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Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor #1)

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  5,207 ratings  ·  577 reviews
William Kent Krueger joined the ranks of today's best suspense novelists with this thrilling, universally acclaimed debut. Conjuring "a sense of place he's plainly honed firsthand in below-zero prairie" (Kirkus Reviews), Krueger brilliantly evokes northern Minnesota's lake country -- and reveals the dark side of its snow-covered landscape.
Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Ind
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Pocket Star (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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James Thane
After working a number of years as a Chicago cop, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor moves his wife and children back to Auora, Minnesota, his tiny home town in the northern part of the state. His objective is to provide his family with a better quality of life, but those dreams go up in smoke very early on, both in his professional and personal lives.

Aurora borders the Anishinaabe Indian reservation, which is enjoying a newfound prosperity as a result of the casino that has just been built on the reserva
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Jonetta
This was the book selected by my Mystery & Suspense group for discussion this month. I’d never heard of the author or this series and my group came through yet again in selecting a really good story.

Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. He’s separated from his wife, has three children and is secretly seeing someone. His life is definitely off balance but he’s very much grounded in his Indian heritage. He inadvertently stumbles upon the dead body of the most pow
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Mike
Dec 16, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy crime and mystery in interesting settings
Recommended to Mike by: The Tuscaloosa Public Library
William Kent Krueger has created a good man Cork O'Corcoran, half Irish and half Ashinuabinni Indian. A former police officer in Chicago, Cork moved back to his home in Tamarack County. He was the Sheriff, married to a beautiful intelligent woman, and proud father of three children.

But things go terribly wrong when the Native Americans determine to exercise their fishing rights to the whole of Iron Lake. The lake is lined with resorts. Sport fishing is a huge draw to the resorts. O'Corcoran's ob
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Harry
William Kent Krueger's Cork O'OConnor series comprise a series of stories set in Aurora Minnesota, an area of the country of which I'm blatantly ignorant. Frankly, in reading the reviews of this setting I managed to barely stifle a yawn. Small town mysteries set in a frozen wasteland? With boring backgrounds that involve Indian supernatural folklore - I don't stomach mysteries that resort to such subterfuge, avoid beyond this world explanations when the genre is detective/mystery, decry irration ...more
Margaret Sankey
I seem to be the dissenting opinion on this one. Maybe it is because I read so many European procedurals in which people rarely get shot and there's a lot of paperwork, but this is a feverishly overstuffed book of middle-aged man wish fulfillment. The disgraced (from a local Indians vs. Rednecks over lake fishing access protest shooting incident) former sheriff discovers a string of murders and a conspiracy that encompasses nearly every named character in a small town, including his estranged ba ...more
Jim
A solid 3 star book with a very good reader, David Chandler, well worth listening to & my first by Krueger. I wound up not doing anything complicated or loud in the shop, so was free to listen to this & really enjoyed it. The plot had enough twists, turns, & dodges in it to keep it interesting, but it isn't one that the reader can solve ahead of time, at least not very far. One problem leads to another, a third is found & pretty soon everyone is a suspect of doing something they ...more
Rick Fisher
"Iron Lake", the first of William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Conner series is everything a great book should be.
The story line, the setting, the character development. It's all perfect. From start to finish, Mr Krueger pulls you in and makes you a part of this mystery. Like all great stories, you become close to the characters in a short amount of time. You feel all their emotions while you read about their journey. And, you feel the heartbreak when one of the characters dies. Thats a sure fire way
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Rex Fuller
Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor, former sheriff, behaves as though he's still charged with investigating two mysteries from the opening scene, the "apparent" suicide of a retired judge, and the simultaneous disappearance of the paperboy on whose route the judge is the last delivery. However, the current sheriff doesn't get bothered about O'Connor investigating (which does amount to obstructing justice) except to gently chide him and the boy's disappearance is quickly treated as ho-hum, until about half ...more
Cathy DuPont
My Goodreads guy friends really liked this and while I wasn't encouraged to read it, I noticed they gave it a high rating. So I happily followed.

Anything cold, freezing, snowy, well, they're just not in my sphere of knowledge. And I'm cold natured anyway so was freezing ass cold from page one to page 438.

