Friday, February 17, 2017

Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger

Image result for iron lake

It is just before Christmas when we meet former sheriff Cork O'Connor in his hometown of Aurora, Minnesota. Nearby is a Native American reservation with its copper-domed casino. The town sits on the edge of a lake and book one in this series of mysteries written by William Kent Krueger takes its name from that body of water: Iron Lake.

The weather outside is frightful, a prominent judge is dead (suicide or murder we don't know for sure yet), and a paperboy has gone missing (perhaps kidnapped by his father and hiding on the reservation or perhaps carried away by the evil spirit Windigo). There is already plenty going on here and I am only through chapter 10. 

I am not sure yet if I am going to like Cork. He seems pretty complicated with an estranged wife, three children, and a lover. He lives in an old Quonset hut that also houses a walk-up burger stand which he now runs. He smokes Lucky Strikes. He carries a resentment at being the 'former' sheriff (town politics) but can't quite put away his investigative skills.

There are many characters in the story and I hope I can keep them all straight. To be fair, since this is the first in a series of now 16 Cork O'Connor mysteries, I suppose the author is setting the stage for what is to come.

I like the Native American folklore that is worked into the story but I am wondering how everyone continues to go about their business with the snow blowing and piling up outside. Snowmobiles and skis abound. They do things differently in the north. Here south of the Mason-Dixon line, no one would be going anywhere.

Although I am just getting into the tale, I am afraid there is going to be more character drama than mystery solving here. We shall see.

Thanks to Joan for the recommendation.


  1. Theses books certainly aren't for everyone, but I continue to enjoy them. Actually, unlike many series, I think the later books are better, less chaotic. One of the early books really annoyed me because it ended with a far too obvious 'you'll have to read the next book' cliffhanger. I, too, enjoy the Native American culture, and I admit that I'm addicted to mysteries that take place in the wild (see also Paul Doiron's Maine Game Warden books). I've never lived in the far middle north, but I lived most of my life in New England, where 3' of snow doesn't stop anyone. In the Blizzard of 1978, the governor of Massachusetts had to close down roads in the state for a week to keep everyone home!

    1. Joan, as I have to start with the first book in a series, I usually cut the author a little slack until he or she can settle down a bit and pull things together. I will carry on with Cork as I see promise here. Funny about the Blizzard and shutting the roads! Three inches of snow will keep me home. I would rather enjoy the beauty from inside a warm house. Although I do remember many a freezing morning having to scrape the windshield and slip and slide into work. I was younger then!

  2. I have enjoyed this series of books and found myself liking Cork and understanding him more with each book. It is a hard landscape - and hard characters abound. Here in Chicagoland, we are familiar with with snowstorms, and like to keep record of the most snow, the coldest January, the most potholes (ha) - and this year, not only more than 60 days without snow, but, 60+ degree temperatures in February. :)

    1. Hi, Penny. Yes, the study of weather and collection of data can be fun and fascinating. Like we say here, if you don't like the weather wait five minutes and it will change! I will get to know Cork a little better. I see that he has promise if he can settle his life a bit!