Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger

ironlakeThe Windingo is a figure in Ojibwe legend, a powerful, man-eating ogre with a heart of ice. If the Windingo calls your name, he is coming for you. You can only defeat him by hardening your heart and becoming a Windingo yourself, but there is a danger you will stay a Windingo forever if the ice inside you doesn’t melt afterwards.
In the backwoods Minnesota town of Aurora, on the banks of Iron Lake, several people have heard the Windingo call their name. Powerful but unscrupulous Judge Robert Parrant is one, and he is soon found dead in his lakeside mansion. The local sheriff accepts this as a suicide, but former sheriff Cork O’Connor has his doubts. O’Connor is one quarter Ojibwe. In the aftermath of a tragedy that resulted in the death of an Ojibwe man that was like a father to him, O’Connor lost his job as sheriff, and also his home and family. He lives in the back of a World War II era Quanset hut that serves as a hamburger and ice cream stand in the

summer. The mother of an Ojibwe teen that went missing on the same day the judge died calls O’Connor for help. Could the teen’s disappearance be linked to the judge’s death? Is a new casino on tribal lands related? Can the judge’s son, a newly elected senator, be hiding evidence? Is someone using the legend of the Windingo to terrorize the people of Aurora? Can O’Connor find and stop the killer? And can he do it without being left with the icy heart of a Windingo himself?
The cold, remote setting and Native American spiritualism in this book gives it an atmosphere that works very well in this noir type mystery. Fans of hard-boiled detective fiction, Scandinavian mysteries, and the Leaphorn and Chee mysteries by Tony Hillerman will all be interested in Iron Lake, the first in the Cork O’Connor series written by William Kent Krueger.

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