Lightning Strike; William Kent Krueger
Atria Books - 2021
Lightning Strike is a story takes us back to 1963 when Cork O'Connor was a young boy of twelve. At the time his father Liam was the town sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. It's the summer when Cork with his friend Jorge are exploring the woods as Boy Scouts on a camping trip when they find the body of a man hanging from a tree near Lightning Strike. The dead man is one they recognize, Big John Manydeeds, the uncle of a friend, a man who had been struggling with alcohol addiction. At first glance it appears to be a suicide but, the Ojibwe people refuse believe this from Liam, a white man with Irish ancestry. Liam married a woman whose mother was an Ojibwe woman and he was always considered an outsider to members of the tribe. While Liam works on the investigation, young Cork begins a search for his own clues and his findings indicate that Big John's death may not be a suicide as originally believed.
This was a well crafted coming of age mystery with well developed characters and a number of supporting characters as well. I anticipate these characters will surface again in other series offerings. I especially enjoyed the father and son relationship between Liam and Cork. I did think young Cork seemed a little too wise beyond his years. The Native American culture was interesting and yet sad to read about and the racism which existed in 1963 unfortunately hasn't changed all that much over the last 50+ years. There are plenty of surprises that pop up in this story and the historical details were quite fascinating.
I'm a little late getting into this mystery series featuring Cork O'Connor. I did love the author's book, Ordinary Grace which I read for my book group. This book is actually a prequel to the Cork O'Connor character and gives the newcomers to the series insight into how he got to become a small town Minnesota sheriff. I look forward to other series books.
RATING - 4/5 stars
NOTE: (An eGalley was sent to me by Atria and Edelweiss in exchange for my unbiased review.)