Friday, May 22, 2020

Have You Heard? William Kent Krueger's Purgatory Ridge

It was perfect timing when Sandie Herron emailed me with several reviews. Although I am so close to the end of Jason Pinter's Hide Away, I've been caught up with family and work, and I don't want to rush the review. Take my word for it. It's excellent, and I'll have a review. In the meantime, Sandie reviewed the audiobook of William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor mystery, Purgatory Ridge.

Cork O’Connor Mystery #3                                                                    

Written by William Kent Krueger
Narrated by David Chandler
Unabridged Audiobook
Recorded Books (2/15/2011) (originally published 2001)
Listening Length: 12 hours 51 minutes
Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel, Dilys Award Nominee, Minnesota Book Award for Popular Fiction

In Cork O’Connor’s third adventure, author Kent Krueger brings us back to Iron Lake, the Boundary Waters, and the town of Aurora, Minnesota next to the Indian reservation.  Once sheriff of Tamarack County, Cork finds himself involved in a local dispute to save a treasured stand of trees the Anishinaabe call Our Grandfathers.  Eco-warriors from around the country have joined local native men to fight the timber and logging industries from cutting down this magnificent stand of pines.  An explosion at the Lindstrom mill kills a man, pointing suspicion toward local tribal members, but the clues simply do not piece together easily. 

Across Grace Cove from Karl Lindstrom’s home lives John LePere, alone after losing his family to the waters of Lake Superior.  As a young man, he was the sole survivor of the sinking of the Alfred M. Teasdale, which went down on its final voyage along with John’s younger brother Billy.  The scar of that journey has left John deeply wounded.  A stranger who read LePere’s story in a magazine comes to town with tales of possible sabotage and bankrolls LePere’s dives to the wreckage of the ship.

Suddenly Cork is thrown into a much more immediate disaster: the kidnapping of his wife and son along with Lindstrom’s wife and son.  Local law enforcement and the FBI search for connections between the threats of the Eco-Warrior and the claims of the kidnapper with little success.  Cork isn’t sheriff any more, but his instincts and knowledge of the land and the people guide him.

Through this journey, Kent Krueger treats us to descriptions of the land and the reservation that are lyrical.  He introduces us to characters such as Henry Meloux, the Midewiwin to whom Cork turns in times of trouble; to Hell Hanover, blackmailing newspaperman; to Wally Shanno, who inherited Cork’s job as sheriff after an incident years before forced a recall election; to the Anishinaabe people, of whom Cork is part.  Alongside the beauty, Krueger describes the anger, the bitterness, and the dark forces that drive men to perform acts of rage, which seem so much more despicable next to the magnificence of nature.

As questions swirled like the smoke plaguing Aurora during the dry summer, the tension ramped up.  When flames engulfed the kidnapped victims, I sat on the edge of my seat and stayed there.  I audibly gasped at that moment when the certain realization hit that brought the entire book together.  It was a surprise, and I did not put the book down until the very end when beauty once again poked its nose from the charred earth.

This is my second reading of the book, this time on audio.  Narrator David Chandler does not hurry his way through either the quiet passages or the tense descriptions of nature’s fury nor the anger of men.  He is a strong, steady voice recanting Cork O’Connor’s story and the wider tale of the Anishinaabe people.  Definitely recommended.

NOTE from Lesa - William Kent Krueger's Purgatory Ridge is published in audiobook by Recorded Books. Your library might have a copy for you to check out online under RBdigital. Again, just a reminder that libraries buy these for our users.


Nann said...

What a coincidence! I'm slowly listening to all of the Cork Corcoran series, in audio, in order. I'm on Northwest Angle, #11. I really like David Chandler's narration for the Recorded Books editions. #10, Vermilion Drift, and #11 are produced by Brilliance and narrated by Buck Schirmer (sp?). I prefer Chandler, and I think he does the rest of the series.

I rarely re-read or re-listen because there is so much I haven't gotten to for a first reading -- but it is satisfying with a close sequence to catch the development of all the storylines.

Lesa said...

Then, you're a bit ahead of Sandie, Nann. But, I'm glad you're enjoying them all.