This is Krueger's latest in the mystery series featuring Sheriff Cork O'Connor, a man with both Irish and Ojibwe heritage. It's entertaining for the storytelling and fascinating for the cultural complexity. The series features Cork as a law man with Indigenous family and friends, as well as a white Irish police lineage going back to Chicago city cops. This entry is special, because we meet Cork at the beginning, as a 12-year-old boy whose father Liam is the Sheriff of a county including Minnesota Boundary Waters and the Iron Lake Reservation. Cork and his friend find a haunting scene in a sacred place called Lightning Strike. It’s the body of a respected Ojibwe man who is a family friend. Is there a killer out there, or did he take his own life? Krueger does two things extremely well here. The first is developing a political and cultural context to show the impact of the 1956 Indian Relocation Act on indigenous people and communities, after the law encouraged them to move off reservations and into large cities. The second, as he also did in his stand alone novel This Tender Land, is creating great characters who face tough social stress. The children in both books are extraordinary. Cork is a kid with heart, relentless curiosity, and the knack for investigation skills that he’ll need as a Sheriff throughout the series. I enjoyed every last minute!— Tim McCarthy
Update! Our event with William Kent Krueger is now a virtual joint event with Books & Company. New date and time is Thursday, September 2, 7 pm Central Time. Please register for this event at kruegermke.eventbrite.com and you will receive a Zoom webinar link.— Boswell Book Company
September 2021 Indie Next List
“In this prequel set in 1963, we meet 12-year-old Cork’s family as his father investigates a murder. Even as Cork believes he will never be a cop, we can see Cork’s inevitable future as an investigator.”
— Carol Blizzard Dunn, Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI
The author of the instant New York Times bestseller This Tender Land returns with a powerful prequel to his acclaimed Cork O’Connor series—a book about fathers and sons, long-simmering conflicts in a small Minnesota town, and the events that echo through youth and shape our lives forever.
Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to twelve-year-old Cork O’Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself.
Cork’s father, Liam O’Connor, is Aurora’s sheriff and it is his job to confirm that the man’s death was the result of suicide, as all the evidence suggests. In the shadow of his father’s official investigation, Cork begins to look for answers on his own. Together, father and son face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them is true and what their hearts know is right.
In this masterful story of a young man and a town on the cusp of change, beloved novelist William Kent Krueger shows that some mysteries can be solved even as others surpass our understanding.
About the Author
William Kent Krueger is the New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land, Ordinary Grace (winner of the Edgar Award for best novel), as well as eighteen acclaimed books in the Cork O’Connor mystery series, including Desolation Mountain and Sulfur Springs. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family. Learn more at WilliamKentKrueger.com.
“Lightning Strike explores the tender relationship between father and son. It is written with grace and understanding. It is a stunning novel that will captivate readers even if they’ve never read a Cork O’Connor mystery.” —Denver Post
"William Kent Krueger is a master storyteller at the top of his game with Lightning Strike. A pitch perfect, richly imagined story that is both an edge-of-your-seat thriller and an evocative, emotionally-charged coming of age tale that explores the complex bonds between fathers and sons and the long simmering animosities of the past. This is a beautifully written novel that packs a powerful punch. I loved it." —Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Four Winds
“Marvelous. I’ve long been a fan of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series, and this essential novel allows us to witness how young Cork developed and matured. Not just a story of fathers and sons, it’s also a tale of Natives and settlers and how laws such as the Indian Relocation Act influenced both…A gripping, heartbreaking tale with beautiful writing, vividly drawn characters, and a story you won’t be able to put down." —David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Edgar and Anthony Award-nominated author of Winter Counts
"Lightning Strike is a brilliantly plotted, deeply emotional mystery that opens strong, building more intensity with each passing page. This is William Kent Krueger at his best, and the perfect spot for new readers to enter the series." —The Real Book Spy
"Poignant, powerful, and mesmerizing… Krueger skillfully blends big, suspenseful moments with quiet, keenly observed insights into human nature. This novel is rich with wisdom about right and wrong, choice and change, fathers and sons, and the ways in which loss can shape us as profoundly as love." —Amazon Book Review
"A brilliant achievement, and one every crime reader and writer needs to celebrate." —Louise Penny, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Madess of Crowds
“There’s a feel that you get from a master craftsman, a saddle that sits right, a fly rod that casts with its own agility, or a series of books written with a grace and precision so stunning that you’d swear the stories were your own.” —Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire series
“Among thoughtful readers, William Kent Krueger holds a very special place in the pantheon. Kent showed the mystery reading world that a protagonist need not be a chain-smoking loner with lots of emotional baggage but he could be an honest and admirable family man doing his best for all the right reasons.” — C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Krueger’s gift is to illustrate the dynamics of history and culture through up-close-and-personal stories.” —The New York Journal of Books
“This sensitive, moving prequel introduces and draws readers into the series. Krueger has written another perceptive coming-of-age novel, the poignant story of a father and son trying to understand each other.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Krueger winds back time, literally and symbolically . . . with . . . suspenseful measured pacing, his accomplished prose and his carefully crafted plot.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune