In Aurora, Minn., Cork O’Connor is the local sheriff, and he is so not being supported.
At first, the deal seems nothing more than a ho-hum domestic dispute—Lucy and Eli Tibodeau at it again. But since the call came in from the Iron Lake Reservation, Cork, part Ojibwe himself, decides to ride along with his deputy because things do go better Ojibwe to Ojibwe. Not this time, though. Bullets fly, Deputy Marsha Dross goes down, critically wounded, Cork escaping narrowly—an ambush, the 911 call an obvious fake, the Tibodeaus miles from home at the time. Investigation soon persuades the cops that, in the dark, the tall, broad-shouldered Marsha was mistaken for Cork, and now the question becomes: Who could possibly hate so valiant and virtuous a sheriff enough to resort to murder? Before Cork can come to grips with that, however, there’s a second bloody incident. Loathsome Eddie Jacoby is found dead, and suddenly, it’s a whole new ballgame. Arrogant, vulgar, a womanizer and a bully, Eddie was nevertheless the favorite son of his rich and powerful dad. From Chicago, the Jacobys descend en masse, bringing with them as a sort of hired gun ex-FBI hotshot Dina Winter. Grief-stricken but enraged, Lou Jacoby wants his son’s killer nailed, and he doesn’t trust any “hayseed with a badge” to get the job done, which is why Dina’s on hand. But why, exactly, is Ben Jacoby, Eddie’s not very adoring half brother, on hand? Cork doesn’t like the way Ben keeps eyeing Jo, Cork’s wife. Discovering that Ben and Jo knew each other—and knew each other well—when both were in law school, he likes it even less. And that’s just for starters.
It’s not plotting that keeps Krueger (Blood Hollow, 2004, etc.) a rank below the best suspensers, it’s the relentless probity of his Dudley Do-Right hero.