cruel leader named Wolf.

When Amy finds a foot, still encased in a boot, washed up on the beach, Detective Cara brings herself from Anchorage to this remote village. It is a village which dries up in the Winter when the tourists are gone, for it has none of the ice fishing, or skiing, or snowmobiling which would attract them. And so Cara finds herself staying with a group of rather odd people living in one building. One of them has killed the person whose foot, and hand, and later on, head, are discovered piecemeal.

Cara has brought herself into the investigation because she has lost her husband and son a year ago; by finding the killer, she hopes to find an answer to what has happened to her family.

I found this to be an exceptional thriller, both unique and literary. I recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers such as I do, and who can envision themselves in a remote Alaskan village surrounded by snow and a killer.

(City Under One Roof will be available for sale on January 10, 2023. Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group of Penguin Random House for the advanced copy.)

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