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Summary

Anthony Award-winning author William Kent Krueger crafts this riveting tale about a small Minnesota town’s ex-sheriff who is having trouble retiring his badge. Cork O’Connor loses his job after being blamed for a tragedy on the local Anishinaabe Indian reservation. But he must set aside his personal demons when a young boy goes missing on the same day a judge commits suicide—and no one but O’Connor suspects foul play.

Solve another case with Cork O'Connor.
©1998 William Kent Krueger (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic reviews

"Krueger makes Cork a real person beneath his genre garments, mostly by showing him dealing 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." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lia
  • 01-06-18

Great New Series

I am a new fan of Cork O'Connor. He is ruff and tough but also tender and caring. His concern for his children and their welfare is admirable. And, the geese, a man after my own heart. He is so likable. He reminds me a bit of Jack Reacher, the early years.
Next, I really enjoyed the Indian lore and the winter setting in Minnesota. Both the lore and the setting were interesting, colorful and informative.
The plot was not very complex but it was suspenseful. And the villains were more stereotypical than unusual. I also liked the fact that the confrontations and chases did not go on forever and ever like in some wilderness mysteries I have read.
The primary reason I kept turning pages was the relationships Cork had in his life. And those relationships are the reason I will continue on with the series.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 20-01-17

My new favorite series

Thoroughly enjoyed this. It’s a bit like Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire books in that it features a (former) sheriff in the American West, strong female and Indian characters, and a tiny dash of mysticism. This is less funny but more thrilling — and it has inspired me to set aside the Longmire books for now to read these instead. What put it over the top for me was the way it still thrilled and kept you guessing long after you thought the mystery was solved. Bechdel test: Pass. Grade: A-

The narration is perfect.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L. O. Pardue
  • 17-11-11

Good start to a mystery series

This is my first book by William Kent Krueger and I was really pleased. I really enjoyed the background of this upper Minnesota setting and the Native Indian culture. I figured out the "whodunit" too soon, but the story was still interesting. There were some parts of the story where my heart was really beating fast so I am looking forward to continuing this series. I love the main character, Cork O'Connor. The narrator, David Chandler, did a good job. I don't remember him using different voices for the different characters, but the writing was so well done that I always knew whose voice was talking. The dialogues were very well done and fun to listen to throughout the story.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carole T.
  • 24-10-12

Crackerjack Beginning to a Great Series

I have been re-visiting in audio the first volumes in some of my favorite series! William Kent Krueger's is as good as I remembered, and, with David Chandler's terrific narration, listening is even better than reading. "Iron Lake" is full of non-stop suspense and introduces characters who grab your interest and sympathy at once. Ex-Sheriff Cork O'Connor is a decent man with an interesting cultural heritage, a troubled past, and a complicated family life. You'll want to follow him anywhere!



41 of 47 people found this review helpful

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  • stuartjash
  • 14-06-18

Good new series. Great narrator. Many plot stops.

I thought overall, Iron Lake was a good book. It has one of the best narrators for this type of book/genre (Western Mystery). David Chandler did CJ Box's Joe Pickett series, which I absolutely love. The only other narrator that can narrate these types of books this well is George Guidall.

As far as the book, I thought it was good, with a lot of action, and a good story. The part I didn't care for was that I felt like it could've ended halfway through. I know that wasn't the intent, but the way there was a 'close' to the story, made it feel like the plot line would grind to a halt. Granted, Krueger was able to get the momentum back, but it happened a few times where I feel like there were plenty of times throughout the novel, that the book could have ended. I will read more books in the series because of the rave reviews I've read and seen, but I have a feeling that this one won't rank as one of my favorite books in the series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara
  • 06-12-16

A Frozen Minnesota Thriller

This was a complex, well written and at times just plain terrifying first book in a series set around Christmas time in ice cold Minnesota. Don't get me wrong--Christmas is woven into the book but this isn't a Christmas story. For me, it was perfectly timed for a cold December listen. Chandler did an excellent job with the narration. I really loved the way he captured all the different characters and voices. His timing was perfect.

The descriptions of Native American myths and lore were fantastic. The characters were fully developed and had real depth. Heart pounding, fast paced, keep you guessing storytelling captured a sense of isolation, disappointment and the need for strength in the hunt for truth. Do be aware that the book contains strong themes of evil and considerable violence.

A favorite quote from the book for me was "we have been rabbits--it's time we became a scarier animal". I can see why people love this series. Looking forward to book two.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Mel
  • 14-05-13

Who came first - Wm Krueger or CJ Box ???

I'm a HUGE CJ Box fan. As I listened to this narrator - David Chandler (also the voice of Box's Joe Pickett) I had to keep reminding myself this was Cork nor Joe. Cork and Joe are brothers from different mothers.

Finding Krueger and his large collection of Cork novels I feel like I've found long lost CJ Box stories. Both involve rural outdoors and a straight arrow hero with a family. Just enough differences in the two (Joe and Cork) to make all the books interesting.

44 of 52 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Debbie
  • 26-05-13

Riveting Mystery

My husband and I listened to this on our way to New Orleans to visit our daughter and her family. Couldn't stop listening . . . listened to it in bed after we got there . . . listened to it on our little side trips . . . finally finished it in bed the second day we were there . . . this is a book for both men and women . . . and it will keep you guessing . . . I love the historical aspect of the Indian customs and superstitions . . . Cork the ex-sheriff is a normal guy, with an arrow straight moral compass . . . I like that about him . . . and what he uncovers will blow your mind . . . thought I had it figured out, then I didn't . . .

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • 02-09-13

Is this gonna be a good series, or what?

This was a surprisingly good book. I think I picked it up in a 3 for 2 credit sale because I am always looking for a new series in this genre. I think I may have found one. Krueger not only tells a good story, he creates and develops interesting characters that should be interesting to follow. Moreover, this is not a "they lived happily thereafter book". I get the feeling nobody, the main character not withstanding, is safe in Krueger's plots. I suppose time will tell if this theme continues as I go through the 13 available books.

From a more critical point of view, Krueger's plot in Iron Lake might have been a bit over extended. There were a lot of characters and sub-plots that didn't add much, if anything, to the story. Are some of them going to play roles in later books? I don't know. But, I'd like to give the author a little slack in the first book in his series and move on to the next one. In my experience, the good authors usually get better with experience (probably because they get better editors who polish the work). I hope that will be the case in later Cork O'Connor stories.

The narrator, David Chandler, did a great job. I almost did notice he was there and I could usually identify the character by the sound of his voice.

In any event, I will purchase the next book in the series right after I submit this review. I suppose that best expresses my feelings toward this one.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Think about this
  • 24-05-13

What a wonderfully sad story

A great narrator adds to this story, but reading it would not have taken anything away from this heart gripping tale. It's a story of a good man, that has lost most everything of his way of life; his job, his wife, his home and is trying to hang on to his children. It's a suspenseful thriller/mystery that explains the circumstances of each character as you try to figure out, just who can be trusted. With lots of twists and turns along the way,
you can see the perspective of each person as the story unfolds, with greed, murder, deception, and love, all entangled in this complex mystery.
With a justifiable ending, it leaves you glad you listened to it, but not feeling warm and fuzzy... mainly thankful there's another in the series to go to.....cause you won't want to leave Iron Lake just yet.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful