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Northwest Angle: A Novel [Hardcover]

William Kent Krueger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 30 2011 Cork O'Connor Mystery Series
With his family caught in the crosshairs of a group of brutal killers, detective Cork O’Connor must solve the murder of a young girl in the latest installment of William Kent Krueger’s unforgettable New York Times bestselling series.

During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm.

Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl. She wasn’t killed by the storm, however; she’d been bound and tortured before she died. Whimpering sounds coming from outside the cabin lead them to a tangle of branches toppled by the vicious winds. Underneath the debris, they find a baby boy, hungry and dehydrated, but still very much alive. Powerful forces intent on securing the child pursue them to the isolated Northwest Angle, where it’s impossible to tell who among the residents is in league with the devil. Cork understands that to save his family he must solve the puzzle of this mysterious child whom death follows like a shadow.

“Part adventure, part mystery, and all knockout thriller” (Booklist ), Northwest Angle is a dynamic addition to William Kent Krueger’s critically acclaimed, award-winning series.

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“William Kent Krueger can’t write a bad book. Northwest Angle is one of his best. A complex crime novel that contains meditations on the difficulties of loving and the paths we take to reach God, this Cork O’Connor novel has everything you want in a great read: depth, action, and credibility.” —Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Reckoning

“Part adventure, part mystery, and all knockout thriller. . . Catch-your breath suspense throughout.” —Booklist

“Solid storytelling and intriguing characterizations combine for a sobering look at the power of family and faith and Native American culture. Krueger never writes the same book twice as each installment finds him delving deeper into Cork's psyche.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“William Kent Krueger never writes the same book twice, and this one is no exception. He combines elements of mystery and thriller to make a book that is non-stop entertainment. But Krueger never forgets the human aspect, which is always the driving force of his carefully crafted novels.... This outstanding book, the eleventh in the O’Connor series, should not be missed.” —Deadly Pleasures

"Well-written and suspenseful, this book contains characters worthy of our emotional involvement. Krueger, as always, spins a good yarn, somewhat in the style of Dick Francis in his heyday, where both ingenuity and endurance are necessary to sustain the hero." —Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

William Kent Krueger is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen mysteries in the Cork O’Connor series, including Trickster’s Point and Tamarack County, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace, which won the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family. Visit his website at

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great sense of place Sept. 26 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Among William Kent Kruger`s many talents is his ability to present the reader with a great sense of place. In this case it is the Lake of the Woods area, both in Canada and the United States. He makes you want to visit the area, but also makes you feel that you should be looking over your shoulder frequently while you are there.
He also is one of the few non-Aboriginal writers that can create an Aboriginal sense of place as well, social, spiritual as well as physical. He does this with a narrative that makes you stay up way too late as you try to second guess what is going to happen next.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  139 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven story, characters faulter Sept. 9 2011
By S. Watkins - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read the entire Cork O'Connor series, and watched as he aged into passive resistance to evil with interest, as well as some disappointment. This latest effort brings him to the end of that road in many ways, which also unexpectedly made him the character with the least depth. Meloux, Cork's mentor, is weakly done as well, and the villain (SPOILER ALERT!!!! STOP READING NOW!!!!), though she could have been far more interesting, was relegated to few developmental pages. It was hard to accept both her quest, and her inevitible demise.

I did truly appreciate Kreuger's respect and exploration of honest, sincere Christians. It was refreshing to read devout characters in a mainstream mystery, and, though their foes were the other side of their Christian coin, still, hat's off and a thank you to Kreuger for his portrayal of Chrstians as something other than cartoon characters. It was, for me, the best part of the novel.

The ending was rushed, I felt, as Krueger spent good amounts of time (certainly not wasted) exploring the good in his protagonists and bringing them to life in ways that brought me in, only to then suddenly spin the wheel and send them all flying in a hurry to their projected place in the ending.

I also found the cheap shot taken at our soldiers serving in Afghanistan surprising and disappointing. It was an unnecessary cheap shot line from a character you are being brought to respect, and seemed thrown in to make some sort of statement. It was out of place, and speaking personally, it was offensive.

For these reasons, while I respect Kreuger for the effort made, I can't recommend the book as much more than "one to read because there isn't anything else handy". Read it to enjoy the many moral discoveries of the "good guys" and their resulting strength of conviction, but you'll have to forgive the hasty end, and missed chances for a richer, deeper mystery.
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The best angle from which to approach a problem is the Try-angle" Unknown source July 27 2011
By michael a. draper - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
William Kent Krueger has delivered another outstanding novel with "Northwest Angle." This is a story with picturesque settings, a suspenseful plot, enjoyable characters and a message about life.

