William Kent Krueger, gifted author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land, has a mystery series set in Minnesota that is every bit as good as Penny’s Three Pines. Parallels are many. Both series feature excellent writing, depth of character, insightful portrayal of small town life, tangible descriptions of the beauty and cruelty of nature, sensitive handling of indigenous peoples, and yes, page-turning suspense. Cork O’Connor is a very likeable protagonist, probably because he’s flawed.
Part Irish, part Anishinaabe, 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. The book is a bit slow in the beginning which is not unusual, given introduction to the characters and the town, but the second half flies.
Lots of mysteries coming up for me! I haven’t yet finished all of the Louise Penny’s series (which I’m reading in order because I came late to the party), but now I can alternate with this series which I will definitely be going through as well. The next instalment in the Cork O’Connor series is called Boundary Waters. In a season where we are feeling a bit distracted and looking for comfort reads, a series is certainly a good choice!