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on March 3, 2004
Harlan Coben, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and Don
Winslow were all well established mystery authors with successful highly acclaimed series when they wrote their first stand alone. The result was that they all hit the big time and the national bestseller lists. William Kent Krueger has been a favorite for years with his Cork O'Connor mystery series. Now he joins this August crowd by writing a stand alone and it is every bit as good and entertaining as the others.
Secret Service agent Bo Thorsen is assigned to protect the First Lady, Kate Dixon, when she heads back to her home in Minnesota after her father is injured in a farming accident. Unbeknownst to Bo, she is targeted by a mysterious killer who bears a grudge against her. At the same time, her husband, President Clay Dixon, is up for reelection and needs Kate's help with the campaign. Due to his apparent lack of moral fortitude, Kate has left her husband. This can fatally damage his campaign. One of the President's advisors look upon her as a liability and want to do something about it without the President's knowledge. Bo is up against, not only the battle of his career, but, of his life.
William Kent Krueger's fast and furious debut thriller appears headed for bestseller stardom. Impressive characterizations and a tricky plot with may twists and turns make this another winner. The plot, although it occasionally loses focus, is always entertaining. Highly recommended.
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on January 19, 2004
I cannot believe this book was written by the same author who wrote Iron Lake and Purg. Ridge. I have to admit, I tried very very hard to like this because I was very impressed with the Cork series. In the end however this was bad on so many levels. The dialog was terrible...completely unrealistic. The characters empty. I still don't have a true sense of Bo. Also a love affair between the first lady and a minnesota secret service agent doesn't strike me as either interesting or believable.
And the ending? I won't ruin it for those who haven't read it, but the climax occurred.....well it never did. It was like a decent football game that completely fell apart by the 3rd quarter. You keep waiting to get back to the excitement of the 1st quarter, but people keep getting injured and the game drags on. It's the game you turn off before the 2 minute warning.
The book is also loaded with cheesy moments and cliches by the truckload. I was a little worried when I finished Purgatory Ridge that Krueger was going down the cheese road (Cork was a little too perfect for me in that one). I hope he got the sap out of his head in this book and abandons it on the next. Krueger can write an excellent suspense story with great character development. this wasn't an example of that however.
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on September 30, 2003
I have been delighted by Krueger's first three novels involving Cork O'Connor and his adventures; this first "standalone" is equally gripping and could turn into a series for Secret Service guy Bo. The plot is labyrinthine, opening with a gruesome murder by David Moses, who also turns out to be Nightmare, a deranged psychotic who is seeking to kill the First Lady because of a scorned love affair years ago.
Add some vicious government agents, an almost romance with the First Lady and Bo, and some tense suspense scenes, you've got a rip roaring conspiracy novel. Sometimes Bo seems a little less than what you'd expect in a hero (he's always getting beat up), but he is human and that makes him engaging. Krueger's President Clay Dixon evolves from a rather self-centered ass to a really good president during the course of the novel, so that's unusual...if a little incredible. But, hey, fiction is fiction, right?
A good book and I am anxiously awaiting more from Mr. Krueger, maybe both Cork and Bo?
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on July 1, 2003
A Review of The Devil's Bed, by William Kent Krueger
Krueger seizes the reader by the throat in the prologue of The Devil's Bed with a horrific scene of a brutal murder, then follows the prologue with a chapter in the point of view of a maniac who calls himself Nightmare, a man who carves a notch on his own chest to record a kill-and who carries a vendetta against the woman he once loved, the First Lady, Kathleen Jorgenson Dixon.
The President of the United States, Clay Dixon, has problems. His beautiful wife is growing more estranged from him, which not only hurts Dixon emotionally, but disturbs the presidential advisors, who are fretting about the upcoming election. Even Dixon's oldest friend, Robert Lee, is worried about Kate, her emotional state, and the effect she will have on Dixon's presidency.
When Kate's father, a former senator and vice president, is badly injured on his Minnesota orchard, Kate leaves Washington to be with her family. Everyone but Dixon himself is relieved to have Kate out of the political spotlight for a while. She will be fine on the family farm, Dixon's advisors assert, especially since Bo Thorsen, Special Agent in the Secret Service, is stationed in the Twin Cities field office. Thorsen has a history with the Jorgenson family that dates back to his own troubled youth, which was spent in and out of foster care. Though Thorsen is troubled by a few details surrounding Tom Jorgenson's injury, the incident that put the elderly statesman in a coma looks like an unfortunate accident.
