Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Heaven's Keep by William Kent Krueger

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Heaven's Keep by William Kent Krueger. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Heaven's Keep by William Kent Krueger

A Cork O'Connor Mystery

Atria (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-4165-5676-1 (1416556761)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5676-3 (9781416556763)
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $25.00

Review: Cork O'Connor faces a personal tragedy when the plane on which his wife is traveling is lost over the Rockies in Heaven's Keep, the ninth mystery in this series by William Kent Krueger.

Jo O'Connor is on a charter flight to Seattle to attend the National Conference of American Indians when the plane disappears during a snowstorm over Wyoming. Cork and his son Stephen fly to the region to assist in the search and recovery efforts but after six days, Cork is forced to admit she may be dead. "Come on, Stephen," he says, "It's time to go home." Several months later, however, the wife of the pilot of the charter flight and her attorney contact Cork with evidence that he may not have been flying the plane. But if not him, then who? Cork reluctantly agrees to investigate, returning to Wyoming where he finds himself in the middle of a political snowstorm involving Indian affairs, mineral rights, casinos on reservations, and the tantalizing possibility that his wife may still be alive.

Heaven's Keep takes about 130 pages to get started, but when it does, the story is captivating. The first part relates Cork's search for Jo, and while heartbreaking in parts, it runs on far too long. True, it provides a foundation for the second part of the book, introducing characters and locations, but it could have been tightened considerably. Once Cork gets into investigative mode, however, the drama and suspense increase markedly. Consider this passage just before Cork returns to Wyoming: "In the woods on either side, the darkness was intense. But he knew those woods and knew what there was in them to fear, and passing through empty-handed was no concern. The darkness ahead, however, all that lurked within it and that was unknown to him, this was something else. And he was afraid."

The plot takes a few welcome twists along the way, Cork is in fine form following the often confusing, sometimes inexplicable clues presented to him, and the book concludes in a poignant, but satisfying manner. Slow start notwithstanding, Heaven's Keep is a solid thriller and one worth reading.

Special thanks to Authors on the Web for providing a copy of Heaven's Keep for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): When a charter plane carrying Cork O'Connor's wife, Jo, goes missing in a snowstorm over the Wyoming Rockies, Cork must accept the terrible truth that his wife is gone forever. But is she? In Heaven's Keep, celebrated author William Kent Krueger puts his intrepid hero through the most harrowing mission of his life.

Months after the tragedy, two women show up on Cork's doorstep with evidence that the pilot of Jo's plane was not the man he claimed to be. It may not be definitive proof, but it's a ray of light in the darkness surrounding Cork's loss. Agreeing to investigate, he travels to Wyoming, where he battles the interference of local law enforcement who may be on the take, the open hostility of the Northern Arapaho, who have much to lose if the truth is known, and the continuing attempts on his life by assassins who shadow his every move.

At the center of all the danger and deception lies the possibility that Jo's disappearance was not the end of her, that somewhere along the labyrinthine path of his search, maybe even in the broad shadow of Heaven's Keep itself, Cork will find her alive and waiting for him.

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