Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger | Book Review

Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger
Series: Cork O'Connor
Publication Date: August 20, 2013

Book Description

Violence and murder blow into Minnesota’s sleepy Tamarack County as ex-sheriff Cork O’Connor returns in the latest installment of William Kent Krueger’s New York Times bestselling series.

As a blizzard swells just days before Christmas, the car belonging to the wife of a retired local judge is discovered abandoned on a rural road in Tamarack County. After days of fruitless effort, the search-and-rescue team has little hope that she’ll be found alive, if at all. Cork O’Connor, former sheriff and now private investigator, is part of that team.

Early on, Cork notices small things about the woman’s disappearance that disturb him. But when the beloved pet dog of a friend is brutally killed and beheaded, he begins to see a startling pattern in these and other recent dark occurrences in the area. After his own son comes close to peril, Cork understands that someone is spinning a deadly web in Tamarack County. At the center is a murder more than twenty years old, for which an innocent man may have been convicted. Cork remembers the case only too well. He was the deputy in charge of the investigation that sent the man to prison.

With the darkest days of the year at hand, the storms of winter continue to isolate Tamarack County. Somewhere behind the blind of all that darkness and drifting snow, a vengeful force is at work. And Cork has only hours to stop it before his family and his friends pay the ultimate price for the sins of others.

With complex plot twists, rich characters, and a vivid setting, Tamarack County is a relentlessly fast-paced novel that will chill, thrill, and shock you.


Earlier this year I read William Kent Krueger's Ordinary Grace. It was the first book I had read by Krueger so I was anxious to get my hands on another one of his books. Tamarack County is Krueger's latest release, and it's part of his Cork O'Connor series.

Overall I'd have to say this was a middle of the road book for me. Some of it was from coming into the series late, but some of it wasn't.

Like most adult mystery series books, the main story of Tamarack County is stand alone. I didn't need to have read any other Cork O'Connor books to enjoy the plot or the mystery aspect of Tamarack County. I did feel like I was missing out on the back stories of Cork's family and his love interest, though. There was also some Native American culture I can only assume was explained in previous books. That being said, someone who has read all of the series thus far will probably appreciate not having it rehashed for them. I could also probably read the next book in the series now with less issue.

Now for the part that had nothing to do with it being a series book. Even though Tamarack County kept me engaged as a reader, there were times I felt like I was being told about the good the stuff after the fact instead of experiencing all of the action myself. I also think some things were supposed to shock me, but they either fell flat or I simply saw them coming.

This isn't to say I didn't enjoy Tamarack County because I did. There is a quality to Krueger's writing that I really enjoy. I may even go back and start this series at the beginning. I have no doubt folks who have been reading the Cork O'Connor series will enjoy this installment; I just wish I had started out earlier in the series.

5/10: Decent Read

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. Ordinary Grace looked good, but it's not a part of this series? Might have to check that one out. This is why I always worry about starting in the middle of a series. You never know what you might miss! lol Great review though. :)

    1. Nope, Ordinary Grace is just a nice stand alone novel. I think of books like Pendergast and Jack Reacher and I think they can be read out of order without it having much affect on the experience. I could be totally biased, though, because I actually read those books in order. I don't claim to know what I'm doing. LOL. Thanks, Bonnie!

  2. I have read several of his books, the Cork O'Connor series. Ordinary Grace is a stand-alone as are maybe 2 others--all the rest are part of his long-running series. I think it is hard coming in as a new reader to his series, as character development of his family and friends happens slowly over the course of the books and might make for confusion. Every story he writes concerns the Native American rez that is next to his town. I loved reading several (out of order) books of his, then I got burned out by the similarity in plots. These are never fast-moving exciting books, more like character studies and description with a murder twist. However I do enjoy it occasionally, and have this on my wishlist.

    1. Thanks so much for the info, Rita! I appreciate that. I may need to keep my eye out for his stand alones.


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