Monday, September 26, 2016

Manitou Canyon by William Kent Krueger

First Sentence:  In the gray of early afternoon, the canoes drew up to the shoreline of the island.
Two years ago, John Harris disappeared at while fishing with his son and daughter.  Although an exhaustive search was done, of which PI Cork O’Connor was a part, nothing was found.  Now Harris’ children are back, claiming the grown son had a vision which involved Cork’s son Stephen, and want Cork to help them search again.  In spite of it being only days before Cork’s daughter’s wedding, he agrees, and Cork and the daughter head into the Boundary Waters where they encounter danger that risks not only their lives, but the lives of countless others.
No prologue here.  Instead, we have an opening that extremely effective, and very worrying, before switching to introducing Cork, and explaining why the month of November is one which Cork dreads—“She knew his history with that month…”Ghosts,” she said.  “You need to let them go.” 
Krueger has established a wonderful community of characters which includes Henry Meloux who brings an element of wisdom and a strong metaphysical aspect into the story—“The heart knows much that the head ignores.  If we pay attention, our hearts speak to us.  Stephen O’Connor as always listened.”—as well as a look into the culture of the Objibwe Indians.  The use of the native language, followed by translations, adds realism and is very effective.  Cork’s sister-in-law, being Catholic, does bring an aspect of religion to the story, but it doesn’t overwhelm the plot, nor become too preachy but is simply an aspect of the character.
The action is split between locations, which heightens the tension and suspense as well as the sense of threat.  There are several, well-placed and very effective plot twists.  The climax is exciting, even though the logic of it working seemed improbable.  However, it is, in many ways, a very spiritual book which causes one to stop and consider.
Manitou Canyon” is an exciting, engrossing story with excellent characters, and a wonderful ending.  

MANITOU CANYON (Pol Proc-Cork O’Connor-Minnesota-Cont) – VG+
      Krueger, William Kent – 15th in series
      Atria Books – Sept 2016

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