Thursday, July 11, 2013

My first mystery in a long time: Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger

b Iron Lake: I had forgotten the reason why it is bad for me to listen to audiobooks: I can't stop.  With books, I have to stop.  I mean, you can't sit at your cube at work reading a book instead of doing your work, but you CAN listen to the audiobook disc that you had to stop at an awkward moment at the end of your commute.  And then the next one.  And maybe the next one.  It's a long day, you're doing tedious work that doesn't require much of your brain, and you can handle it.  And you actually have the book, so when you get home, you can binge and read it.  Sigh.
This was a compelling read.  Don't believe the back of the book, because it is full of lies.  It follows a former-sheriff protagonist who's kind of reached rock bottom.  He's lost his job, his best friend is dead, he's separated from his wife and children, he's committing adultery and feeling guilty about it, and Christmas is coming up.  And then someone ends up dead and someone else ends up missing, and  even though it's not his job, Cork O'Connor can't seem to stop trying to find out the truth, no matter how painful it is.

Throw in a lot of tension between the whites in the town and the local native Americans on the reservation, politics, betrayal, murder, adultery, mistrust, and a Catholic priest nicknamed St. Kawasaki, and you have a book full of rich characters, landscapes, history, and culture that is pretty outstanding for a first novel.  I might actually recommend that you try to check out the audiobook because a lot of the names and words will be difficult to pronounce correctly without it.  Also, you may learn the correct pronunciation of words you've been pronouncing wrong for years. 

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