Reading list: William Kent Krueger

The local author releases “Heaven’s Keep” to his series of fast-moving mysteries.

PHOTO COURTESY ATRIA

PHOTO COURTESY ATRIA

Thomas Q. Johnson

âÄúHeavenâÄôs KeepâÄù AUTHOR: William Kent Krueger PUBLISHER: Atria Books PAGES: 320 PRICE: $25.00 hardcover William Kent Krueger is a St. Paul author who launched his career by finding an hour to write before beginning his day job in a coffee shop . Nowadays, heâÄôs gained enough fans that his releases are met with anticipation. KruegerâÄôs latest series of books, the OâÄôConnor series, are a rugged set of tales of crime and mystery set in wild Minnesota. With KruegerâÄôs latest book, the newly released âÄúHeavenâÄôs Keep,âÄù the protagonist and namesake of the series, the roguish Cork OâÄôConnor, is taken out west to search for what might remain of his wife. The story begins when OâÄôConnor, a PI and ex-lawman, discovers that his wifeâÄôs plane has crashed while flying somewhere over the snowy Wyoming mountains. OâÄôConnor struggles with the remorse he has over not resolving issues between him and his wife before she left, a theme that is revisited many times throughout the book. In the end, he resolves to fly to Wyoming with his son in order to join in the search and rescue to find his wife in the mountains. When he arrives, he finds that there may be more to the story of his wifeâÄôs disappearance than it seems as he runs into a cast of mysterious other characters attempting to deceive him. âÄúHeavenâÄôs KeepâÄù follows KruegerâÄôs last book âÄúRed Knife,âÄù released in 2008, and is the ninth book in the OâÄôConner series . The driving force behind the series and what keeps the reader coming back is the strength of Cork OâÄôConnorâÄôs characters. OâÄôConnor is half Anishinabe, half Irish âÄî thus the name âÄî and lives as an adventurous and hardened ex-sheriff in quiet Aurora, Minnesota. ThereâÄôs no doubt that much of this series rests on the back of this character, like Tom ClancyâÄôs Jack Ryan. Cork seems to push through the novel with gritted teeth, often choking down his grief to battle the present circumstances and care for his also grieving son. The pace of âÄúHeavenâÄôs KeepâÄù is quick and Krueger is guilty of doing more telling than showing. But as a sequel in a long line, anticipation to know what happens next may override appreciation of well-crafted wording. Though each book up to this point in the OâÄôConnor series can be seen as addressing a single issue such as cultures of violence or raising children, Krueger recently confessed on his blog that all he tried to do in âÄúHeavenâÄôs KeepâÄù was âÄúwrite a damn good story.âÄù And at that, he did not fail.