Sophia Rose is sharing the first audiobook in the Cork O’Connor mystery series. Written by William Kent Krueger and narrated by David Chandler, come see why Sophia gave this story five coffee cups.Iron Lake
by William Kent Krueger
Series: Cork O’Connor #1
Narrator: David Chandler
Length: 11 hours and 57 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.2x
Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota - population 3,752. 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, he's found that there's not much left in life that can shock him. But when the town's judge, Robert Parrant, is brutally murdered, and Eagle Scout Paul LeBeau is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption and scandal.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Having been introduced to this book via a fan of the series, it was a matter of when, not if I would dive into the Cork O’Connor series. And, it wasn’t long before I was having the age old feeling of ‘why did I wait so long…’ Iron Lake hit the emotions, senses, and intellect so that I was immersed in the story as told by new to me narrator, David Chandler.
Iron Lake starts out with a prequel of a young Cork O’Connor on a bear hunting trip with a family friend. Then the book jumps forward to the present and starts from the perspective of a teenage boy who’s out in a northern Minnesota snow storm just before Christmas delivering newspapers. He comes to the last house on his route, crusty old Judge Parrant, when he hears the explosion of a rifle shot. He disappears not long after that and his desperate mother goes to ex-sheriff Cork O’Connor, who may have a tarnished rep, a disconnect with his ancestry and family, and a poor sense of self, but she trusts him to find her son.
Cork’s about as down and out as he’s ever been, and I do relish an underdog for a protagonist. He’s got cop skills and instincts, he knows this rural county which includes the local Anishinaabe reservation, forests, and lakes not far from Great Lake Superior. He is estranged from his wife, Jo, an attorney on the rise working with a senator whose star is on the rise not just in local and state politics, but nationally. She gets small amounts of the narration as do a few other supportive characters throughout, to add good perspective to the story.
There are scenes Cork gets with his kids and with a special lady he has fallen for since his wife told him to leave. There is blame to both sides and I appreciated the author went for realistic with the nuances of the intertwined relationships.
There are some scenes when Cork is confronted by Anishinaabe prickly about how he’s lived his life in the white world and whites who think he’s standing against them. He’s still looking for peace from the racial tension raging inside himself let alone in the outside world.
Cork is going through more than the emotional stress. Some toughs beat him up to get him off the investigation, and he’s got so many pieces and few answers. He gets to the point that he suspects even his few friends and people he thought he trusted. He’s long since become a cynic of about anything a person can believe in because of life kicking him hard. I’m not even touching so much in plot, but there is a wealth of layers and background to the story and the characters, especially Cork.
I liked seeing the rural locality and culture of the area play a major role, the biting Minnesota winter was a part of the suspense, the legend of the Windigo add an interesting, chilling mystical element, and there were some really exciting, breath-stealing action scenes and twists to the case.
I put my finger on the who and why, but then saw that evidence was pointing elsewhere. More dead bodies come after and made me doubt my guess and go with another and yet another. It was obviously a wonderfully complex murder mystery.
David Chandler had several characters to voice and a tone to set for the book. He did a superb job and I hope he voices the rest of the series because, yes, I am not stopping at Iron Lake. And, now I’m recommending Iron Lake to other mystery and thriller fans who like a down and out hero and a rural setting.
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