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.