Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor Series #1) (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor Series #1) (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

by William Kent Krueger


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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. William Kent Krueger joined the ranks of today's best suspense novelists with this thrilling, universally acclaimed debut. Conjuring "a sense of place he's plainly honed firsthand in below-zero prairie" (Kirkus Revie

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780613494397
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Publication date: 06/01/1999
Series: Cork O'Connor Series , #1
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: (w) x 7.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of nine Cork O'Connor novels, including Thunder Bay and Red Knife. All are available from Atria Books. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family. Visit his website at

Read an Excerpt


FOR A WEEK THE FEELING had been with him, and all week long young Paul LeBeau had been afraid. Of what exactly, he couldn't say. Whenever he tried to put the finger of his thinking on it, it slipped away like a drop of mercury. But he knew that whatever was coming would be bad, because the feeling was exactly like the terrible waiting had been before his father disappeared. Each day he reached out into the air with all his senses, trying to touch what was coming. So that finally, on that morning in mid-December when the clouds rolled in thick and gray as smoke and the wind screamed over the pines and tamaracks and the snow began falling hard, Paul LeBeau looked out the window of his algebra class and thought hopefully, Maybe it's only this.

Shortly after lunch, word of the school closing came down. Students quickly put on their coats and shouldered their book bags, and a few minutes later the yellow buses began to pull away, heading onto roads that threatened to disappear before them.

Paul left the Aurora Middle School and walked home, pushing into the force of the storm the whole way. He changed his clothes, put on his Sorel boots, took five dollars from the small cashbox on his dresser, and left his mother a note affixed with a butterfly magnet to the refrigerator door. Grabbing his canvas newspaper bag from its hook in the garage, he headed toward his drop box. By twothirty he was loaded up and ready to go.

Paul had two paper routes covering nearly two and a half miles. He began with the small business district of Aurora and ended just at the town limits out on North Point Road. At fourteen, he was larger than most boys his age and verystrong. If he hustled, he could finish in just under an hour and a half. But he knew this day would be different. The snow had been accumulating at a rate of more than an inch per hour and the bitter wind that swept down out of Canada drifted it fast and deep.

He took the routes in the time when his father was drinking heavily and his mother needed money. Delivering the papers, especially on days like this that seemed impossible, was a responsibility he took seriously. In truth, he loved the storms. The energy in the wind and the ceaseless force of the drifting snow thrilled him. Where another boy might see only the plodding task ahead of him, Paul saw challenge. He took pride in his ability to battle against these elements, trudging through the drifts, leaning hard into the wind in order to complete the job expected of him.

He was an Eagle Scout. Order of the Arrow. Member of Troop 135 out of St. Agnes Catholic Church. He had made himself capable in a hundred ways. He could start a fire with flint and steel; hit a bull's-eye with a target arrow at thirty yards; tie a bowline, a sheepshank, a slip knot; lash together a bridge strong enough to bear the weight of several men. He knew how to treat someone for shock, drowning, cardiac arrest, and sunstroke. He believed seriously in the motto "Be Prepared," and often as he walked his paper routes, he imagined scenarios of disaster in Aurora that would allow all his secret skills to shine.

By the time he neared the end of his deliveries, lights had been turned on in the houses along the way. He was tired. His shoulders ached from the weight of the papers and his legs felt leaden from wading through knee-deep drifts. The last house on his route stood at the very end of North Point Road, a pine-covered finger of land that jutted into Iron Lake and was lined with expensive homes. The last and most isolated of the houses belonged to Judge Robert Parrant.

The judge was an old man with a hard white face, bony hands, and sharp, watchful eyes. Out of fear Paul treated him with great deference. The judge's paper was always placed securely between the storm door and the heavy wooden front door, safe from the elements. Whenever Paul came monthly to collect for his service, the judge rewarded him with a generous tip and more stories about politics than Paul cared to hear.

The judge's house was almost dark, with only the flicker of a fireplace flame illuminating the living room curtains. With the last paper in hand, Paul threaded his way up the long walk between cedars laden with snow. He pulled the storm door open, plowing a little arc in the drift on the porch, and saw that the front door was slightly ajar. Cold air whistled into the house. As he reached out to draw the door closed, he heard the explosion from a heavy firearm discharged inside.

