Lightning Strike

William Kent Krueger. Atria, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-1-9821-2868-5

At the start of bestseller Krueger’s suspenseful 18th mystery, a prequel, featuring former sheriff turned PI Cork O’Connor (after 2018’s Desolation Mountain), 12-year-old Cork, who’s one-quarter Ojibwe, makes a horrifying discovery while hiking one day in 1963 in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest—the hanged corpse of Big John Manydeeds, the uncle of a friend of Cork’s from the Iron Lake Reservation. With no signs of foul play, the death is quickly ruled a suicide, especially after evidence is found that Big John, a recovering alcoholic, had fallen off the wagon. Cork’s father, the Tamarack County sheriff, adopts that conclusion, but Cork isn’t so sure, especially after seeing an apparition he believes might be the dead man’s troubled spirit at the place where Big John died. He investigates, ultimately convincing his father that the case may be a homicide and that it’s reasonable to look into those with a possible murder motive. Krueger makes the youthful version of his lead plausible, as well as his detective abilities. Longtime fans will relish Cork’s rich backstory. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Brown & Miller Literary Assoc. (Aug.)
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