About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger

(9. - 1124.) Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger (1998) - The Windigo, the mythic cannibal giant of the northern forests with a “heart of ice,” comes to Aurora, Minnesota in the midst of a fierce winter storm. Those who hear the Windigo call their name face great danger. With Cork’s grandmother Ashinaabe, he is well aware of the power of the Windigo.

The Iron Lake Reservation has recently established a casino and money is flowing freely. On and off the reservation everyone wants a share. Power and money collide with personal relationships.

Former Sheriff, Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is struggling with the breakup of his marriage to Nancy Jo O’Connor, the best lawyer in town, and losing a recall election when he finds the body of Aurora’s most prominent citizen, Judge Robert Parrant, an apparent suicide.

A local teenage boy, Paul LeBeau, disappears at the same time.

Cork cannot resist asking questions about the judge’s death and Paul. People tolerate his investigative curiosity.

Father Tom Griffin, known as St. Kawasaki as he drives a Kawaski snowmobile and a Kawaski motorcycle, is trusted and respected by both the white residents and The People (the Ashinaabe).

Desperate to save his marriage, Cork asks the priest for marriage counseling. Father Tom says Cork must put his personal affairs in order.

The three children of Cork and Jo love their parents. Their pain over the separation devastates Cork. I am glad Krueger portrayed a family with three good children. While they struggle with their parents being apart they carry on as do real life children dealing with the marital problems of Mom and Dad.

As Christmas nears, Cork is caught up in an investigation that has become intensely personal.

The Minnesota Civilian Brigade, a far right citizen militia, plays a shadowly role. The presence of aggressive fringe right wing paramilitaries is not just a phenomenon of the United States in the 2020’s.

Not many books play off harsh winter weather. In Iron Lake the weather sets the mood of the book, forces the characters to adjust their lives and provides a dramatic background for the Windigo.

Krueger can be lyrical at times:

He bent his head and he wept, and although he didn’t see where the tears fell onto —-’s soft blue cheek, for just a moment, the ice there melted.

Krueger drives the narrative and I was swept along. There is as much darkness amid the white landscapes of northern Minnesota as the mean streets of great cities. It was a great start to the series.


  1. In my opinion, Bill, Krueger writes a very good series. I've liked a standalone of his I read, too - An Ordinary Grace. He really evokes place and setting, and I agree with you about his writing style. It's nice to see that you're becoming acquainted with this series.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Kruege's book established the series as very clearly in northern Minnesota.

  2. I read this one about three years ago and then read the 2nd in the series about a year and a half later. I like the books but they have a lot of action and thrills. The descriptions and use of nature are very good.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. I loved the descriptions and characters. I would have been happier with fewer bodies.

  3. Sounds like a cross between twin peaks, a soap opera and a murder mystery. I shall have to give it a go

    1. James: Thanks for the comment. Did not consider it a soap opera. The marital conflict was realistic. Hope you drop by again.