He edged the door back open. "Judge Parrant?" he called. "Are you all right?" He hesitated a moment, then stepped in.

Paul had been inside many times before at the judge's request. He always hated it. The house was a vast two-story affair built of Minnesota sandstone. The interior walls were dark oak, the windows leaded glass. A huge stone fireplace dominated the living room, and the walls there were hung with hunting trophies — the heads of deer and antelope and bear whose sightless eyes seemed to follow Paul whenever the judge asked him in.

The house smelled of applewood smoke. The sudden pop of sap from a log burning in the fireplace made him jump.

"Judge Parrant?" he tried again.

He knew he should probably just leave and close the door behind him. But there had been the shot, and now he felt something in the stillness of the house from which he couldn't turn, a kind of responsibility. As he stood with the door wide open at his back and the wind blowing through, he glanced down and watched tendrils of snow creep across the bare, polished floor and vine around his boots like something alive. He knew that a terrible thing had happened. He knew it absolutely.

He might still have turned away and run if he hadn't seen the blood. It was a dark glistening on the polished hardwood floor at the bottom of the staircase. He walked slowly ahead, knelt, touched the small dark puddle with his fingertips, confirmed the color of it by the firelight. There was a bloody trail leading down the hallway to his left.

Pictures from the manual for his First Aid merit badge that showed arterial bleeding and how to apply direct pressure or a tourniquet came to his mind. He'd practiced these procedures a hundred times, but never really believing that he'd ever use them. He found himself hoping desperately the judge wasn't badly hurt, and he panicked just a little at the thought that he might actually have to save a life.

The blood led him to a closed door where a dim light crept underneath.

"Judge Parrant?" he said cautiously, leaning close to the door.

He was reluctant to barge in, but when he finally turned the knob and stood in the threshold, he found a study lined with shelves of books. Along the far wall was a desk of dark wood with a lamp on it. The lamp was switched on but didn't give much light and the room was heavy with shadows. On the wall directly back of the desk hung a map of Minnesota. Red lines like red rivers ran down the map from red splashes like red lakes. Behind the desk lay an overturned chair, and near the chair lay the judge.

Although fear reached way down inside him and made his legs go weak, he forced himself to move ahead. As he neared the desk and saw the judge more clearly, he forgot all about the procedures for a tourniquet. There was nowhere to put a tourniquet on a man who was missing most of his head.

For a moment he couldn't move. He felt paralyzed, unable to think as he stared down at the raw pieces of the judge's brain, pink as chunks of fresh watermelon. Paul didn't even move when he heard the sound at his back, the soft shutting of the door. Finally he managed to turn away from the dead man just in time to see the second thing that night his Scout training could never have prepared him for.

