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

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 6:40pm
  • Life

Review by Terri Schlichenmeyer

“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

Levy money to aid senior programs in Enumclaw, Black Diamond | King County

By 2040, more than a quarter of King County’s population will be seniors. Healthy lifestyles and social engagement are keys to living long and living well.

Program designed for families dealing with mental illness | Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation

The classes will focus on several different kinds of mental illnesses and the skills necessary to handle crisis situations, how to listen and communicate, and self-care for dealing with worry and stress.

Activities Program boasts big numbers, variety

The White River Communities Activities Program has activities for students in kindergarten through fifth grade all year long.

County animal services visiting local neighborhoods | Regional Animal Services of King County

All cats and dogs eight weeks or older in the RASKC service area are required to be licensed with King County.

Water birthing on the Plateau

Water birth is popular abroad but not yet widely available in the U.S.

Caregiver film series focuses on relationship stress | Pierce County

At the age of 21 Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and continued his work with the support of his wife, Jane. She provided care as the disease progressed – both to their children and Steven. Over the years, his advancing care needs added stress that took a significant toll on their relationship.

Dive into the story of the average gig-employee

Your allowance was never enough, as a kid. Oh, sure, it bought… Continue reading

Proudly in defense of breastfeeding, in King County and everywhere | Public Health Insider

Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health—Seattle & King County, responded to the news that the United States government aggressively attempted to water down international support for breast-feeding through the World Health Organization.

My Favorite Martins

Steve Martin and Martin Short discuss bringing their two-man comedy extravaganza back to Seattle.

‘Bearskin’ is a thriller like no other

Sometimes, you just need to get away. Out of your element, far… Continue reading

Photos can represent good, bad memories

The picture reminds you of a thousand things. You recall the day… Continue reading