In his fourth Cork O'Connor mystery (after 2001's Purgatory Ridge
), Krueger tells a chilling story with a warm heart. O'Connor, the prickly ex-sheriff of the small town of Aurora, Minn., finds himself in conflict with the new, politically motivated sheriff, Arne Soderberg, when Charlotte Kane, a beautiful but reckless teen, disappears on a drunken snowmobile ride during a New Year's Eve party. A Minnesota blizzard thwarts the search, and decidedly unspiritual O'Connor returns to civilization troubled by supernatural visions in the blinding snowfall. Kane's body doesn't surface until the spring thaw, and then questions about her death arise: the autopsy and evidence at the scene point to murder, and the most likely suspect is Solemn Winter Moon, her brooding, rebellious ex-boyfriend, a lothario from the Ojibwe reservation who has a bad reputation with the citizens of Aurora. Anti-Native prejudice gives way to spiritual controversy when Winter Moon turns himself in after claiming to have seen Christ while seeking a vision from Kitchimanidoo, the Great Spirit. Skeptical of Winter Moon's religious claims but determined to prove his innocence, O'Connor uncovers twisted family drama, frightening religious fervor and suspicious infidelities. Krueger skillfully crafts enough plot twists to keep everybody guessing through the bloody climax to the thrilling end. (Feb. 3)
Krueger's most recent novel is a political thriller
, Devil's Bed (2003).