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Iron Lake [Mass Market Paperback]

William Kent Krueger
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 1999 Cork O'Connor Mysteries
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.

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Product Description

From Amazon

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Short-story specialist 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 wife, Jo, a lawyer, moved back to his northern Minnesota hometown of Aurora to improve their quality of life, but it didn't work. Cork became the 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, feeling guilty about sleeping with a warmhearted waitress, is 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, Cork quickly clashes with some well-connected foes: a newly elected senator (who also happens to be the judge's son and Jo's lover); the town's new sheriff; and some tribal leaders getting rich on gambling concessions. When an old Indian tells Cork that a Windigo (a malign spirit) is fueling events, it becomes an occasion for Krueger to draw some nifty connections between the monsters of the heart and the monsters of myth. 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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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FOR A WEEK THE FEELING had been with him, and all week long young Paul LeBeau had been afraid. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut Jan. 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The murder?/suicide? of a corrupt judge in far northern Aurora Minnesota sets the momentum of this well written first novel. The mysteries pile up, a whiteout type blizzard sets in, the Windigo is afoot, and a crackerjack story ensues. The central character, Cork O'Conner is a straightforward man beset by complexities. He was fired from his post as sheriff and, wonder of wonders, deserved it. The usual mystery ploy is the hero was wrongfully used and was in fact a total hero, if only he had been understood. Cork is invested with real human frailties. His marriage is spiraling toward a divorce, and he can't get a handle on what to do about it. The sheriff who took his place, far from being an illiterate, crooked nincompoop, is actually a competent, honest man-much to Cork's discomfort.
The story is well paced with excellent plotting and characterization. The interplay between the characters, both verbally and emotionally, is exceptionally strong. There is a whiff of the supernatural (see Windigo above) that the author lightly touches upon and leaves to the reader whether to accept or not. What is extremely encouraging that as strong a book as "Iron Lake" is, I feel his latest, "Boundary Waters" is even better. Mr. Krueger is an evolving author in the best sense.
This highly enjoyable book is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding mystery rooted in two cultures March 5 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Strong writing, a good story, and well-drawn characters in an unusual setting, distinguish this first novel by a writer who obviously knows his material.
The central character is Corcoran O'Connor, an ex-Chicago cop who returns to his home, the small northern Minnesota community of Aurora with his family to establish a new life as the sheriff of the mostly rural area.
But below the surface, as is true of many small communities, are conflicting values, white versus Indian, political ambition, and greed. O'Connor, in a failed attempt to deflect rising animosities between two long-established cultures over fishing rights, loses his job as sheriff, sees his marriage deteriorate, and finds himself adrift, philosophically torn between Indian and Caucasian. Then, as winter lays its heavy hand upon the town, an Ojibwa boy disappears and a prominent judge is found dead.
With considerable care and art, author Krueger weaves a strong plot that carries the reader along and enthralls us with interesting characters caught up, each in their own context, with the opposing forces that beset the town. Sometimes moody but always suspenseful, the lyrical writing will help carry the reader through the rare rough spots. Cork O'Connor is an appealing character on which to build what is likely to be a long-running and very successful series.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
When a prominent and infamous man-about-town is found dead and a local Native American boy turns up missing, suspects, alibis, and racial tensions pile up as high as snow banks. Cork probably shouldn't get involved. The last time he stepped in the middle, people got hurt. Himself included. And now he's lost his badge and his wife and maybe his way. But whether he likes it or not, he's caught again, like his blood, like his past, half in the white man's world, half on the reservation. Now a man is dead and a boy is missing and it's snowing really hard outside. And Cork's sense of duty and justice didn't disappear with his badge.
Krueger's ability to marry true edge-of-your-seat mystery and suspense with a lyrical and literary style and sensibility is unmatched. Iron Lake succeeds famously both as a tale of murder and mystery and as a rich and vivid portrait of an unusual town and it's divided citizens.
Read this book. It's fantastic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Combines a great plot with great characters Aug. 15 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the few mysteries that I have ever read which really drew me in emotionally. The plot is realistic and satifyingly complex, but the real strength of this book is its characters. Cork O'Connor is a likeable, but definitely flawed hero. Jo, his estranged wife, is also a fully developed character, although I think she comes across as a little less likeable than the author probably intended. Cork's girlfriend Molly is also a great character and probably the most likeable person in the book. The only character that is very one-dimensional is the primary bad guy, who is just a little over-the-top evil. There is a good bit of action, and the ending is so suspenseful that you won't put the book down for anything short of your house catching on fire. I'm looking forward to the next one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read for a hot summer day Sept. 21 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ex-sheriff Cork and his perfectly wonderful illicit love, Molly, have an affair following Cork's separation from his lawyer-wife. Cork's half-Irish, half-Anishinaabe Indian, which makes his election to local office hard to believe. But even after he is voted out in a nasty recall election, he can't stop sleuthing. A series of unlikely deaths, some steamy saunas, and I was hooked. I sort of knew who the bad guy was, but I kept reading anyway. Its been 24 hours and I'm still cold. Like Nevada Barr's A Superior Death, this novel makes you wonder about those long winters on that deep lake. People get into all sorts of trouble up there. Brrrr!!!! I'm looking forward to Cork's next adventure.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
Interesting story and characters, very well written. I liked it and will definitely be back for more from Mr. Krueger.
Published 6 months ago by Stéphanie Amesse
4.0 out of 5 stars Inevitable spooky stuff
I enjoyed this book. It has a good plot, better than average character development, and the story moves along. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2011 by CGP
5.0 out of 5 stars Iron Lake
This was my first "Cork O'Connor" book and found the characters believable. An excellent read and hard to put down once you start.
Published on Jan. 3 2003 by SLP books
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book
Growing up in rural Minnesota may have given me insights into this book that I would have not otherwise had but nonetheless I am recommending this book to everyone. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2002 by "mp406"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Characters & Setting
Montgomery magically interweaves Chippawa traditions into the Boundary Waters setting. Great style - easy to read, good characters that become your aquantances & good plot. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2002 by "epbob3"
5.0 out of 5 stars Kudoes for Krueger
We need to welcome a new mystery writer to our midst. Krueger has it all: great characters, good plots, informative background settings and realistic human relationships. Read more
Published on May 7 2001 by Connie Copenhaver
4.0 out of 5 stars Start of a great new series!
You gotta love Cork O'Connor. He has lost his job, separated from his wife and now lives in the back of his little business. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2000 by Bonnie E. Powell
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start in an obviously projected series.
Good characters, especially the hero Cork O'Connor. Plot moves along quickly with a few surprises, though pretty much a predictable solution. Read more
Published on Dec 3 1999 by John S.
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling thriller set in the iron range of Minnesota.
If you like James Lee Burke and Tony Hillerman, you will find "Iron Lake" to your liking. Deeply intricate plot, good local color, plot twists and good characterization. Read more
Published on Sept. 30 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although I suspected who the villain was, there were a few surprises along the way. I would recommend this book. Read more
Published on July 13 1999
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