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Iron Lake: A Novel (Cork O'Connor) by…
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Iron Lake: A Novel (Cork O'Connor) (edition 2009)

by William Kent Krueger

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7104413,292 (3.73)131
Member:RustyBoone
Title:Iron Lake: A Novel (Cork O'Connor)
Authors:William Kent Krueger
Info:Atria Books (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Fiction
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger

  1. 00
    The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (sjmccreary)
    sjmccreary: similar remote locations, small towns near Indian reservations, both are cold weather settings
  2. 00
    Ice Hunter by Joseph Heywood (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: Great "place based" stories
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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This was #1 in series...really enjoyed it...like Cork and his family. ( )
  NHreader | Aug 29, 2016 |
I sought out this book because it is the beginning of a crime series I had not read authored by Krueger, whose writing I have come to appreciate.

This series features Corcoran (“Cork”) O’Conner, the part-Irish, part-Anishinaabe Indian ex-sheriff of the small town of Aurora, Minnesota. While no longer serving in law enforcement, Cork keeps getting involved in what goes wrong in Aurora; he served as sheriff for seven years, and it hard for him to sit out on the sidelines. The current sheriff, Wally Schanno, got elected after a recall vote that forced Cork from office. We don’t learn what precipitated the recall right away.

As the story begins, Cork, in his early forties, hears the Windigo call his name. As a child, Cork learned about the Native American figure of the Windigo from his beloved mentor, Sam Winter Moon. The “Windigo" is a giant ogre who, when he calls your name, is telling you your time has come to die. The only way you might change your fate is if you too become like the Windigo. But even then, the danger remains “of staying a Windigo forever. Of being the ogre you killed.”

The local Anishinaabe medicine man, Henry Meloux, advises Cork:

“The Windigo was a man once. His heart was not always ice. What makes a man’s heart turn to ice? I would think about that, and I would think about how to fight the Windigo.”

Cork’s wife had asked for a separation several months previously, and Cork is now seeing Molly Nurmi, a local waitress. But Cork misses his three kids, Jenny, Annie, Stevie, and doesn’t want to hurt them by getting a divorce. His wife Jo is adamant that their marriage is over, however, and when he finds out her reasons, he indeed feels as if his heart has turned to ice.

Meanwhile, the powerful local kingmaker, Judge Robert Parrant, is found dead, an apparent suicide. Paul LeBeau, who was delivering papers to the Judge the day he died, is missing. Paul’s mother Darla calls on Cork to help, but Cork keeps getting stonewalled. Almost everyone warns him to back off, without saying why. Needless to say, this only makes Cork more determined to find out what is going on.

Eventually, Cork uncovers a web of blackmail, embezzlement, intimidation, and murder. He gains the answers he was seeking, but in the process, loses something far more important.

Evaluation: Krueger is a good writer, and I really like the integration of Native American culture into his stories. I plan to continue on with the series.

Note: This book won a number of mystery awards, including the 1999 Barry Award for Best First Novel. ( )
  nbmars | Jul 6, 2016 |
Iron Lake is a chilling blend of murder, corrupt politics, and native American folklore. It's suspenseful but the secondary storyline of main character Cork O’Connor’s damaged marriage and on-again off-again relationship with Molly, the cliche with a heart of gold, does more to distract from the suspense than add to it. This book comes nowhere near the brilliance of The Round House but it’s a good mystery all the same. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
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 first rate 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 that the author lightly touches upon and leaves to the reader whether to accept or not. 4 well earned stars. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
This is the first book of the Cork O'Connor mystery series. I know that several of you are fans of this series, so when this was the Kindle Daily Deal a few weeks ago, I grabbed it. This is a strong opening to the series. Krueger wastes no time in introducing us to Cork O'Connor, former sheriff of Aurora, MN who has recently separated from his wife. Cork is part Irish, part Anishinaabe, and he understands the tensions present in the small town of Aurora. When a powerful judge is found dead by his paper boy, who then disappears, Cork is called in by the boy's mother to look into the situation. As one thread leads to another, we meet a cast of characters engaged in shadowy dealings. Even as Cork unravels one mystery, more present themselves. A strong main character, an engaging plot, and a deep sense of place - what more do you need in a mystery? ( )
  porch_reader | Feb 16, 2016 |
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Cork O'Connor first heard the story of the Windigo in the fall of 1965 when he hunted the big bear with Sam Winter Moon.
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Book description
Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota - population 3,752. 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, he's found that there's not much left in life that can shock him. But when the town's judge, Robert Parrant, is brutally murdered, and Eagle Scout Paul LeBeau is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption and scandal.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671016970, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A hated judge is found dead in suspicious circumstances in a town in Minnesota with an Indian casino and a young Ojibwa Indian leaves home in a hurry. Former sheriff Cork O'Connor investigates if there is a connection.

(summary from another edition)

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