‘Iron Lake’ by William Kent Krueger (Cork O’Connor #1)

Well, this post is really good news for Louise Penny fans! It’s the classic scenario, “If you liked this, then you’ll love that!”

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!

4 responses to “‘Iron Lake’ by William Kent Krueger (Cork O’Connor #1)

  1. Joanne – I’m loving your blog! Just about every fiction book I’ve read this year has come at your referral.(though I’m reading “The Weight of Ink” right now and that one came from another friend). I absolutely loved Krueger’s Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land, and have recommended them on to others. Once the library re-opens, I’ll dig into his mystery series.

    A beautiful children’s book you might want to check out is written by a friend of mine, Aimee Reid, who lives in Hamilton. It’s published by Abrams and it’s now being translated into multiple languages. “You are my friend” is the title, and it’s an account of Mr Roger’s life. It’s absolutely lovely and tender.

    Stay well!

    • Hi Marla, So lovely to hear from you! You’re the second person to mention Weight of Ink to me in a week, so I’ve put that on my list. Thanks! Do you use Libby App on your ipad to get ebooks from the library? All you need to do is download the app and then enter your local library card number and you can borrow books or put them on hold. You might be in Oakville but the Mississauga Library here has all of the Cork O’Connor mysteries available in ebook. It’s a tremendous resource, especially during this pandemic! I will definitely look up the children’s book you mentioned. I do love Mr. Roger’s life story. Stay well and happy reading!!

  2. Joanne…I read way into the night to finish Iron Lake and am wishing I didn’t have to wait so long for the next one. I so enjoy Louise Penny books and these are every bit as good. He is a skilled and diverse author. Thanks for introducing this series!

    • Hey Margo. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed Iron Lake. I have read two in the series now and I enjoyed the second one Boundary Waters even more! So I hope you get that one soon. There’s nothing quite like a good series!

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