The murder of a rising political star who just happens to be one of his oldest friends lands Minnesota private eye Corcoran O’Connor in the hot seat.
Even though he wanted to go for help, Cork agreed to sit with Jubal Little for three hours after their backwoods deer hunt was cut short when his old schoolmate was shot by an arrow that closely resembled the arrows Cork made for himself. He listened to Jubal ramble about his romance with their mutual friend Winona Crane, his foreshortened run for the Senate and the mysterious Rhiannon, whose fate was “the worst sin of all.” Now all of Cork’s friends and former colleagues in the Tamarack County sheriff’s office suspect Cork of shooting Jubal. Even Jubal assumed that Cork had fired the fatal arrow. Determined to clear himself, Cork makes the rounds of alternative suspects—Jubal’s politically connected widow, Camilla, and her family, Ojibwe activist Isaiah Broom, logger Buzz Bigby, whose bullying son, Donner, met a bad end after one last run-in with Jubal many years ago—with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop, though he can’t catch eternal wild-child Winona, who’s taken a powder once again. More revealingly, Krueger interleaves the present-day story with a series of flashbacks that trace the winding steps in Cork’s relationship with his old friend, whose charm, warmth, wide range of skills and iron ambition made him easy to like but hard to love. The climactic revelations, if they aren’t exactly surprising, are as logical as they are poignant.
Krueger’s 12th (Northwest Angle, 2011, etc.) is alternately muscular and tender, and maybe a tad synthetic—middling for this fine series.