“Cork didn’t believe anyone was purely and simply anything. All human beings, it seemed to him, were a collection of conflicting impulses stuffed into one skin, trying somehow to find peace. Death was certainly one way.”
William Kent Krueger’s Blood Hollow involves religion--murderous religion and healing religion.
Someone kills a teenaged girl who leaves a New Year’s Eve party on her snowmobile. She ends up unconscious in the snow as the murderer sits and watches her freeze to death. All the while, the murderer gorges on snacks and sandwiches.
Cork O'Connor’s wife Jo agrees to defend the prime suspect Solemn Winter Moon. Cork, the former Tamarack County, Minnesota, sheriff, will investigate the murder for the defense.
Solemn is the young woman’s ex-boyfriend. She broke up with him when she took up with another (perhaps married) man. The people of Tamarack County know Solemn as a troublemaker who broke into the local Catholic church, urinated in the baptismal font, and left angry graffiti.
But when Cork puts Solemn in touch with Henry Meloux, one of the Midewiwin, a member of the Grand Council of the Medicine Society of Ojibwe tribe, things change.
Solemn has a startling vision. He talks to Jesus. Though he ends up in jail awaiting charges, Solemn becomes known as a miracle worker, a healer. That reputation almost destroys him.
Solemn’s connection with Henry and his earlier time with the now dead Sam Winter Moon helped heal the young man.
Cork purses the killer, uncovers strange facts about the victim and her family, and struggles with his own painful feelings about the Roman Catholic church. He also uncovers an insane distortion of religion, a distortion that has led to serial murder.
As is often the case with the Cork O’Connor books, Blood Hollow has a tragic but fulfilling close.