Gloria Feit's Reviews > Northwest Angle

Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger
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Jan 11, 12

it was amazing
Read on January 11, 2012

This is the eleventh book in the multi-award-winning Cork O’Connor series, and it is another winner. It starts out, as do the others, in the North Woods of Minnesota, described by the author as “a land so beautiful it’s as near to heaven as you’re likely to find anywhere on this earth.” And the reader is more than convinced of that as [s]he continues to read, for the author’s wonderful prose brings it vividly to life in all its majesty.

Family is all-important to Cork, and as the novel opens he and his family – his two daughters, Ann, twenty-one, and Jenny, a writer twenty-four years old; his son, nearly fifteen; and his sister-in-law and her husband – are about to embark in a houseboat on one of the larges lakes in North America, straddling the US/Canadian border, on what he envisions as a family gathering, the first in the nearly two years since his beloved wife had died. Their destination was a remote area known as the Northwest Angle. Within less than an hour, however, a devastating storm arises, threatening to kill anything and anyone in its path, with waves over eight feet high and winds over 100 mph, wreaking havoc and destruction unlike anything they’d even seen.

As suddenly as it began, the storm soon passes, but in its aftermath and where the vagaries of the area have deposited them, on one of a myriad of small islands, they discover an old trapper’s cabin, inside which they find the body of a young girl, brutally killed, and, nearby, an infant who appears to be no more than a few weeks old. Jenny is immediately taken with the child, who though hungry and dehydrated is none the worse for his abandonment. The reaction of the others is somewhat more ambivalent as to his future, and the possibilities raised by his presence among them and its potential threat, for it appears that whoever was responsible for the girl’s death is still stalking the area. Cork, with his background as a Chicago cop and a Sheriff for more than a decade before he became a p.i., is faced with getting them safely off the island, and finding out who is responsible for the girl’s death, as well as seeing that the baby’s future is dealt with.

The ensuing events are never less than harrowing. The mystery is one not easily solved, but the O’Connor family, with the help of their old friend Henry Meloux, is not easily deterred. Cork’s – and the author’s - love of the wilderness, and his philosophy towards life and family, is made manifest, e.g., “he was reminded that life was no more predictable than the flight of a dragonfly” and “love is the only river I know whose current flows both ways.” The book is deeply satisfying, and deeply moving. Highly recommended.
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