Tuesday, July 18, 2017

MERCY FALLS by William Kent Krueger






William Kent Krueger’s Mercy Falls reminded me of the Louise Penny book where Gamache got the wrong guy. You had to read the next book to get the whole story.

Somehow I felt like Louise Penny had cheated, not played by the rules of the game.

Mercy Falls is one of those books where you have to read the next book to get the whole story. And I will read the next book, but not right now. I didn’t find Mercy Falls that compelling.

For one thing, Mercy Falls had too many repetitive events. Cork O'Connor had already gone into the Boundary Waters wilderness area searching for a missing woman. That was in the best book in the series so far, Boundary Waters. Cork’s family had already been put at risk in another book. Cork’s wife had found another attractive man in another book. This story seemed repetitive.

Mercy Falls is well written as always.  After a prologue which foreshadows “How It Ends,” Mercy Falls opens with someone trying to assassinate Tamarack County, Minnesota, Sheriff Cork O'Connor.

Instead, the assailant shoots and seriously wounds a young female deputy. Then someone kills and castrates a sleazy wheeler dealer from a rich family. The man came into the county representing a group that wants to make a deal to manage the Anishinaabe tribe’s  casino. He negotiates with Cork’s lawyer-wife Jo who represents the tribe.

Jo had had a prior love connection with the murdered man’s brother.

To further complicate things, the murdered man’s father vows to find the killer. He sends the book’s most interesting character ex-FBI agent Dina Winter to keep Cork’s investigation on the straight and narrow.

Then Cork and others go into the Boundary Waters wilderness to try to rescue a kidnapped woman. And from there, things go terribly wrong leading to a violent conclusion that takes us to the next book.

This is a short sketch of the first part of what is an action-filled book. The book’s interpersonal relationships and violent interactions are more complicated than my words imply. Even if I didn’t find this to be the best Cork O’Conner book, Mercy Falls kept me reading.

Mercy Falls won the 2006 Anthony Award.


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