Anthony Award-winning author William Kent Krueger crafts this riveting tale about a small Minnesota town’s ex-sheriff who is having trouble retiring his badge. Cork O’Connor loses his job after being blamed for a tragedy on the local Anishinaabe Indian reservation. But he must set aside his personal demons when a young boy goes missing on the same day a judge commits suicide—and no one but O’Connor suspects foul play.
Solve another case with Cork O'Connor.
©1998 William Kent Krueger (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"Krueger makes Cork a real person beneath his genre garments, mostly by showing him dealing 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." (Publishers Weekly)
This was an enjoyable mystery, although it tends to wander a bit and drones on too long about the plight of the Ojibwe tribe and their exploitation by whites, all of which is probably true but for the most part, tangential to the plot. On the other hand, his descriptions of the wilds of Minnesota and its history add to the drama. I understood that this was the first of a series with Cork O'Connor as the protagonist, so however dire his situation appeared to be at any point, I knew somehow he would survive. I liked that he and his wife were multidimensional, having both great strengths and evident weaknesses. Many of their adversaries, however, are more one-dimensional, purely cunning and evil, without any sign of conscience. The female leads are both very beautiful, and sex is always passionate, thrilling, and uncomplicated. The plot is intricate, but fairly predictable, and the ending was, for me, typical of the genre, not at all unexpected. I was rather surprised to learn that Iron Lake won the 1999 Anthony Award for best first novel. The quality of the prose does not compare to that of Louise Penny or Michael Connelly. However, from other reviews, I infer that the writing becomes stronger with time, and note that subsequent books in this series won Anthony Awards for best novel of the year in 2005 & 2006. His latest, Trickster's Point, the twelfth in the series, is currently #12 on the NY Times hardcover best sellers list. So I'd be willing to give a later book in the series a try sometime, but am in no rush to do so. David Chandler was an excellent narrator; I enjoyed listening to him.
I know from whence I speak.
This was a surprisingly good book. I think I picked it up in a 3 for 2 credit sale because I am always looking for a new series in this genre. I think I may have found one. Krueger not only tells a good story, he creates and develops interesting characters that should be interesting to follow. Moreover, this is not a "they lived happily thereafter book". I get the feeling nobody, the main character not withstanding, is safe in Krueger's plots. I suppose time will tell if this theme continues as I go through the 13 available books.
From a more critical point of view, Krueger's plot in Iron Lake might have been a bit over extended. There were a lot of characters and sub-plots that didn't add much, if anything, to the story. Are some of them going to play roles in later books? I don't know. But, I'd like to give the author a little slack in the first book in his series and move on to the next one. In my experience, the good authors usually get better with experience (probably because they get better editors who polish the work). I hope that will be the case in later Cork O'Connor stories.
The narrator, David Chandler, did a great job. I almost did notice he was there and I could usually identify the character by the sound of his voice.
In any event, I will purchase the next book in the series right after I submit this review. I suppose that best expresses my feelings toward this one.
His narration was good.
Kept waiting for this book to take off but after nearing the end of Part 1, I realized it just wasn't going to. Too many words, too many superfluous situations and not enough action. One of the most boring books I've run into in a long time.
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the strong sense of place and season - I could almost feel the clean cold of winter and the purging heat of the sauna - and the clarity and credibility of the various candidates for the "he did it" role.
The central character, Cork O'Connor, an white skinned, red haired man with a native American grandmother that seems to give him a foot in both of the communities of Iron Lake, has the makings of a tragic hero - a committed sheriff, a loving husband, a doting father who falls from grace in every way possible when disaster strikes but who remains a good man, albeit one who cheats on his wife. I could not find my way inside this man's head. He seems to be a talented and tenacious investigator but he is not gifted with insight into his own character or that of his wife. Add to this a willingness to buy into the reality of Windigoes and you have someone I found hard to believe in. He is a pizza with way too many toppings.
The book is well plotted. The twists and turns are satisfying and credible and they kept me guessing (although not always caring)
Unfortunately, Kreuger's women are almost cartoons - young, beautiful, forgiving and doomed or strong, silent, fierce but loving or confident, self-absorbed but still loving. I couldn't imagine any of them as real.
He also slaps on foreboding like plaster on a wall.
The two combined turn the death of one of the women characters into an instrument of emotional manipulation of the reader that I found myself resenting.
Perhaps it was a book of its time (first published 1999), I know the subsequent books of the series won prizes. From me this one only won a "What a pity. That was almost a really good book."
I am rarely seen without my headphones on and my iPod clipped on my waist. I love my books.
I stuck with this book. Initially I thought that I got a supernatural type of book, which is not something I can usually enjoy. So after about three starts, (I had to go back to the beginning) I finally paid close attention and followed this very good book. I am invested in the series after just the first book. I have to know more. Now I am starting my third book in the series. I may spend the rest of my credits on this series alone.
This is an old book, published in 1998, but don't let that stop you. Worth your credit and your time.
I read so I can write
Excellent well written mystery thriller. I'm not quite as dumb as Jo so I figured it out long before she did, but she was rather distracted. The hero of this series isn't your typical dashing, daring, unbelievable character, but rather just a normal guy with normal guy faults and strengths. That makes him perfect for this series. I look forward to more.
Tell us about yourself!
Multiple murders, two missing persons, and a crumbling family keep ex-lawman Cork O'Connor moving. Are the events related to one another? Why does he always seem to be the one to find the bodies? Can he patch up his marriage?
Well done: the characters have depth and the story pace kept me engaged. I will definitely move on to the next book in the series.
The author, William Kent Krueger, did a great job in developing all of the characters extremely well. I really liked the main character Cork and his human frailties. The story setting in Aurora, Minnesota in the vicinity of an Indian Reservation was very intriguing.
I can definitely see how his debut novel won the Anthony Award and I look forward to reading the second book in the series, "Boundary Waters."
The narrator, David Chandler, was excellent.
I highly recommend this book.
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
After reading Krueger's recent book Ordinary Grace, I was looking forward to reading the first in his Cork O'Connor mystery series. Set in Minnesota, I hadn't realized Native American culture figured so prominently in its rural areas. I also didn't expect someone named Cork O'Connor to be a Native American. In fact, there were a lot of surprises in the book that I found very satisfying...I'll definitely read another!
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