This Day In Crime: IRON LAKE

On this day, in 1999, William Kent Krueger released IRON LAKE, his debut novel. Lake introduced the world to Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor, a former sheriff that, at the time of the novel, is separated from his wife and children and in a bit of a mid-live crisis.

Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota (population 3,752). Embittered over losing his job as a cop and over the marital meltdown that has separated him from his wife and children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago’s South Side, there’s not much that can shock him. But when a powerful local politician is brutally murdered the same night a young Indian boy goes missing, Cork takes on a harrowing case of corruption, conspiracy, and scandal.

As a blizzard buries Aurora and an old medicine man warns of the arrival of a blood-thirsty mythic beast called the Windigo, Cork must dig for answers hard and fast before more people, among them those he loves, will die.

IL won The Anthony Award and Barry Award for Best First Novel and won the heats and minds of many crime fiction readers. Since then, Kent has released 16 more novels, 14 with Cork, and has won over a dozen more awards, including the Mystery Writers Of America’s Edgar for Novel of the Year. Kent is a favorite of mine, Cork has aged over the years and his life continues to change, something that many authors avoid for fear of losing readers and the inevitable loss of a profitable protagonist. In addition to the Cork series, Kent released the amazing ORDINARY GRACE in 2013, a stand alone that won Kent the Edgar for Novel of the Year.