© William Kent Krueger; (P)2007 Recorded Books
Retired RN. Listen to about 4 audiobooks a month. "The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you" & a good narrator.
I live in Minnesota so there is some bias. I love William Kent Krueger. This is the 4th or 5th in his series and I've enjoyed them all. (As well as Ordinary Grace.). I always feel at home when I read his mysteries. This one kept me guessing to the end.
Cork O'Conner is now the ex-sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota, but when a young high school girl goes missing one New Year's Eve, and shows up dead in a snow mobile crash in the spring thaw, Cork finds himself in the center of the investigation. A young "bad boy" Ojibwa, Solemn, seems to be the most likely suspect for his former girlfriend's murder. Cork believes he's innocent, and besides Cork has a soft spot for the boy because of his connection to the Ojibwa man who basically raised Cork.
The new sheriff, and much of the towns folks would just as soon convict the "Indian" and close the case. Things get more complicated when Solemn claims to has seen and heard Jesus speak to him. Then miracles begin happening in the town, and people come from all around to be "healed". Through all these distractions, Cork must sift through all the possible people who might have had cause to kill the girl.
William Kent Kruger develops interesting characters and situations to creat a mystery that is very original. Clues, answers, and surprises develop very naturally within this continuing saga of the O'Conner family and the people of Aurora. This is a colorful and thoroughly interesting series that lines up with the likes of C J Box and Craig Johnson. Krueger is a writer that can take a seemingly simple story and develop intrigue beyond the average writer. I become more engrossed with his writing with each of his books!!
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
This is book number four in the Cork O'Connor series, and so far they have all been excellent. My husband and I have listened to all four together, so they are definitely for both men and women. The twists and turns in this one are REALLY unpredictable . . . we were guessing until the very end . . . The story begins with the murder of a beautiful young high school girl . . . You will find yourself wanting to learn more and more about her and her family . . . and you will grab all that is close to you and treasure it, fear for it, and wonder, "what, who is out there that would hurt a kid?" Some of the reviewers are critical of this book, saying it is overly "religious" . . . I did not find that to be true at all. In fact, since the beginning of the series, ex-sheriff, Cork O'Connor has been pretty much open and honest about his "crisis of faith" since leaving the Catholic church, where he grew up, went to school, and even served as an altar boy. If readers were paying attention, this theme of "examining the heart" has been there all along. The story line has included the church, priests, and a very faithful and grounded sister-in-law, Rose, who lives in the house with Cork and Jo and helps to raise their three kids. The moral compass which has been Cork's guide from day one has been from God . . . a God that is plenty big enough to allow Cork to question His existence . . . I love the inclusion of the spiritual stories of the Indians, who know God on a very personal level . . . so whatever you call God . . . even when you deny His existence, He always brings you around . . . This book in no way "preaches" to anyone. It leaves readers to their own conclusions. It isn't "goody goody" or even full of theology. So if anyone is offended, maybe they should check to see who that voice is that is speaking to them . . . These books are mysteries/thrillers which include all areas of the lives of their characters. To exclude this one area would just be dicing up the story. Can't wait for book five!!!
I've just finished the first 4 books of this series over the last two weeks. I'm a huge fan of crime mysteries and have read many of the more popular authors of this type of genre including Michael Connelly, CJ Box, Craig Johnson, Robert Crais, and Harlen Coben to mention a few. Up until now I've enjoyed them all, but didn't think any of them would ever compare to Micheal Connelly and the Harry Bosch series. Well I'm here to tell you there's some competition in town now.
Although William Kent Kreugar may not have the intricate and surprising plot twists like Connelly, he more than makes up for it with his cast of characters and a very believable and relatable protagonist and his family living in a very unique area. There is always some form of moral conflict at the center of each of his stories and Blood Hollow is no different.
Don't be put off by the few that have problems with the Christian or Catholic underpinnings of this story. There has always been a very predominant aspect of spirituality in all of the books in this series. Mostly it's been oriented around Native American spirituality with just a few references to Cork O'Conner and his family's Catholic heritage. That never bothered anyone until the Christian heritage became more predominant in this book. I guess for some people mentioning Christianity is akin to "preaching" whereas native american spirituality isn't...go figure.
At any rate, this is a top-notch story told in a powerful and believable way that allows one to feel a real connection to the events and the people involved. What draws me into this book as well as his previous books is enjoying how the characters grow and change from the things they experience. By the time I get to the end I feel nearly as exhausted as the characters because I've been on the ride with them. And I also take away little bits of wisdom I've absorbed during the process that I can take with me on my own personal journey. To me, that's a pretty good deal.
It would be unlikely that I would listen to this or any books a second time.
The performance is okay. I was annoyed however by the change in the reader's voice style for a character that has been in all of the previous books.
While I enjoyed this book a great deal and would recommend it, I also felt that the author glossed over some very important details that occurred in the preceding book. Namely, the abduction of Cook's wife and son. Surely that would have created some residual emotions, especially for the son who is a sensitive child - but it was not referenced at any time in the book. Otherwise, except for the change in the voice style of a recurrent character, I really enjoyed this book!
I might enjoy this if I wanted to read the book, but, to my taste, the narrator lacks the range of expression needed to bring the characters to life and to add depth and coloring to the diverse cast of characters and the extensive paragraphs of natural description, both of which could be strengths of the story if read with feeling and insight. This narrator might be better in the "noir" category. I am not going to finish the recording and will ask for a refund to make a different selection.
I liked the story line. There were plenty of twists and turn in the plot. But the overly forced religious opinion was too much for me and totally ruined the experience of listening to the story. I felt like I was being preached at and manipulated to accept the author's religious views. If all his other books have the same overbearing religious bent, I won't be buying them.
My interest was piqued from practically the very beginning. The author has the ability to make me really care about the characters. And I think the narrator did a very good job--subtle but discernible accents, great job with both male and female roles.
During the first half or so of this book, I kept thinking I would probably enjoy the rest of the series. After the conclusion, though, not quite so much. I like mysteries where after the conclusion, you can think, "I should/could have figured that out." This one instead provided information near the conclusion without which you could not solve the mystery.
Loved the characters, liked the narration. The resolution of the mystery was a little sketchy for me, but overall an enjoyable listen. The overall three stars is deceiving. If possible to give partial stars, for me this would be overall 3.6.
"Balance of Novel Spoiled by Too Much Religion"
I would definitively lessen the amount of reference to religious issues.
I write this as a non-believer and I am therefore conscious that many readers who know the authors work well, will buy his work specifically because it combines religion with crime and crime solving. This is the third novel I've read by William Kent Krueger and now I know that whilst they're well written, the formula is just not for me. My view is that there is just too much reliance on religion and it tips the balance of this crime novel in the wrong direction.
Less of that and more time spent on developing robust characters and plots and would do it for me.
I generally enjoy the authors prowess in scene setting and excellent descriptive passages of the Minnesota climate and landscape.
I've previously bought 'Ordinary Grace' (which I really rate) and 'Iron Lake' which was pretty good but I don't think I'll bother with any more. Great pity, but no, the intensity of religious themes and mystic 'goings -on' are just not for me.
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