New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger joined the ranks of today’s best suspense novelists with this thrilling, universally acclaimed debut. Conjuring “a sense of place he’s plainly honed firsthand in below-zero prairie” (Kirkus Reviews), Krueger brilliantly evokes northern Minnesota’s lake country—and reveals the dark side of its snow-covered landscape.
Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his “former” status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago’s South Side, there’s not much that can shock him. But when the town’s judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal.
As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.
Short story specialist William Kent Krueger brings a fresh take on some familiar elements and a strong sense of atmosphere to his first mystery. Chicago cop Cork O’Connor and his lawyer-wife Jo moved back to his northern Minnesota hometown of Aurora to improve their quality of life, but it hasn’t worked. Cork became the local sheriff, but lost an election after a disagreement between local Indians and whites over fishing rights turned deadly. Then his marriage broke up, with Jo becoming a successful advocate for tribal rights and Cork reduced to running a scruffy restaurant and gift shop. As the book starts, Cork is feeling guilty about sleeping with a warm-hearted waitress and still hoping to get back with Jo and their three children. Drawn into the disappearance of an Indian newsboy, which coincides with the apparent suicide of a former judge, O’Connor clashes with a newly elected senator–the judge’s son and Jo’s lover–as well as with the town’s new sheriff and some tribal leaders getting rich on gambling concessions. Krueger quickly makes Cork a real person beneath his genre garments, mostly by showing him trying to deal with the needs of his two very different teenage daughters. And the author’s deft eye for the details of everyday life brings the town and its peculiar problems to vivid life. –Dick Adler
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
The first Cork O’Connor mystery introduces him to audiences and tells an entertaining story about secrets hidden in a small Minnesota town. Cork is part Anishinaabe Indian, has friends and mentors in the tribe, but has been the sheriff of Aurora enforcing white men’s laws. After a confrontation between whites and natives that caused him to kill a white resort owner, he lost a recall election. He has been deeply grieving which caused him to lose his marriage.
Cork has started a new relationship with Molly Nurmi but hasn’t given up hope of rebuilding his marriage to Jo in order to keep his relationship with his children. When a woman in town asks him to help locate her missing son, Cork finds himself in an investigation that leads to the death of a prominent and heartily disliked judge, Minnesota militant groups, Indian casinos, and small town corruption and secrets.
I liked the setting. I liked Cork who was a man who fought for justice more than he fought for the law. I’ll be reading more of the series which has now reached sixteen books.