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William Kent Kreuger's Latest Cork O'conner Mystery Leads Readers Deep Into the Boundary Waters

William Kent Krueger author photo
Paul Dinndorf
William Kent Krueger's latest Cork O'connor mystery is the 19th installment in the series

KAXE/KBXE Morning Show host and good-yarn lover, Heidi Holtan spoke with Minnesota writer, William Kent Krueger about the 19th book in his Cork O'Connor mystery series. Hear the excitement in Heidi's voice as Krueger describes where readers will find Cork as Fox Creek begins.

"Well, Cork is getting on in years," Krueger teases as he sets the scene of Fox Creek. "He's about 55 now and he's flipping burgers and occasionally taking on an assignment as PI."

From there, the story begins to reveal itself to readers as a man who is not quite who he says he is, approaches Cork with a PI case that Cork takes on.

But while Cork is the protagonist in Fox Creek, he is not always the center of the story. More so, Krueger uses the pages of Fox Creek to tell the story that has surely been vexing lovers of Crow Point since the last Cork O'Conner installment, Desolation Mountain: What to make of the the visions that showed Henry Meloux's death.

Here's how Krueger explained the events that take place in Fox Creek. "A stranger has come to Crow Point seeking the help of Henry Meloux and also Rainey Bissonette, his great niece, Cork's Wife, both of whom are healers. Although she doesn't know it, she's being followed by a group of ruthless mercenaries who believe she possesses information important to people in high places. In order to evade these merciless men, Henry needs to lead these two women deep in to the Boundary Waters where he uses all his wiles to stay one step ahead of these ruthless men. When Cork understands this situation he leaps into pursuit but darkness descends as well as a late winter snowstorm that blocks his way. And in the darkest hours of Cork's life, he's deathly afraid he won't be able to save the people he loves."

"But really the question at the heart of the story is this: Will this be Henry Meloux's final journey into the beloved wilderness he has called home for more than a century?"

Along with lots of talk about Fox Creek, Krueger and Heidi get to talking about the different features of the entire Cork O'Connor series. Listen to the full interview to hear more about Kueger's craft of writing, how and why he includes Ojibwe language and culture in his stories, and why people turned to reading mysteries during the pandemic.

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.