Yes, there were some murders; did the protagonist, Cork O'Connor, solve them? Well, no, not really. He did identify who knew who killed them though. Does that count? And he shook his finger at
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Jane Debano
Lately it seems I’ve been reading a lot of mystery series featuring flawed but decent men in rugged surroundings. The latest is William Kent Krueger’s mystery novels starring Corcoran (Cork) O’Connor in northern Minnesota. When we first meet Cork, he’s the former sheriff of Tamarack County, having lost his badge as a result of a confrontation over fishing rights by the local fishermen and the indigenous Ojibwe people. He’s also lost his marriage to Jo, a beautiful attorney who advocates for the ...more
Robert
While IRON LAKE isn’t the first Cork O’Connor novel I read, it certainly made me feel as though I was reliving the characters all over again. A lot must happen in the first four books of this series, as Cork felt like an entirely different character to me with more flaws than smooth skin. But it was his flaws, and his troubled relationship with his wife Jo, that kept me turning the pages like tree branches blowing in the middle of a tropical storm.

I found myself constantly asking the question: W
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Mark
This novel introduces part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor, former Chicago cop and former sheriff of his hometown of Aurora, Minnesota. Cork has only just begun to recover (thanks in part to the love of a local woman) from a traumatic incident two years earlier that cost him his oldest friend, his marriage and his job as sheriff.

When an Eagle Scout goes missing after going out on his paper route, the mother frantically asks Cork to help find him. Tracing the boy's movem
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Trish
For years I've been looking at new titles accumulate under the name Krueger, and have wanted to see how mysteries unfurl in the midwest. Only this week have I had the chance. This is the first in a series, and sadly, I didn't feel that well-aligned emotionally or intellectually with the main character Corcoran O'Connor. I know this is not because he is a man, nor because he is clearly of Irish descent. I think it may have something to do with the dark history of the midwest, and the way people i ...more
Michael
The story opens during the winter in Aurora, Minnesota. There are as many people who travel by skis and snowmobiles as by cars.

Judge Robert Parrent is found dead, a possible suicide. The newspaper delivery boy, Paul LeBeau, is missing. All of Paul's deliveries have been made, up to the Judge's home.

Cork O'Connor, once a cop in Chicago and former sheriff in Aurora, feels compelled to take action when there is need to solve a crime.

Cork is undergoing a time of turmoil, himself. His wife, Jo, want
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Mariah
Being a Minnesotan, it was only a matter of time before I read one of William Kent Krueger's books. After I moved into an apartment just down the street from the St. Clair Broiler where Krueger actually wrote most of his novels until moving to a different part of town just a few years ago, it became even more of an inevitability. Starting with the first of the Cork O'Connor series seemed appropriate.

Two things stuck out and have stayed with me since I finished this book. One is that Krueger is
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Donald Baker
Possible Spoilers!!


Not a very good read. Lots of contrived and unrealistic dialogue. Quite a few worn out cliché’s (like "look what the cat dragged in"). A totally unsympathetic main character. And a plodding and predictable plot with very little suspense or mystery to it. Also it seems that the author is telling us that it is OK to commit premeditated revenge murder as long as you do it for good reason and it is a really bad guy that you kill.

Plenty of predictable plot and character devices in
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Carol
After reading Ordinary Grace I decided Krueger's Cork O'Connor's mystery series deserved my attention. I knew this would be a different read but thought the locale, Aurora, Minnesota and American Indian lore would be interesting.

IMO, Iron Lake is a solid entry to a long running series. First thing I can tell you I didn't like all of the characters Actually, I can only think of a few that were someone I'd like to know but this didn't ruin the story.

I'm just getting to know Cork O'Connor. I'll ha
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Steve
Sep 21, 2012 Steve rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of the crime genre
Good start to a crime series. The characters are well developed, and very human, struggling with human factors tugging them in multiple directions. The inclusion of Native American lore is well done, and the setting is different enough from the standard "mean streets of the city" to be intriguing. I enjoyed Krueger's reading for the most part, and did go out and get the second book in the series.

