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Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  10,604 Ratings  ·  1,064 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author 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.

ebook, 336 pages
Published July 14th 1999 by Atria Books (first published 1998)
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Mary Beth
3.5 stars
I think that I am going to love this series. This is the first book and I did enjoy it. I did find it very slow in the beginning. I think the books will be getting better and better. I will be reading the second book next month.

Cork O'Connor is my kind of detective. In this introduction to his character, we see a disgraced sheriff, whose marriage is on the rocks, who adores his children, and who suspects that an apparent suicide of a local magistrate is really a murder. He has no juri
Jan 05, 2017 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
A very interesting introduction to a new to me author and series. I really enjoyed the setting with the cold, the snow, snowmobiles, skis and driving on the frozen lake. An alien way of life to me as a resident of a very temperate part of Australia!
The story was excellent and the body count was huge. Actually the author maybe overdid that part of it but once I suspended belief I found it all very entertaining. I liked Cork O'Connor straight away and was rather disappointed by the ending when he
Oct 19, 2013 Jonetta rated it really liked it
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
James Thane
Sep 15, 2014 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
Aug 25, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

A good crime novel is not simply an intellectual exercise to determine whodunit, or just a way to experience danger at a remote from the safety of your favorite armchair. What I am often looking for is to explore the way people deal with extreme situations and the way their environment (urban jungle or out of the woods small community) is shaping their personality.

tamarack 01

In this first installment of a new series, the man who is both caught in a web of deceit and the product of his upbringing in Tamara
Tom Mathews
Jan 18, 2015 Tom Mathews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers everywhere.
Recommended to Tom by: Christine
After a moderately ho-hum beginning this first volume of the Cork O'Connor mystery series takes off like gangbusters with bodies piling up faster than you can say 'yassir, you betcha'. I particularly liked William Kent Krueger's character building ability as by the end there were very few characters that I didn't have strong feelings for one way or the other. I look forward to reading future volumes in this series.

I wish to thank my good friend Christine for recommending this book to me. Some d
Jan 30, 2017 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunit
So I finally met Cork O’Conner. I put it like that because I read Krueger’s stand-alone book, Ordinary Grace, shortly after it came out, and although I had meant to start his Cork O’Conner series many times, I just hadn’t. Plus, I had wondered how and if Krueger could possibly match what he’d accomplished in Ordinary Grace. Needless to say, I loved many things about that one. Shout-out to a friend for giving me the push needed to pick up Iron Lake.

First off, Cork is worth reading because Kruege
Margaret Sankey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2013 Lawyer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy crime and mystery in interesting settings
Recommended to Lawyer 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
What a great find this book was! I'd never heard of the series or the author but when one of my book groups chose this series as a group read this year I decided to give it a try. The story introduces our main protagonist, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor during a not so great time in his life. Half-Irish and half American Indian, Cork is the former Sheriff of a small town in northern Minnesota but both his professional and personal lives have hit the skids in the year, give or take a few months, preced ...more
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
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
Jan 05, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2013 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rick Fisher
Feb 08, 2012 Rick Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
"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
Skye Skye
Jan 19, 2017 Skye Skye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This extraordinary debut novel by William Kent Krueger is the first of a series that introduces the protagonist Cork O'Connor----an unforgettably bold, romantic, strong and moralistically above board character. Cork is part Irish and part Anishinaabe, Native American, formerly the sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. His life has taken a deft downward turn, and he struggles with a strong dose of bitterness but retains many elements of courage and strength. Krueger deftly leads the reader on a journey i ...more
Jan 05, 2015 Marian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is a debut novel,and I will start this review by saying that.Beautifully written,great story telling,in a winter setting,so it was very atmospheric for me,as here in Canada,our winters can be a little rough.The whole of this book centers around Cork O'Conner,who,doing his own investigating with no real authority to do so,is what this book is mainly about.If you like murder mystery stories,I think you should give this book a try.And I WILL,look into the rest of his books.He is just an a ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Perri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great writing with well paced plot, unusual characters and setting-especially the weather in a bone chilling Minnesota winter. I had to put on gloves to turn the pages and could almost see my vaporized breath. One star deduction for death of a particular character and an ending which didn't match the quality of the rest of the story.
Jun 08, 2015 Monnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series is far from new, and in fact I've collected copies of a few because other folks have told me they're excellent (including book buddy Christine from Goodreads). But for whatever reason (mostly too many other books on my to-read list), I didn't open one till now. And it took only a handful of chapters to convince me this won't be my last. And if you're a fan of C.J. Box's park ranger Joe Pickett or Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight as I am, I'm pretty sure you'll love this as well.

It's th
Freda Malone
Feb 26, 2015 Freda Malone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
After reading Ordinary Grace with my friend Christine, she also suggested I read the Cork O’Connor series by the same author. Iron Lake is a wonderful murder mystery set in Northern Minnesota where there are tons of lakes and streams and beautiful pine forestry areas surrounding the small town of Aurora, which borders an Indian Reservation. It is wintertime there. The description of the landscape and area, combined with the weather is so real.

I especially enjoyed the creative small tale of two
Rex Fuller
Jul 21, 2013 Rex Fuller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 11, 2012 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
4 stars

Good book. Loved the Minnesota references and winter weather. "Hoary glare of the headlights ..." .

On to book 2 ...
Jane Debano
Dec 10, 2012 Jane Debano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Una Tiers
Clean dialogue, but does every character talk the same way? Nice plot.
Mar 16, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 20, 2011 Kimberly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
Oct 24, 2014 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the setting of a book is as real as this, I don't wonder why I'm sitting here freezing! This was a wonderful book. I'm sad about one particular character I grew to like very much. Remains to be seen where the story goes in the next book, I hope.
William 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
Feb 14, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • The Hunt
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  • Dead Politician Society (Clare Vengel Undercover, #1)
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Cork O'Connor (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Boundary Waters (Cork O'Connor, #2)
  • Purgatory Ridge (Cork O'Connor, #3)
  • Blood Hollow (Cork O'Connor, #4)
  • Mercy Falls (Cork O'Connor, #5)
  • Copper River (Cork O'Connor, #6)
  • Thunder Bay (Cork O'Connor, #7)
  • Red Knife (Cork O'Connor, #8)
  • Heaven's Keep (Cork O'Connor, #9)
  • Vermilion Drift (Cork O'Connor, #10)
  • Northwest Angle (Cork O'Connor, #11)

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