Customer Reviews: Northwest Angle: A Novel (Cork O'Connor Mystery Series)
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on September 9, 2011
I've read the entire Cork O'Connor series, and watched as he aged into passive resistance to evil with interest, as well as some disappointment. This latest effort brings him to the end of that road in many ways, which also unexpectedly made him the character with the least depth. Meloux, Cork's mentor, is weakly done as well, and the villain (SPOILER ALERT!!!! STOP READING NOW!!!!), though she could have been far more interesting, was relegated to few developmental pages. It was hard to accept both her quest, and her inevitible demise.

I did truly appreciate Kreuger's respect and exploration of honest, sincere Christians. It was refreshing to read devout characters in a mainstream mystery, and, though their foes were the other side of their Christian coin, still, hat's off and a thank you to Kreuger for his portrayal of Chrstians as something other than cartoon characters. It was, for me, the best part of the novel.

The ending was rushed, I felt, as Krueger spent good amounts of time (certainly not wasted) exploring the good in his protagonists and bringing them to life in ways that brought me in, only to then suddenly spin the wheel and send them all flying in a hurry to their projected place in the ending.

I also found the cheap shot taken at our soldiers serving in Afghanistan surprising and disappointing. It was an unnecessary cheap shot line from a character you are being brought to respect, and seemed thrown in to make some sort of statement. It was out of place, and speaking personally, it was offensive.

For these reasons, while I respect Kreuger for the effort made, I can't recommend the book as much more than "one to read because there isn't anything else handy". Read it to enjoy the many moral discoveries of the "good guys" and their resulting strength of conviction, but you'll have to forgive the hasty end, and missed chances for a richer, deeper mystery.
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VINE VOICEon July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
William Kent Krueger has delivered another outstanding novel with "Northwest Angle." This is a story with picturesque settings, a suspenseful plot, enjoyable characters and a message about life.

Cork O'Connor, a former county sheriff, takes his family on a vacation. When a destructive storm develops, Cork and his older daughter, Jenny, are separated from the others. Cork and Jenny end up on one of the many islands on the Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, on the U.S. Canadian border.

Jenny hears the faint whimper of a baby and discovers the body of a young woman who had been murdered. The woman showed signs of torture and Jenny assumes that he woman was the child's mother.

The story provides a good dicotomy between good and evil. Cork's sister-in-law is on the houseboat. She and her husband both have a strong faith. When a number of bad things happen to good people, these characters wonder how God would allow this to happen. Eventually there is an answer to their question.

The story is rich in American Indian history. Cork is part Ojibwe and relates to other American Indians. Cork's teenage son, Stephen, truly demonstrates his spirituality and communication ability with other American Indian characters, particularly the wise elders. Stephen had spent time with the ancient Henry Meloux, a healer, someone who understands the harmony of life and how to restore nature to restore that harmony if it is lost.

I read the story compulsively and enjoyed the characters, while wondering how they would escape from their situation. Cork's character is particularly well developed in that at the start of the story we see him as a father wanting more time with his family before they get too old and have other interests, then we see him as a person proud of his Indian heritage, finally, as a former lawman we see Cork's desire to bring criminals to justice.

The twist that the author provided toward the end, added to the intelligence of the story and the satisfaction with the conclusion.
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on December 16, 2011
Have loved this series for a long time. Krueger brings the O'Connor family to life in his novels. Since the death of Jo - wife of Cork O'Connor he seems to have lost the family thread that ties his books together.

This installment has the family vacationing in the "Angle" - the northern most reaches of the US. A freak storm blows up and the family is separated. Cork's daughter Jenny finds a baby ... a dead body .... and the attentions of a hunter ....

The book plays out as they all try to find out why this baby attracts evil. Unfortunately Krueger has employed the "over zealous Christians and the evil island sanctuary" plot. It is obvious and trite.

I would have given the book one star but the tired plot ends better than the story deserves.