Copyright © 1998 by William Kent Krueger

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Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 743 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Iron Lake is the first book in the Cork O' Conner series; and is a mystery and suspense book all in one. First the author starts the book off with a childhood story about Cork and what fate 'Windigo'(an Indian term for something awful) gives you if you experience it. Then Krueger brings you into a story about a judge who commits suicide, but you will eventually find out he was murdered. Then, Krueger goes into many chapters just describing the lives of his characters and how they relate to one another. The author likes to lead the reader on so they will keep reading. He then ends with an explosive ending you could never perceive. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did. It's amazing.
katMN More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book that could not be put down. Cork ia an awesome character that keeps you on edge, you never really know what he might do next. I can hardly wait to read the next book. This book and author is simply amazing and I would recommend it to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters are so real you feel like you get to know them!
JUSTme54LS More than 1 year ago
Too much vulgar language and explicit sex for my taste. I will not be purchasing another book by this author. He ruined a good plot with the distracting language. Certainly not in the same league with John Grisham or David Baldacci!
Donna_L More than 1 year ago
I was into this book from the first chapter. Well written, well developed characters. I would read the whole series, but I am shocked at the prices for ebooks in comparison to the printed copies. I'm almost tempted to go back to the printed version.
evanescenceSE More than 1 year ago
this is a good start to a promising story. I can't wait to read the next
bearpawsminn More than 1 year ago
Having lived in MN these settings remind me of home. I was just introduced to this author and enjoying it very much...I was surprised that I would find another author with great mysteries written with Minnesota as the background settings and police attitudes as John Sanford Both authors are excellent reads
pandapoo701 More than 1 year ago
Just started reading books by this author and really enjoyed this series of books. I like to read this type of book and always enjoy finding a new author to read.
lindaAL More than 1 year ago
If you like American Indian history, this is the book for you. It was a decent read, but I don't really like alot of historical mixed in with my mysteries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the story.Cork is a real person, guilty of his share of mistakes but a man who obviously loves his family. The seperation was his wifes idea the reasons for will be apparent as you get further into the story. The only exception I have is the authors handling of the character of Jo who is Cork's wife. She is a hypocrite who takes an active role in her church at same time betraying Cork as she breaks a major commandent of the church. In the dialouge between Jo and Cork she is never taken to task for her decption. As a matter of fact she seems to put Cork on the defensive regarding her betrayal. That said I would still reccomend this book.
SlapShot62 More than 1 year ago
Mystery, suspense, great imagery, deep characters, sharp twists/turns - this first effort in the Cork O'Connor series has it all.   Not only is this a great novel, but one can see where Krueger is laying the foundation for future installments, primarily through character development.   O'Connor is an everyman kind of good guy - flawed, yet tough and determined.    Somewhat similar to the Longmire character of Craig Johnson - so if you like those books, rush to start reading these as well.   No doubt I'll continue with this series in the very near future.   
BerylSBissell More than 1 year ago
Consistently finding piles of William Kent Krueger’s mysteries in local bookstore, I decided that it was about time I discovered what the fuss was about. Start with his first book, I was advised and thus I met Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor, former sheriff of Aurora Minnesota as he negotiates (on his own) the devious world of small town politics and a brutal murder that will uncover conspiracy, corruption, and scandal that “hits painfully close to home.” A well-written and gripping Minnesota-based mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
REALLY LIKED! gooood characters and mystery Gets a little spread out and diluted... there is alot going on... but I would def recommend it
Preymaster More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ive read in a while! Cant wait to delve deeper into the series.
pagemage More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book. Crime mystery is not really my genre, but this is great! I plan to get Northwest Angle by this author next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutly loved it and i want to read the boundary waters the sequel.
kamas716 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful introduction to this series. It reminds me a lot of Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn series, only set in northern Minnesota instead of the 4 corners area of the southwest. I highly recommend this entire series to people looking for some great mystery books.
THANKYOUSUSIE More than 1 year ago
I loved how the author wrote about the characters and how they all fit together. It was interesting and relatable. Good story keeps me wanting more and more of Cork O' Conner ( the main character). I appreciate that there was no blatant sexual content and very very few swear words. Keep up the good work
Debbie Personette More than 1 year ago
Can not put down for sure will next books
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
William Kent Krueger’s first offering in the Cork O’Connor series is a good one. The author crafts an entire world in the small town of Aurora, Minnesota. With Native Americans, local white, and those stuck in the middle of those separate factions. The mysteries and crimes abound and you will not be able to figure all of them out ahead of time as the author does a great job of making the outcomes believable but unexpected. O’Connor, the main character, is really interesting but slightly hokey at times. Overall, the book was really good and I look forward to reading more in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author created a beautiful mystery set against the cold winter and the warm Christmas holiday. The characters and plot were well-devised. Overall, a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the character in the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just looking for something new and came across the Cork O'Connor series andcouldn't stop. Having now read the whole series, Iron Lake set the stage for a really enjoyables series. O'Connor is a great character, and I've learned a lot about Northern Minnesota that I didn't know about. Couldn't put this one down, couldn't put any of them down !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book about the Minnesota northern woods. He brings in the Indian culture like Tony Hillerman does, though not as effectively. I noticed he doesn't mention the mosquitos, which are a serious menace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading this first book in the Cork O'Conner series I'm hooked. William Kent Krueger is an exciting writer and I can't wait to start the next book.