Penzler Pick, March 2001: William Kent Krueger writes the kind of novels mystery lovers love to read: well-written, both character- and plot-driven, with tense scenes and surprise endings. Purgatory Ridge is the third in his series starring Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor, half white, half Ojibwe, who is the sometime sheriff of Aurora, a small town in the North Woods of Minnesota. What is particularly refreshing about Cork O'Connor is that, unlike the portrayal of many private investigators and cops in literature, he is a troubled man with a troubled marriage. He and his wife, Jo, have been through hard times, and although there is plenty of love between them, those hard times often surface and impact investigations and decisions they make regarding their careers. As the story begins, Cork is no longer sheriff, but just has to help investigate when a bomb explodes at the lumber mill run by wealthy industrialist Karl Lindstrom. The bomb kills an Ojibwe Indian who, like many of that nation, objects to the tearing down of the trees in that area, especially those considered sacred by the Ojibwe. |
In a parallel story, John LePere, half Indian, half white, festers. As the only survivor aboard the Alfred M. Teasdale when she went down in Lake Superior, he thinks about the death of his shipmates, especially his brother. When it is suggested to him that the sinking of the Teasdale may not have been an accident, LePere is pulled into a plot to avenge the deaths. Grace Fitzgerald, heir to the line that owned the Teasdale, happens to be married to Karl Lindstrom. Add the eco-warriors who have come in from other parts of the country to stop the logging, and you have a potent mix of high adventure and skullduggery. Purgatory Ridge is a fine introduction to Krueger and doesn't require that you first read the earlier two books.
Source: Otto Penzler, Amazon.com.