Hopefully the series finds it way back to what made it so enjoyable.
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on March 1, 2015
I'm a Cork O'Connor fan, and have kept up with him throughout his series, but I was rather disappointed in this one. Cork has traditionally operated more or less by himself, but in this outing he is accompanied by his now-grown family plus several others as they all vacation on the Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota. Though the writer wrangles them well, the effect is that of an unwieldy mob. The story thus unfolds in many directions. There is an abandoned infant to whom one of his daughters immediately bonds, a near-psychotic young Indian in a cigarette boat, a batch of hostile survivalist "Christians" who occupy a remote island, and a helpful, if not quite straightforward, resort owner who provides water transport. One sometimes wishes for a clipboard. There is a fair amount of bloodshed before everything resolves, but we finally return safely to Square One. It is clear, however, that Cork will soon be completely on his own. How Mr. Kruger will manage this remains to be seen.
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VINE VOICEon July 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although this is the 11th book in the Cork O'Connor series, enough background is given so that it can stand alone. As a fan of this author, I recommend reading his books from the beginning to get the full flavor of the man, his family and his part of the country. Cork is the former sheriff of Tamarack County in Minnesota and is now the proprietor of a hamburger stand serving tourists and boaters on Iron Lake during the summer. He has arranged a vacation with his family: daughters, Jenny and Anne; son, Stephen; and sister-in-law, Rose and her husband, Mal. They are to spend time on a rented houseboat on Lake of the Woods in a part of Minnesota that juts into Canada like a chimney known as the Northwest Angle.

Things start to go awry when Cork and Jenny go in a small boat to pick up Jenny's boy friend and are overtaken by a derecho, a cluster of thunderstorms combining into a huge storm with fierce straight-line winds that knock down trees and leave devastation in their wake. When they are separated, Jenny discovers a young Indian woman who has been killed and a baby who has been hidden. This is the basis for the story and eventually involves the whole family. Cork's grandmother was an Obijwe Indian, and he has strong ties to the Indian community which is a part of the story as it is in each of his books.

The many facets of the book add to its flavor, and in the end the story reaches a very satisfying conclusion. I heartily recommend this book and its predecessors.
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on December 30, 2013
History is replete with examples of good athletes who ate themselves out of a job. This novel seems to parallel that.

The plot and twists are well crafted. Cork takes his family on a lake vacation and stumbles into a deadly conflict between locals. That works except it’s larded with long and ponderous passages of the inner thoughts of the characters agonizing about their pasts. The author seems to adhere to the practice of never using one word when a hundred will do. You find yourself treading water, waiting for the action to resume. Also, every family encounters tragedies and bumps in the road. But, the litany of kidnapping and killing in this family is a bit much.

There are some details that are a bit nettlesome. A boat speeds by in the dark and it’s observed that the unique sound of a cigarette boat is unmistakable. In this case, it’s an outboard and an outboard motor sounds like an outboard, regardless of what type of craft it’s hanging on. The storm wipes out the forested islands and Cork uses one of the downed trees as a swim float to navigate between islands. Hundreds of pounds of timber and resistance from all the branches doesn’t facilitate speed and distance by a long shot and he’d probably still be out there swimming to this day. There are enough more examples to be an irritant.

The bottom line is that the basic story is a decent one. But, it often gets bogged down along the way.
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on June 16, 2014
This is a good Krueger book. It is somewhat different than what we usually see from Mr. Krueger. It is, as always, well written, the characters are well done, and it all makes for a completely enjoyable book.
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on April 14, 2012
I'm very disappointed. The characters, so well-developed and intriguing in previous books, were shallow. Bascombe, Aaron, Smalldog and Kretsch held interesting possibilities that never bore fruit. Krueger's books have held such magical, common moments, the description of a scene in a coffee shop or bar that made the storyline so based in reality, the conversations that were so believable and followed such a natural progression ... those are missing in Northwest Angle. And the on-going obsession with breast-feeding ruined the book for me. What was THAT all about?
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on November 28, 2015
This book makes me reconsider my desire to read the entire series. The first 3/4 of the book is an extremely boring mixture of the O'Connor admiration society and junior high level philosophical discussion. The ending is somewhat satisfying, but is marred by being to quickly resolved and contrived,
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on November 6, 2013
Bought this book as a gift for my mom. She loved is and ended up getting hooked on the series. If you like the mystery genre, these are wonderful. The setting in northern Minnesota's vast pine forests is surreal and exciting, too.
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