Northwest Angle (Thorndike Reviewers' Choice)

Krueger, William Kent

Published by Thorndike Press, 2012
ISBN 10: 1410444163 / ISBN 13: 9781410444165
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Synopsis: During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm. Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl. She wasn’t killed by the storm, however; she’d been bound and tortured before she died. Whimpering sounds coming from outside the cabin lead them to a tangle of branches toppled by the vicious winds. Underneath the debris, they find a baby boy, hungry and dehydrated, but still very much alive. Powerful forces intent on securing the child pursue them to the isolated Northwest Angle, where it’s impossible to tell who among the residents is in league with the devil. Cork understands that to save his family he must solve the puzzle of this mysterious child whom death follows like a shadow. “Part adventure, part mystery, and all knockout thriller” (Booklist ), Northwest Angle is a dynamic addition to William Kent Krueger’s critically acclaimed, award-winning series. ADVANCE PRAISE FOR NORTHWEST ANGLE “A complex crime novel that contains meditations on the difficulties of loving and the paths we take to reach God, Northwest Angle has everything you want in a great read.” ―Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Reckoning

Review: With his family caught in the crosshairs of a group of brutal killers, detective Cork O’Connor must solve the murder of a young girl in the latest installment of William Kent Krueger’s unforgettable New York Times bestselling series.

During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm.

Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl. She wasn’t killed by the storm, however; she’d been bound and tortured before she died. Whimpering sounds coming from outside the cabin lead them to a tangle of branches toppled by the vicious winds. Underneath the debris, they find a baby boy, hungry and dehydrated, but still very much alive. Powerful forces intent on securing the child pursue them to the isolated Northwest Angle, where it’s impossible to tell who among the residents is in league with the devil. Cork understands that to save his family he must solve the puzzle of this mysterious child whom death follows like a shadow.

“Part adventure, part mystery, and all knockout thriller” (Booklist ), Northwest Angle is a dynamic addition to William Kent Krueger’s critically acclaimed, award-winning series.


Amazon Exclusive: Laura Lippman Interviews William Kent Krueger

Laura Lippman is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of 17 novels, ten of which are part of her acclaimed Tess Monaghan detective series. She is a former journalist and spent twelve years reporting for The Baltimore Sun. Her most recent novels include I'd Know You Anywhere, now available in paperback, and The Most Dangerous Thing, just published in hardcover.

Laura Lippman: Elmore Leonard's rules for writing include one that I've never agreed with: Never start a novel with the weather. Yet you use the derecho quite brilliantly in your opening and say you "always knew" that you would write about such a storm in one of your novels. Why now? How did the derecho and the right story find each other?

William Kent Krueger: The seed of an idea often comes to me long before the story itself. In 1999, a horrific storm destroyed a huge part of Minnesota's beautiful and beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. When I saw the destruction first-hand, I was stunned and saddened, and I knew that someday I would write about that kind of tragedy. In thinking about Northwest Angle, a book I envisioned as thrilleresque in many ways, I wanted the story to open with the force of a bomb exploding, something that would shatter the O'Connor family and fling them apart. The derecho, an idea planted more than a decade earlier, became the way.

LL: You write so well about nature. I can't help wondering at the special challenges that it poses. And you seem particularly interested in humans' conflicting needs for community and isolation, family and privacy. How did you combine these themes in Northwest Angle?

WK: Oh my, you do ask complex questions. For me, the most intriguing part of any story is the battle between the need we have as human beings for relationship and the forces that inevitably work to separate us. At the heart of Northwest Angle, is the struggle of the O'Connors to come together and heal after a great tragedy in their lives. But that very personal story is couched within the context of a brutal, ideological clash of communities. It seems to me stories of suspense work best when they create conflict at both an intimate level and on a larger scale. It’s also more fun to write that kind of story, at least for me. Your own novels, particularly your stand-alones, seem to me to be textbook examples of the dramatic tension that comes when the secrets of our private, intimate lives are cracked open for public scrutiny.

LL: It's easy to see how Cork has changed over the course of eleven books. But how have you changed as a writer? And how have the circumstances of your life changed your writing?

WK: Mostly I've grown older and, I would like to believe, wiser. Like Cork, I've become a grandfather, and that's mellowed me, I'm sure. Although my stories are still about the violence that human beings do to one another, I'm less interested in the violence itself. These days, I tend to deal more with the questions that surround an act of violence rather than the act per se. And generally speaking, the body count in each book has gone down.

LL: Northwest Angle works pretty seamlessly on the page, but my intuition tells me that means it wasn't an easy book to write. What were the unique challenges, if any, in writing this particular book? Did you ever feel you were as lost as Cork and Jenny? (Please say yes, or I might have to hate you a little.)

WK: At the risk of drawing your ire, the part of the story that deals with Cork and Jenny's struggle to escape the dark forces pitted against them came easily. That was all mostly movement and plot mechanics. The conflict between father and daughter that gives the story much of its punch, now that was the tricky element. And if you hate me just a little for this answer, I'll buy you a glass of wine when I see you next, just to mellow you out.

LL: I know a lot of people don't realize that genre writers are often deep into the next project when a new book is published. What's next for you?

WK: I'm at work on the next book in the series, a novel tentatively titled Trickster's Point. The down and dirty is that the first Native American governor of Minnesota is murdered while bow hunting with Cork O'Connor, and the arrow that kills him belongs to Cork. So you know, of course, who gets the blame. You might think of it as Cork O'Connor meets All the King's Men. I’m having a ball writing this one.

LL: OK, I have a famously awful memory, but my memory is that you won the Anthony for best first novel in 1999 and promptly declared something like "I'm so excited I could throw up." Am I even close? Should I not tell that story?

WK: If I'd actually said I might throw up, this would not be a story I'd like repeated. What I really said in accepting the award was this: "Would it be too embarrassing if I broke down and cried?" Got a good laugh, though I was half serious.


Amazon Exclusive: Letter from William Kent Krueger

A couple of years ago, when Atria informed me that they were going to begin publishing my work in trade paperback with a whole new look to the series, I decided it was time to do something I'd never done before: I reread all my Cork O'Connor novels. I anticipated that in the early work I would see lots of elements that, given a chance, I'd gladly change. To my utter amazement, I fell in love with the stories all over again. What I discovered was a writer whose work I deeply enjoyed reading. And, honestly, I didn't think twice about changes I might like to make. Maybe what I appreciated most was seeing for myself how, though built of similar elements, each book was so different from the others. What I've hoped most to accomplish over the course of the series is to keep readers from feeling as if they're treading ground that’s become drably familiar. I believe absolutely that so long as I continue to be surprised and delighted by the stories that come to me, readers will be, too.


Profile of Cork O'Connor

The great North Woods of Minnesota is a vast area of harsh weather, deep wilderness, and bitter conflict. This rugged and isolated landscape is home to Cork O'Connor. The former sheriff of Tamarack County, Cork is a man of tremendous resource and mixed heritage. Part Irish-American and part Ojibwe, he straddles two cultures that, more often than not, are at extreme—sometimes violent—odds. He’s a family man who’d rather toss a football with his son than tote a gun; but he understands only too well that he lives in a place where winter isn't the only thing that can kill the unwary, where wolves share the woods with predators who walk on two legs, and where, in order to protect those he loves, even a good man must be willing to do the unthinkable.

For more on the Cork O'Connor series, read Margaret Coel's guest review of Vermilion Drift.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Bibliographic Details

Title: Northwest Angle (Thorndike Reviewers' Choice...
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Publication Date: 2012
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: Lrg.

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