Review: Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger

Posted October 24, 2013 by Jonetta in Misc | | 0 Comments

Review: Iron Lake by William Kent KruegerIron Lake by William Kent Krueger
Series: Cork O'Connor #1
Published by Pocket Star on May 1, 1999
Genres: Mystery, Suspense
Format: eBook
Source: Library

Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. 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, there's not much that can shock him. But when the town's judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal.

As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.(




This was the book selected by my Mystery & Suspense group for discussion this month. I’d never heard of the author or this series and my group came through yet again in selecting a really good story.


Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. He’s separated from his wife, has three children and is secretly seeing someone. His life is definitely off balance but he’s very much grounded in his Indian heritage. He inadvertently stumbles upon the dead body of the most powerful man in the county and the new sheriff quickly rules it a suicide. Of course, Cork believes differently.


Even though he hasn’t been the sheriff for at least six months, the town still sees that as Cork’s identity and allows his intrusion in the case. The tension between the Indian community and whites is a constant and Cork’s mixed race gives him the ability to operate in both worlds. He bears the Irish physical characteristics and the instincts and temperament of the Anishinaabe.


The story is rich in Indian lore and mysticism, adding another element of mystery to the already complicated case. Cork’s personal issues don’t help matters either and he’s by no means the perfect hero, even though he’s well meaning and pretty honorable. I liked him, quite a lot, with all of his flaws and self-torture, because at his center, he wants to do the right thing and be a good father to his children. He’s proud of his Indian heritage but walks a fine line between both races.


Solving the case was a major challenge as there were many potential suspects and motives were rampant. While this case was solved, there is much unresolved in Cork’s life and I’m dying to start the next book. I really enjoyed the story and how the Indian culture was interwoven throughout. It was pretty fascinating and I got my mystery on top of it all.




About William Kent Krueger

Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for over 40 years to a marvelous woman who is an attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.

Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage—part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last five novels were all New York Times bestsellers.

“Ordinary Grace,” his stand-alone novel published in 2013, received the Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America in recognition for the best novel published in that year. “Windigo Island,” number fourteen in his Cork O’Connor series, was released in August 2014.

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I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

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