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Hal C. Bryson
2.0 out of 5 starsSwing and a miss
Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2017
A promising premise ultimately falls flat. When the romantic side-plots involving Cork and his family are more interesting than the central murder mystery, it's a problem. Readers find out about 1/2 way through the story who done it and why, and it's really not all that compelling. The antagonist's motivations simply aren't that believable, and he is a one-dimensional character. These mysteries work best when the bad guys/gals are compelling and complex in their own right. I think WKK is running out of ideas, sadly. He's still a very good writer, but his creative energy (again, except perhaps for the side stories involving his grown children) seems to be waning. Also, how many times can Cork and his family members be seriously wounded in a lifetime?? I will still read the next in the series, but I'm worried that Krueger's best work is far behind him at this point.
I am a life long reader - and I read the whole genre of literature from Politics to basket weaving with one exception, I don’t read romance novels. Kruger’s books, all 18 + of them, are without exception the overall best writer I have ever read. After reading the first one I was hooked - I now have all of them. He tells the story in such a way you are there with him, walking in the woods, or facing whatever obstacles he encounters. He has a “sit on the front porch rocking chair” demeanor that comes thru in all of his novels. I have but one promise & that is you won’t be disappointed.
1.0 out of 5 starsJust a bad book after many good reads.
Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2016
I had read every Krueger book and enjoyed them all. However Tamarack County was flat out bad. The book goes along and is fair, but below Krueger's past standards. Then, as the plot continues to drift halfway through the book as we speculate on who the villain might be, Krueger throws in a completely new character out of left field which makes the first half of the book's plot pretty much invalidated and leaves a reader scratching their head at why the late entrance. It was like he didn't know how to tie up the flow and so injected something completely spontaneous. It was just a bad read. I kept me from buying this following book because often, after a string of good reads, an author becomes lazy and writes just to write and quality suffers. I am ready to try the following book now, but readers need to beware of this one. Just a bad effort on Krueger's part after many great works.
Another great outing about Cork O'Connor and his family and extended family. I do so love this series and its insights of spirituality through native American lore and teachings. This time, an old case brings deaths and new terror, and spiritual plans seem to go awry. I ended up highlighting multiple passages. It was annoying that the medical situation concerning Steven was not comfortably concluded at the end. I hate endings where the reader is left hanging, but at least this is not really a cliffhanger. We find out what happens with the main villain, at least. It was definitely a page-turner and a firm four star story, like most of this Minnesota series. I've already downloaded the next one, #14, onto my Kindle.
I'm not 5-starring this because Mr. Krueger kind of fell down here. For one thing, he painted himself into a corner and had to use a deus ex machina to escape. This is the first time he's had to, at least for the Cork O'Connors, and I think I've read them all. About two-thirds of the way into the story, with everyone baffled by a reasonless crime, he introduces a brand-new character who dates from a faraway case in Cork's past. This starts a new line of action and motive and finally resolves everything, but I felt a bit diddled. No fair. Another gripe concerns Stephen, Cork's now-nearly-grown son. We've followed him since he was a toddler. Now he's about 18 and living in a cloud of hormones. These cause his virginity to sustain a couple of near-misses, but otherwise Mr. Kreuger hasn't really allowed him to fill out into a fully-realized teenager, if there is such a thing. He has always been an active player and here he gets a definite "hook" to a future book, but I feel Mr. K is short-changing him.
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2013
This is a solid outing for Cork O'Connor--not quite as long as most of WKK's books and with a fairly straightforward, linear plot, it is a rewarding and enjoyable read. One of the hallmarks of WKK's books is that the personal subplots are taken seriously. The members of Cork's family age and even die. In this novel two beloved pets die, one of them the pet of a major character. We may be frozen in body but we are not frozen in time in Cork's northwoods Minnesota home.
In Tamarack County the personal subplot is extremely important. It might even be considered the main plot of the novel. Cork's son Stephen plays a major role in the novel as he tries to bring himself deeper and deeper into his Ojibwe heritage. Cork's daughter Anne is in a state of desperate personal turmoil. After deciding that she was unlikely to become the Notre Dame quarterback, she decided to join the Notre Dame de Namur nuns. Now she is having serious second thoughts. Cork, meanwhile, is trying to wend his way between his feelings for two different women, each of whom reciprocates those feelings.
The mystery plot (the B story here) concerns the disappearance of the wife of an obnoxious retired judge. Another series of close calls occurs and Cork discovers that they may be related to the guilty verdict of (what now appears to be) an innocent man, a man who remains in prison, turning down opportunities for parole. Is someone attempting to secure justice or vengeance on his behalf?
The plotting is, as always, smooth. The characters are engaging, the setting wonderful, the Ojibwe lore fascinating. There is only one problem--for me. I have now caught up with the entire WKK backlog and I will have to wait a year for the next book.
If you are coming to WKK for the first time, you might want to read the books in order. Each is intelligible and freestanding, but the saga is best experienced from the beginning.
O'Connor/Minnesota Krimi No 13. Neben den Kriminalfällen geht ja auch ständig die Geschichte der Familie O'Connor weiter - was einerseits schön ist, weil man die Figuren nach einer Weile wie nette Verwandte betrachtet, andererseits gerät es dadurch manchmal zur "Lindenstraße". Und was der Autor da mit der armen Familie anstellt, ist nicht nett: Entführungen (4) Vergewaltigung (1), Amokläufer an der Schule, Mord an der ersten Ehefrau Jo… diesmal erwischt es den Jüngsten, Stephen, gleich sehr heftig und Annie schlägt sich damit herum ihrer lesbischen Veranlagung zu folgen oder Nonne zu werden. Bisschen viel Religion und Indianerweisheit. Sonst aber doch wieder sehr spannend.
I loved Ordinary Grace. I thought it was extraordinary. So I bought this one. Well written but too cruel to animals for my taste. Had to take breas at time as the images remained imprinted on my mind day and night.