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Edgar Award-winning author William Kent Krueger delivers again with Manitou Canyon, his 15th installment to the Cork O’Connor detective series. Readers that are unfamiliar with the series should not pass on this book. Kruger’s new novel is an expertly crafted tale of suspense that weaves into its central mystery important pieces of Native American tradition, vivid details of the beautiful yet dangerous Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, and complex family relationships.
Krueger opens the book with a nameless bad guy, perched in the wilderness, searching for our hero through the scope of a loaded rifle, ready to fire. Only a few pages later, Cork O’Connor is hired by the granddaughter of a missing man to accompany her into the wilderness to try to find him. With his daughter set to marry in a week’s time, Cork promises to return soon in order to make the wedding and avoid the deadly winter weather that is known to descend upon the Boundary Waters during the month of November.
The sniper never gets a clean shot on O’Connor, but the gunman and his accomplices do ambush the granddaughter and hold her hostage. While searching for a way to rescue her, Cork is attacked by the perpetrator keeping watch over the canoes, the only way out of the wilderness. During the ensuing fight, the lookout falls on his knife and dies. Suddenly missing an important set of hands for their escape granddaughter’s life. A moral and professional obligation to his client keeps Cork from escaping.
Back at home, Cork’s family fears the worst when he fails to check in. They consult a Native American friend and centenarian Henry Meloux. By reading the dreams and visions of those closest to Cork, Henry begins to speak cryptically of the motive behind Cork’s disappearance. A bit of old fashion detective work gives readers the first thread to pull in unraveling the underlying mystery.
Krueger is a savvy veteran when it comes to penning mystery and suspense. He drives his narrative forward using a rich cast of characters and clean, concise dialogue. Manitou Canyon is a thrilling page-turner that draws readers into the brilliant beauty and unabating dangers of the Minnesota wilderness. Cork O’Connor is a consummate hero that exudes a life and spirit that should anchor future books…If only he can survive this one.
Look for the next book in this series,
Clay Snellgrove is the author of The Ball Player. He’s a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. A former professional baseball player, Clay holds an MFA in creative writing from Converse College.