That said, there are a few things that I thought keep it from being great. First and foremost, even f
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Joe
Fantastic Read! First in the Cork O'Connor series. Always a real treat to find a new author and a new character that you want to start at the very beginning and read every one in the series. The first of this series I read was, "Vermilion Drift" and was "hooked" right there. Then I read the most recent in series, "Northwest Angle" and knew that I needed to go to the beginning. So glad I did. Beautifully written, characters you fall in love with and honestly a story line that intrigues you the mo ...more
Resistance is Futile
Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Aurora, MN, investigates the disappearance of a young boy at the request of a friend. While looking for the boy, he stumbles upon a mystery (and possible conspiracy) within his tiny town. This first book in the Cork O’Connor series was intriguing. Although I sort of guessed who the big baddie was, it was a total mystery to me how Kreuger’d get there. The characterizations were fantastic, and Kreuger did a good job of mood setting (with his cold MN winter). I ...more
Robert
It is so great to find a writer with the true gift of a storyteller and when they share that gift it makes it that much more wonderful. Krueger is just such a writer and Iron Lake is the gift that we receive. A finely crafted tale that I understand was his first novel. And it is for this fact that I was willing to go for five stars. A fine first novel such as this deserves the respect that it commands. This is a novel of people and their prejudices and the evil that can come from the heart. Shou ...more
Mark
May 27, 2012 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
Cork O’ Connor’s life is a mess. He was not re-elected as sheriff of a small burg in northern Minnesota. His marriage has collapsed and he’s living in a rundown Quonset hut. He is out of shape and smokes like a fiend. Things need to change.
When the town judge is found dead, of an apparent suicide, Cork finds himself pulled into a tangled, deadly web of deceit, greed and murder. I don’t think this was the change old Cork was hoping for.
The winter setting, the deep woods atmosphere and the Native
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Kimberly
I got about half-way through then I realized that everyone in Aurora with the exception of spinster aunt Rose, mistress Molly and the two younger O'Connor kids was unlikable. Didn't like Cork, didn't like Jo, didn't like any of the Native Americans, and the new sheriff was a doofus. And when I started rooting for the Windigo and stopped caring about the missing Boy Scout I quit the book.
Lesismore
I picked up this series after reading "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger, which I LOVED. I was hoping to find the same writing in this series. WKK, in his introduction to "Iron Lake" states that he had always dreamed of writing the one great novel. He hadn't been able to accomplish that thus far in his career, so someone encouraged him to write a detective series. He was frustrated (my word) with that recommendation because he didn't want to be a formula writer, but he gave it a go... seve ...more
Amy
I would probably give Iron Lake 3.5 stars. There were parts of the story that were very exciting and engaging, and the mysteries in this book were good and well constructed. I came to care about the main character, his girlfriend, his children, and a host of other characters.

There were parts of the story, though, that were hard for me to swallow. For an ex-sheriff Cork sure contaminated a lot of crime scenes, tampered with evidence, and somehow managed to come away without any repercussions from
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Jacqie
Ended up skimming the last part of this one. Figured out the murderer pretty much after the name was first mentioned in the story, but that didn't really bother me, since I like reading mysteries for character development and setting as much as plot.

Setting: I'll give the writer props for this. He conveyed the cold, snowy Minnesota lake winter convincingly to me. I don't know anything about ice fishing or boggy winter lakes, but the pervasive tone of cold, dark, and isolation was effective. Som
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Erin
This read like a murder-mystery, however, there was more to it than that. I liked it and really appreciated the Native American tidbits of information thrown throughout and it was interesting to read about something taking place in Minnesota.

I'm stealing this from another reader but I thought these quotes from the author summed up a lot about why I enjoyed this book:

In the mysteries that I write, I often deal with the whole question of the spiritual journey. It’s always intrigued me. I’ve never
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Nancy Newcomer
I really liked this mystery/thriller, the first in a series of 12 now featuring main character Cork O'Connor, part Ojibwe indian and part Irish. In this book he is the former sheriff of a fictional small town in northern Minnesota on the Iron Range. Setting is very important here and Krueger will make you shiver through this winter. Really wonderfully evocative of the location. There are stories of how Cork learned to hunt and track through the woods with the old Indian man who was his mentor. T ...more
Molly
So when I set out for Thanksgiving break with a bag full of poetry books and student portfolios, avoiding anything with a prose-shaped narrative, what I really mean to do is pack some kind of novel I can read once everyone else is asleep and I'm taming my restless legs syndrome. If I don't do this, then I am left the the whims of the bookshelves I am visiting, and this book, which I bought for my husband many years ago, rose to the top--an escape mystery set in the state I call home. The North W ...more
Eileen Goudge
A neighbor of this author's, in Minnesota, turned me on to him. Since I was staying in the region on vacation, I thought I'd read one of his novels while soaking up the atmosphere in real life. I chose "Iron Lake," the first of the Cork O'Connor mysteries, and it was excellent. Well-crafted, gripping, with characters that seem real. Cork is a flawed man but heroic in his own way. He puts his life on the line for those he loves. Already have Book #2 loaded on my Kindle, and can't wait to read it! ...more
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Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for ...more
More about William Kent Krueger...
Ordinary Grace Boundary Waters (Cork O'Connor, #2) Purgatory Ridge (Cork O'Connor, #3) Blood Hollow (Cork O'Connor, #4) Thunder Bay (Cork O'Connor, #7)

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