THE BOOKWORM: New Cork O’Connor mystery provides a nice change

“Heaven’s Keep” by William Kent Krueger, c. 2009, Atria Books, $25.00, 336 pages.

Pucker up. Gimme a hug. I love you.

What do you do when you say goodbye to a friend or loved one, even for a few hours? Do you exchange a quick kiss, knowing that you’ll be together again shortly? Do you bump foreheads, knuckles or shoulders as a warm way of farewell? Or do you say “g’bye” and leave without a thought or a look behind?

Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor will forever regret what happened when his wife, Jo, left. In the new book “Heaven’s Keep” by William Kent Krueger, he wishes he could take it all back.

A hundred times a week, O’Connor imagines what her last day on Earth was like. Jo was on her way to a conference in Seattle, her briefcase full of recommendations on government oversight for Indian gaming casinos. She was flying there with friends and new acquaintances. And Cork hoped she wasn’t still angry with him in the aftermath of an argument.

He would always wonder.

The plane went down in a snowstorm over the Wyoming Rockies, an area filled with gullies and peaks, arroyos and canyons. Local police thought they knew where the plane had gone down, but long searches indicated no trace of it anywhere. They’d have to wait until the snow melted and search again.

Cork mourned and postulated, but never forgot for a minute. In the meantime, he did his best to raise his 13-year-old son Stephen, who was fast becoming a man. He became a go-between for the wives who lost their husbands in the plane crash that also took Jo. And he forged a strong friendship with the man whose company started the argument Cork had with Jo all those months ago.

But as winter turned to spring back in Minnesota, Cork had two unlikely visitors: the widow of the plane’s pilot and her lawyer-friend came to Cork with strong suspicions. Becca Bodine was sure her husband wasn’t behind the plane’s controls. He wasn’t the cause of the crash.

If Bodine wasn’t flying the plane, who was? Were the Wyoming police and the Arapaho hiding something – or someone? And who – in two states – wanted Cork to stop looking?

Sometimes, when you get hold of a good mystery, it’s natural to think you’ve got it solved before the killer is revealed.

You can forget all about that here.

Krueger doesn’t insult his readers with early transparency, which makes “Heaven’s Keep” a good, solid novel. Stepping from his usual setting of Way North Minnesota and into Way Remote Wyoming is new ground for Krueger and it’s a nice, satisfying stretch. Fans of past Cork O’Connor novels will be happy to see many old friends in these pages and readers unfamiliar with the series will find a new favorite author.

If you’re used to ho-hum mysteries that reveal too much, too soon, and you’re tired of knowing by mid-book whodunit, you’ll find something very different (and very pleasant) here. Pick up “Heaven’s Keep” and happily kiss a few evenings goodbye.

More in Life

Library’s art and writing contest returns to Pierce County | Pierce County Library System

Pierce County teens are encouraged to express themselves through writing, painting, drawing and more for the annual Our Own Expressions competition, hosted by the Pierce County Library System.

‘School of Awake’ offers advice to adolescent girls

Twinkle, twinkle. For as long as you can remember, you’ve known how… Continue reading

Mental health first aid training in Enumclaw | The Summit

Friday, January 19 at 7 p.m., Dr. Michelle Bengtson will kick off the mental health-themed weekend by speaking on Hope for Depression: The World’s Greatest Epidemic. Dr. Bengtson is the author of the award winning “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression.”

Print 3-D creations at Pierce County Library System

Bring a ready-to-print file and watch the magic of 3-D printing bring the file to life at Pierce County Library System’s 3-D Print Shop. The free print shop sessions are offered January through March at Pierce County Libraries, giving people the opportunity to use the 3-D printers to create items, get quick design lessons, and learn the 3-D printing process.

The past is the past, a review of ‘Robicheaux’

You don’t want to talk about it. You’ve been through rough times,… Continue reading

What would MLK do? A review on ‘Dear Martin’

What if your entire future was mapped out for you? All you’d… Continue reading

Santa Patrol ready to roll in Enumclaw, Buckley

With the holiday season in full swing, fire departments are preparing for their annual Santa Patrols that spread cheer throughout Enumclaw and Buckley.

Blaine Larsen returns home for Dec. 2 concert

Blaine Larsen doesn’t perform much these days, instead spending his waking hours pursuing a higher calling.

Get your fill of winter activities on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier’s landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation in winter.

Enumclaw, Buckley busy during the holidays

What’s going on during the holiday season on the Plateau? Here’s a list of activities you and your family may enjoy!

Bonney Lake, Sumner gear up for holiday festivities

Plateau holiday festivities are right around the corner.

Giving Trees help kids with Christmas

Nexus Youth And Families Enumclaw is asking local residents to help a child in need this Christmas by participating in the organization’s Giving Tree program.