Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Have You Heard? Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger

I'm always grateful when Sandie Herron steps in with a review of an audiobook. It gives me one day to finish whatever I'm reading. And, she reviews audiobooks, which I don't listen to. I know many of you do, so it's one more chance for you to discover a book. Thanks, Sandie.

Cork O’Connor mystery #4
Written by William Kent Krueger, Narrated by David Chandler
Unabridged Audiobook, Listening Length: 11 hours and 15 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books (August 29, 2007)
(originally published by Atria Books, February 3, 2004)
Literary Awards:  Anthony Award for Best Novel (2005)

I thought I had adequately braced myself for the cold climate of Minnesota in Kent Krueger’s
fourth mystery featuring Cork O’Connor.  I thought I had readied myself for the many twists
and turns to come throughout this book.  However, I had not prepared myself at all for the
emotional journey on which I was about to embark.  Yet, had I given it proper thought, I
would have known Kent Krueger would not only present a mysterious problem to be solved
but also much more poignant dilemmas to be considered.

This story begins on January 2nd when Cork O’Connor, former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota
helps with search and rescue under the retiring Sheriff Wally Shanno.  On New Year’s Eve,
Charlotte Kane, daughter of widowed Dr. Fletcher Kane, took off in a snowmobile on a trail
that broke off into dozens of others.  An oncoming blizzard cut the search and rescue short
with no satisfaction.

Spring came, and Charlotte’s body was found in a snow bank.  Despite his no longer being
the sheriff, Cork often found ways to accompany law enforcement to special crime scenes or
to participate in the investigations.  The new sheriff, Arne Soderberg, was more interested in
his political career than the duties of sheriff and ran Cork off the scene, ignoring his advice.

These days Cork runs Sam’s Place, a burger stand in an old Quonset hut on the shores of Iron
Lake left to him by Sam Winter Moon.  Sam’s sister Dot comes to see Cork along with Cork’s
wife Jo, explaining that Dot’s son Solemn has disappeared and the sheriff is looking for him.
 Known for his temper and occasional disappearances, Dot isn’t worried, but the sheriff wasn’t
going to lie content and wait.  Cork knows exactly where to find Solemn, a place full of Sam’s
spirit deep in the woods.  Shortly afterward Cork and Jo, now Solemn’s attorney, accompany
Solemn to the sheriff’s station where he turns himself in.  The evidence connecting him to
Charlotte’s murder is pretty damning. The sheriff seemed to think Solemn would confess,
Perry Mason-style, but Solemn bolts and runs.

The Ojibwe have a spirituality that I often envy.  Even though Cork is only one quarter Ojibwe,
he keeps running into traditions and their ways.  He feels he’s not done right by Solemn since
Sam Winter Moon’s death, since Sam took Cork on as a youngster when Cork’s own father died.  
He feels he should have taken Solemn under his wing, so to speak, to help him complete his
growing into manhood.  So even after Solemn bolted, Cork finds him in places where Sam’s
spirit is strong.  Elder and Midewiwin Henry Meloux, member of the Grand Medicine Society,
lives on Iron Lake and helps Solemn complete giigwishimowin, the ritual where a boy is sent
into the woods to live off the land until a vision comes to him which will guide the rest of his
life.  Not until Kitchimanidoo had granted him the vision was the young man to return, changed
from boy to man.  Solemn’s quest took 16 days.  Then he was ready to face up to the white man’s
laws and prove his innocence.

Jo is not so sure she has the courage and the wisdom to represent Solemn in a criminal trial, so
she asks Cork to be her investigator.  What he discovers about the citizens of Aurora is vastly
different than what he expected when he began his search.  Cork discovers things about himself
as well that are just as difficult.  At times he has embraced and other times struggled with crises
that have spanned the series, and I believe he finally finds some crucial answers.  

Kent Krueger’s writing is lyrical.  His writing skills continue to improve.  I can smell the cut
grass or the rose petals as clearly as he describes them.  The breath in my own chest stopped
when Cork’s family was  at risk.  He has an easy flow to his words that are filled with spirituality
and teachings and lessons and miracles, and I think mostly with patience that the rightness of
the world will win in the end.  I am awed by Krueger’s talent and honored he has shared this
journey with me.  It is a very difficult journey of self discovery that begins to bring Corcoran
O’Connor the peace he has been seeking.  


Sandie Herron said...

Wow! It's been a little bit since I wrote this, so I re-read it because I love Kent Krueger's writing so much. Wow. How could a person not read this book after reading the review? I'm delighted to continue writing for you Lesa. Thanks for the opportunity. Sandie

Larry Loftis said...

Great review ... Any author would be proud of this!

holdenj said...

Great review, reminds me why I want to get back to this series!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Sandie. You never know what or when I'll post your reviews, do you? I appreciate them!

Deepak Yadav said...

Wow really great review, I am looking for something like this . I am huge fan of fiction and mystery novels. I have 20 plus books in my collection and all I read already. So I am looking for new book and here I found one best book for me thanks for your review. It sounds good and I really want to read this books. Usually I will pick Free Ebooks in PDF. But for this book I can spend my money. Thanks for share your beautiful review.

Sandie Herron said...

Thank you so much for your kind words but moreover an appreciation of fine books. I know you will enjoy reading Kent Krueger's entire Cork O'Connor series, savoring one at a time!

Patty said...

Love Kent Krueger and Cork O'Connor - wonderful stories set close to home! (South Dakota is 'next door' to Minnesota, although I'm on the far west border of SD)