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Fox Creek

Review

Fox Creek

There has always been a gentle calmness in the writing of William Kent Krueger, and the way he captures the beauty of America’s wide open country is rivaled only by C. J. Box. FOX CREEK, his 19th Cork O’Connor mystery, is the most suspenseful and intense book in the series that I have read thus far.

In the haunting prologue, we enter the mind of an incredibly old man, an Ojibwe healer named Henry Meloux. I honestly believe that he knows at the onset of the novel that he does not have long to live and that he is making his last journey, which is going to change the lives of several other people in the process. He thinks to himself, Am I the one who stands between death and the others, or am I the one who leads death to them?

"FOX CREEK is both a mystery novel and a mysterious novel wherein the native Ojibwe lore permeates the story, and readers can almost feel the mysticism dripping off the page."

Cork O’Connor is approached by a man who calls himself Morriseau. He claims that his wife, Dolores, is missing and has run off with an Indian man. Later, when Cork speaks with Henry and mentions the incident, Henry indicates that the woman is with him. Accompanied by his wife, Rainy, Cork shows Dolores a photo of the man looking for her, but she claims she never saw him before. Cork doesn’t need to be told twice that something shady is going on here.

When a legitimate and verifiable Morriseau turns up in town, he and Cork recognize that they may want to follow Dolores, who has ventured on an Indian sweat trek into the woods with Henry and Rainy, especially since it seems there may be others tracking them. It turns out to be good advice as a team of mercenary types are indeed after Dolores, a group led by a man known as LeLoup (The Wolf), who is as dangerous as they come. They will not hesitate to kill Henry and Rainy to get to Dolores if that’s what it takes.

One of LeLoup’s men gets injured; he is left behind and later picked up by authorities. Unfortunately, he is not giving anything up. Cork and Henry have no idea why they want Dolores so bad. They also seek answers about a cryptic map that bears the frightening word KILLCATIE. Krueger does such a fine job of not lifting the curtain on so many answers until the end of the book that he maintains a high level of suspense throughout.

At one point, LeLoup and his men come upon Henry, but LeLoup will not allow them to harm him. The scenes between LeLoup and Henry are extremely well written and quite chilling. We get to see a schism between the two teams that are on the mountain --- LeLoup’s gang vs. Henry, Dolores and Rainy. Cork seems almost lost at times, not knowing who might be alive or dead. His son, Stephen, is also working the case but is not aware that the truth lies deep in the heart of the snow-filled mountains under a star-filled sky. Cork’s own helplessness to save his loved ones ends up being the biggest battle he has ever had to face in his career.

FOX CREEK is both a mystery novel and a mysterious novel wherein the native Ojibwe lore permeates the story, and readers can almost feel the mysticism dripping off the page. This is a welcome and memorable departure for Cork O’Connor and his little world.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on August 26, 2022

Fox Creek
by William Kent Krueger

  • Publication Date: August 23, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 1982128712
  • ISBN-13: 9781982128715