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Iron Lake

Cork O'Connor, Book 1
Narrated by: David Chandler
Series: Cork O'Connor, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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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

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lia
  • 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.

108 of 109 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Mark
  • 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.

66 of 69 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 05-02-14

Atmospheric, well plotted, slightly melodramatic

What I enjoyed most about this book was the strong sense of place and season - I could almost feel the clean cold of winter and the purging heat of the sauna - and the clarity and credibility of the various candidates for the "he did it" role.

The central character, Cork O'Connor, an white skinned, red haired man with a native American grandmother that seems to give him a foot in both of the communities of Iron Lake, has the makings of a tragic hero - a committed sheriff, a loving husband, a doting father who falls from grace in every way possible when disaster strikes but who remains a good man, albeit one who cheats on his wife. I could not find my way inside this man's head. He seems to be a talented and tenacious investigator but he is not gifted with insight into his own character or that of his wife. Add to this a willingness to buy into the reality of Windigoes and you have someone I found hard to believe in. He is a pizza with way too many toppings.

The book is well plotted. The twists and turns are satisfying and credible and they kept me guessing (although not always caring)

Unfortunately, Kreuger's women are almost cartoons - young, beautiful, forgiving and doomed or strong, silent, fierce but loving or confident, self-absorbed but still loving. I couldn't imagine any of them as real.

He also slaps on foreboding like plaster on a wall.

The two combined turn the death of one of the women characters into an instrument of emotional manipulation of the reader that I found myself resenting.

Perhaps it was a book of its time (first published 1999), I know the subsequent books of the series won prizes. From me this one only won a "What a pity. That was almost a really good book."

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Rusty
  • Rusty
  • 29-10-16

Engrossing Mystery, Mediocre Characters

I enjoyed Iron Lake when it was first published (almost 20 years ago), and was curious if my reaction would be different now that I have more life experience. Well, the older, wiser me still enjoyed the rural setting, Native American themes and suspense but thought the main characters should have been more believable and engaging.

First, the marital background of Cork (40ish ex-sheriff) and his estranged wife Jo (attorney) was never really explained. After more than 15 years of marriage and 3 children, both Cork & Jo suddenly started having affairs without considering the impact on their children or careers. I couldn't relate to either spouse for most of the book.

Second, Cork and Jo acted too stupid for supposedly being experienced professionals. Cork allowed a 10 year old Native boy to be blackmailed by the FBI into leading an expedition into the wilderness. Alarm bells anyone? You would think that a lawyer and former cop would be more suspicious & cautious rather than naïve & trusting of strangers,

Since Iron Lake is the first in a long series, I will probably continue with the next few books to see if the main characters become more developed and likable. The narrator was excellent and the author showed potential.


12 of 12 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.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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.

51 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Kitty
  • 25-08-13

I thought that I had made a mistake, however...

I stuck with this book. Initially I thought that I got a supernatural type of book, which is not something I can usually enjoy. So after about three starts, (I had to go back to the beginning) I finally paid close attention and followed this very good book. I am invested in the series after just the first book. I have to know more. Now I am starting my third book in the series. I may spend the rest of my credits on this series alone.

This is an old book, published in 1998, but don't let that stop you. Worth your credit and your time.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Donna Deal
  • Donna Deal
  • 24-07-18

This series has potential but for a good narrator

A good narrator/reader can make or break a story. A great performer can mold the storyline into compelling drama. Sadly, this book could have been improved by a better reader. I wanted to like Cork O' Conner, I wanted to cheer for him, cry for him, be on his side.... but the narrator just wasn't a good fit for a Minnesota cop with a broken life. The narrator, David Chandler lacked the Minnesota soft accent, he lacked simpatico for his character, he lack the depth of expression of delineating between the characters. It all sounded the same. He has a flat voice with an annoying sarcastic sense that invaded every character, and kept us from liking them. I think of George Guidell who made me fall in love with Walter Longmire or Ralph Cosham and how he breathes life into Inspector Gamache. That is what makes Audible.com such a gift: the characters come to life. I'm so sorry this didn't work; I don't know if I'll read others in this series simply for lack of a compelling narrator.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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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!



52 of 59 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Debbie
  • 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 . . .

43 of 49 people found this review helpful