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Purgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger

Purgatory Ridge (2002)

by William Kent Krueger

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Purgatory Ridge is the third book in the Cork O'Connor series. Following events in the last book, Cork is no longer sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. He's inherited a friend's burger joint and seems fairly content. He's married Jo, an attorney who works for the Ojibwe tribe and is part Anishinaabe himself. Their marriage has been in turmoil but they are working hard to stay together.

Meanwhile a logging company has gained the rights to harvest a stand of white pine trees known as the Old Grandfathers, sacred to the Anishinaabe people. Karl Lindstrom, owner of the company, has moved to town with his wife and son to oversee the operation. During a protest between the Ojibwe and an environmental group leads to an explosion and the death of a local man. Someone named Eco-Warrior takes credit for the blast and Cork steps in to help the sheriff investigate. In a parallel story we meet John LaPere, who lives on the rocky formation known as Purgatory Ridge, on Lake Superior. He's lived there since he became the only survivor of a 1986 shipwreck that took the life of his brother. He's still searching for what happened to send the ship to the bottom of the freezing lake.

All thes stories start to come together when Lindstrom's wife and son are kidnapped. Because Cork's wife, Jo, and their son, Stevie, were visiting at the time, they were also taken. It's not long before we know who and why they were kidnapped. This becomes a very complex plot but I was riveted the entire time. I think this author does a particularly wonderful job of describing the setting and making his characters so realistic. If you're looking for a well thought out mystery, with a surprising ending, I can highly recommend Purgatory Ridge.
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  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
Several stories are interwoven in this Cork O'Connor mystery. A battle is on between the timber industry and the local tribes and environmentalists over the last stand of old growth trees in the area. The mill owner Karl and his wife Grace are struggling in their marriage as are Cork and his wife Jo. And a local man whose parents and brother all died in the the lake holds Grace's family responsible for his brother's death. The characters are well developed and the story rushes onward. A good read. ( )
  gbelik | Oct 14, 2016 |
From Amazon:
Not far from Aurora, Minnesota (population 3,752), lies an ancient expanse of great white pines, sacred to the Anishinaabe tribe. When an explosion kills the night watchman at wealthy industrialist Karl Lindstrom's nearby lumber mill, it's obvious where suspicion will fall. Former sheriff Cork O'Connor agrees to help investigate, but he has mixed feelings about the case. For one thing, he is part Anishinaabe. For another, his wife, a lawyer, represents the tribe. Meanwhile, near Lindstrom's lakeside home, a reclusive shipwreck survivor and his sidekick are harboring their own resentment of the industrialist. And it soon becomes clear to Cork that harmony, both at home and in Aurora, will be on the back burner for some time....

My Thoughts:
I felt this book was not quite as exciting or planned out as some of his others but still a very good read. I liked the strength brought out in the women and children of Purgatory Ridge. I also liked some of the twists in the book that I really didn't see coming. Looking forward to the rest of this series. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
I continue to love the Cork O'Connor mystery series. When a murder occurs at a lumber mill, environmental activists seem a likely suspects, but as more crimes occurs, Cork is personally impacted and rushes against time to find the culprits. ( )
  porch_reader | Apr 23, 2016 |
Although a former sheriff, Cork can't keep away when there's an explosion at the local lumber mill and a man dies. His Indian ancestry complicates his alliances, as does the wife's role as attorney for the local tribe. Another plot, told in alternating chapters, revolves around the revenge sought by John LePere for the death of his brother years ago during a shipwreck on Lake Superior. The two stories collide and weave together by the end, which is a satisfying resolution. ( )
  sleahey | Jan 18, 2016 |
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For Diane, who is the first blessing each morning and the final beauty each night,
and for June and Lloyd Peterson, who welcomed me as a son.
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Above all things in heaven or on earth, John LePere loved his brother.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067104754X, Mass Market Paperback)

Penzler Pick, March 2001: William Kent Krueger writes the kind of novels mystery lovers love to read: well-written, both character- and plot-driven, with tense scenes and surprise endings. Purgatory Ridge is the third in his series starring Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor, half white, half Ojibwe, who is the sometime sheriff of Aurora, a small town in the North Woods of Minnesota. What is particularly refreshing about Cork O'Connor is that, unlike the portrayal of many private investigators and cops in literature, he is a troubled man with a troubled marriage. He and his wife, Jo, have been through hard times, and although there is plenty of love between them, those hard times often surface and impact investigations and decisions they make regarding their careers. As the story begins, Cork is no longer sheriff, but just has to help investigate when a bomb explodes at the lumber mill run by wealthy industrialist Karl Lindstrom. The bomb kills an Ojibwe Indian who, like many of that nation, objects to the tearing down of the trees in that area, especially those considered sacred by the Ojibwe.

In a parallel story, John LePere, half Indian, half white, festers. As the only survivor aboard the Alfred M. Teasdale when she went down in Lake Superior, he thinks about the death of his shipmates, especially his brother. When it is suggested to him that the sinking of the Teasdale may not have been an accident, LePere is pulled into a plot to avenge the deaths. Grace Fitzgerald, heir to the line that owned the Teasdale, happens to be married to Karl Lindstrom. Add the eco-warriors who have come in from other parts of the country to stop the logging, and you have a potent mix of high adventure and skullduggery. Purgatory Ridge is a fine introduction to Krueger and doesn't require that you first read the earlier two books. --Otto Penzler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:15 -0400)

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Wealthy industrialist Karl Lindstrom has a bad environmental reputation. Members of the local Ojibwe Anishinaabe tribe are concerned about the proximity of an ancient two hundred acre expanse of great white pines to his lumber mill. The trees are sacred to the tribe. So when an explosion at the mill is claimed by the "Eco-Warrior", suspicion falls on the tribe, and the disagreement escalates. When the authorities uncover the charred body of a respected member of the tribe, the situation erupts hurling the town to the brink of war. Former sheriff Cork O'Connor is asked by his successor to help with the investigation. Cork has distinctly mixed feelings about the case since he is part Anishinaabe and his lawyer wife represents the tribe. So Cork is more than concerned about what he might find. But Lindstrom is not without enemies, and a reclusive shipwreck survivor and his sidekick harbor some age old resentment of their own against Lindstrom.… (more)

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