Meanwhile, the President's father, William Dixon, a powerful senior senator from Colorado, voices his strong disapproval of Kate Dixon, though he tells his son that for political interests, he must keep his marriage together. He asks about Tom Jorgenson's accident, and points out that though the man's injury is unfortunate, it could help Dixon in the political polls.
Krueger paints vivid pictures of both Thorsen's and Nightmare's desperate childhoods, which parallel each other up to the point where Thorsen was placed with foster parents who redeemed his future. Nightmare, previously known as David Moses, deteriorated to the point where he joined some extremely disreputable characters in order to survive.
Krueger's thriller ratchets up the tension as a conspiracy that encompasses all of the characters is slowly revealed. Bo Thorsen and David Moses are the expendable scapegoats, caught in the vortex of the schemers, and it takes heart-pounding feats on both their parts to reveal the heart of the plot. This is a thriller filled with nonstop action, and though we suspect some of the bad guys, we don't know them all. The novel also has a touch of sweet romance and a touching, bittersweet finale. Quite an exciting summer read!
Reviewed by Debby Atkinson
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on March 11, 2003
Mr. Krueger who has spawned three solid winners with his Cork O'Conner series (Iron Lake, Boundary Waters and Purgatory Ridge) undertakes a stand-alone this time around. He can't resist keeping a fair portion of the action in his beloved Minnesota, but other than that, this is new territory for the author.
Bo Thorsen, a Secret Service agent, is assigned to the First Lady's detail when she makes an emergency visit to her injured father, former Minnesota Senator Tom Jorgensen. Bo suspects the senator's accident may have been premeditated. In the background are the U.S. President, his re-election campaign and his strained relations with the first lady. When escaped mental patient and assassin, David Moses, is added to the mix, the widening implications of the accident, the first lady's safety, and the president's re-election seem to be joined.
By far the most fascinating character is assassin David Moses, brilliant, chilling and who has had an indescribable horror of childhood. David is the best drawn and consequently over-balances the book. "The Devil's Bed" begins with a riveting prologue, and begins with a compelling pace. Events seem to tumble over one another. The reader is given a good background on Bo, who has so much in common with David, but as a child was redeemed rather than permanently abandoned. About at the halfway point in the book, it starts to lose focus. The scope is so broad: government, conspiracy, agencies, and politicians; the story starts to spin away in ever widening ripples. To gather all his threads back together is almost a super-human task for Mr. Krueger, and I felt the ending a little flat.
I'm always glad to see an author stretching his abilities and not getting in a rut with a comfortable series. Think "Devil's Bed" is a good departure, a good read, but perhaps too ambitious in scope. Nevertheless, it is enjoyable, and I await Mr. Krueger's next book with pleasure.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
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on February 2, 2003
President Daniel Clay Dixon is running for reelection but his opponent leads in all the polls even those sanctioned by the incumbent. Daniel's wife Kate feels estranged from him because he's being influenced more and more by his father Senator William Dixon and the men associated with him. When Kate's father, the former vice-president is hurt in what looks like an accident on his farm, she rushes to his bedside leaving the president in Washington.
Secret Service agent Bo Thorsen is in charge of protecting the First Lady when she's in Minnesota and his instincts tell him her life is in danger as is that of her father. He finds proof that the ex-vice-president was deliberately injured and the person who is after the duo has a long time grudge against them. Bo is able to foil the first assassination attempt but the next effort has tentacles that reach into the highest levels of government making it nearly impossible to stop it in time.
THE DEVIL'S BED is an exciting thriller that starts off at light speed and never slows down. The president, his wife and the cabal members are three-dimensional characters who seem real with plausible actions on each of their parts. The hero is the kind of man one wants in office because he is honorable, patriotic and most importantly, trustworthy. William Kent Krueger, the author of the Cork O'Connor mystery series, has written his best work yet.
Harriet Klausner
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on March 22, 2015
Well written, well developed characters. Believable. Suspense. Would likely read everything else written by this guy. Enough said already. Go, get your copy
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on July 18, 2003
Yeah, it is a conspiracy story. But don't shy away from a good action tale. The author consistently delivers your money's worth.
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