Cork O'Connor, a former county sheriff, takes his family on a vacation. When a destructive storm develops, Cork and his older daughter, Jenny, are separated from the others. Cork and Jenny end up on one of the many islands on the Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, on the U.S. Canadian border.

Jenny hears the faint whimper of a baby and discovers the body of a young woman who had been murdered. The woman showed signs of torture and Jenny assumes that he woman was the child's mother.

The story provides a good dicotomy between good and evil. Cork's sister-in-law is on the houseboat. She and her husband both have a strong faith. When a number of bad things happen to good people, these characters wonder how God would allow this to happen. Eventually there is an answer to their question.

The story is rich in American Indian history. Cork is part Ojibwe and relates to other American Indians. Cork's teenage son, Stephen, truly demonstrates his spirituality and communication ability with other American Indian characters, particularly the wise elders. Stephen had spent time with the ancient Henry Meloux, a healer, someone who understands the harmony of life and how to restore nature to restore that harmony if it is lost.

I read the story compulsively and enjoyed the characters, while wondering how they would escape from their situation. Cork's character is particularly well developed in that at the start of the story we see him as a father wanting more time with his family before they get too old and have other interests, then we see him as a person proud of his Indian heritage, finally, as a former lawman we see Cork's desire to bring criminals to justice.

The twist that the author provided toward the end, added to the intelligence of the story and the satisfaction with the conclusion.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multifaceted Book with a Satisfying Conclusion July 3 2011
By Carol Roberts - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Although this is the 11th book in the Cork O'Connor series, enough background is given so that it can stand alone. As a fan of this author, I recommend reading his books from the beginning to get the full flavor of the man, his family and his part of the country. Cork is the former sheriff of Tamarack County in Minnesota and is now the proprietor of a hamburger stand serving tourists and boaters on Iron Lake during the summer. He has arranged a vacation with his family: daughters, Jenny and Anne; son, Stephen; and sister-in-law, Rose and her husband, Mal. They are to spend time on a rented houseboat on Lake of the Woods in a part of Minnesota that juts into Canada like a chimney known as the Northwest Angle.

Things start to go awry when Cork and Jenny go in a small boat to pick up Jenny's boy friend and are overtaken by a derecho, a cluster of thunderstorms combining into a huge storm with fierce straight-line winds that knock down trees and leave devastation in their wake. When they are separated, Jenny discovers a young Indian woman who has been killed and a baby who has been hidden. This is the basis for the story and eventually involves the whole family. Cork's grandmother was an Obijwe Indian, and he has strong ties to the Indian community which is a part of the story as it is in each of his books.

The many facets of the book add to its flavor, and in the end the story reaches a very satisfying conclusion. I heartily recommend this book and its predecessors.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed. Dec 16 2011
By MED - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Have loved this series for a long time. Krueger brings the O'Connor family to life in his novels. Since the death of Jo - wife of Cork O'Connor he seems to have lost the family thread that ties his books together.

This installment has the family vacationing in the "Angle" - the northern most reaches of the US. A freak storm blows up and the family is separated. Cork's daughter Jenny finds a baby ... a dead body .... and the attentions of a hunter ....

The book plays out as they all try to find out why this baby attracts evil. Unfortunately Krueger has employed the "over zealous Christians and the evil island sanctuary" plot. It is obvious and trite.

I would have given the book one star but the tired plot ends better than the story deserves.

Hopefully the series finds it way back to what made it so enjoyable.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Storms of life surround us. Sept. 10 2011
By PJ Coldren - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Cork O'Connor and his family are on a vacation on Lake of the Woods in the Northwest Angle when they are hit by a derecho. Look it up; I did. They are not all together when the derecho hits, so part of the suspense involves getting them all back to the houseboat. Cork and his daughter Jenny bring an unexpected guest with them - a baby. This baby is a catalyst for Jenny and her boyfriend Aaron. It is also the child of a murdered Ojibway woman, a woman found by Cork and Jenny as they struggle to survive after the derecho. Whoever killed that woman is looking for the baby, and they aren't going to ask nicely when they find him.

Cork and his kin become entangled in the investigation into the death of the baby's mother. This winds up involving possible drug smuggling, a church waiting not very passively for the End Times, and some other murders. Your typical northern Minnesota vacation.

Krueger writes with great love about the Native Americans of northern Minnesota, and the land in which they live. He also writes a damn good mystery, with suspense and tension that make one very reluctant to put down NORTHWEST ANGLE. Readers of the Cork O'Connor series will not be surprised by this; Krueger is a gifted and talented writer who doesn't get the attention he deserves.
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