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Red Knife: A Cork O'Connor Mystery (Cork O'Connor Mysteries) [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

William Kent Krueger
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

2 Sep 2008 Cork O'Connor Mysteries (Book 8)
The newest book in William Kent Krueger's award-winning Corcoran O'Connor series finds the charismatic private investigator caught in the middle of a racial gang war that's turning picturesque Tamarack County, Minnesota, into a bloody battlefield. When the daughter of a powerful businessman dies as a result of her meth addiction, her father, strong-willed and brutal Buck Reinhardt, vows revenge. His target is the Red Boyz, a gang of Ojibwe youths accused of supplying the girl's fatal drug dose. When the head of the Red Boyz and his wife are murdered in a way that suggests execution, the Ojibwe gang mobilizes, and the citizens of Tamarack County brace themselves for war, white against red. Both sides look to Cork O'Connor, a man of mixed heritage, to uncover the truth behind the murders. A former sheriff, Cork has lived, fought, and nearly died to keep the small-town streets and his family safe from harm. He knows that violence is never a virtue, but he believes that it's sometimes a necessary response to the evil that men do. Racing to find answers before the bloodshed spreads, Cork himself becomes involved in the darkest of deeds. As the unspeakable unfolds in the remote and beautiful place he calls home, Cork is forced to confront the horrific truth: Violence is a beast that cannot be contained. In "Red Knife," Krueger gives his readers a vivid picture of racial conflict in small-town America, as well as a sensitive look at the secrets we keep from even those closest to us and the destructive nature of all that is left unsaid between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, friends and lovers.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Corporation; Abridged edition (2 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423341813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423341819
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 12.7 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Review

"Cork O'Connor...is one of those hometown heroes you rarely see...someone so decent and true, he might restore his town's battered faith in the old values." -- "The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

William Kent Krueger grew up in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. A former logger, construction worker, freelance journalist, and researcher in childhood development, he is the author of two other acclaimed Cork O'Connor novels, IRON LAKE and BOUNDARY WATERS.

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By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
First Sentence: It was not yet dawn and already he could smell death.

A young woman has died from her Meth addiction and her father vows revenge. He blames the Red Boyz, a group of young Ojibwe men, and their leader. When the leader and his wife are found brutally murdered, there is fear of a war breaking out between the whites and the reds.

Cork O'Conner, former sheriff and part Ojibwe, is asked to help find the killer and keep things calm between the two factions.

Krueger once again displays his writing talent. His characters come to life, added by his dialogue. They are real people with real relationships, good and bad. There is poignancy to them and you see their growth, not only through the series but in this particular book. Krueger's sense of place takes you to the location. He invites you to share in the sights, sounds and smells.

My one small complaint is that the introduction to the characters in a confrontational scene seemed very abrupt. It felt as though Kruger needed to get past that point in order to get to the final scenes in the book. It wasn't terrible but left me with a feel of "where did they come from?". But that could just be me.

From reading this, I suspect it is the last in the Cork O'Connor series. I appreciated Krueger tying up the ends with the family through and after the final climatic scene. While I understand an author wanting to move on, I shall miss Cork, his family and friends. [Note: It appears there will be more books in this series.]
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Krueger writes a darn good myst ery 24 Nov 2008
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a mystery junkie. And I think my list of favorite male mystery writers is topnotch: James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and Lee Child. But included in that list is Minnesota's own William Kent Krueger. His Cork O'Connor novels _are Minnesota at her best and worst. Krueger's knowledge of the Ojibwe is deep and respectful and his beliefs about violence are thoughtful, if not nave in some respects. But it is the story, the characters that reach out and grab you and compel you to keep turning the pages.

"It was not yet dawn and already he could smell death." The reader is thrust immediately into the story with Krueger's first sentence-and it's a wild ride to the conclusion.

Kristi Reinhardt died as a result of a meth overdose. Her father, Buck Reinhardt, wants revenge. He believes Lonnie Thunder is responsible for his daughter's death, and he's going after him and the Red Boyz, a gang of Ojibwe, whom he believes shares in the responsibility.

The head of the Red Boyz, Alexander Kingbird, requests that former sheriff, Cork O'Connor (who is part Ojibwe), arrange a meeting with Buck. He wants to give Buck justice. Before the meeting can be set up, Alexander and his wife, Rayette, are brutally murdered at their home. Their young daughter is left alive and found crying in her crib. But a message was left at the scene and the murder itself suggests the Kingbirds were executed.

When another murder occurs, tensions heat up further between the Native Americans and the white folks living in Tamarack County. It's up to Cork to mitigate the building tension and avoid the bloodshed that is bound to occur. The toll on Cork changes him forever.

Violence, secrets, alienation, fear, hopelessness, honor, redemption and justice are all a part of Red Knife. It's a thoughtful and compelling novel. You won't be able to close the covers of Red Knife without examining your own beliefs about violence.

Armchair Interviews says: A must read.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Red Warrior 27 Nov 2008
By Ted Feit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Cork O'Connor, in this latest chapter in the series, is torn between his Indian and White heritages amidst violence in the rural Minnesota landscape. What sets it off is the death of a drugged young girl, pitting various elements against each other with Cork in the middle.

At the heart of the problem are some young Indians known as the Red Boyz. When their leader and his wife are found murdered, Cork understands that a powder keg of racially inspired conflict is at hand. Cork, the ex-sheriff, is drawn into the investigation, placing him in jeopardy as well. The novel is said to be based on a real story, and portrays the racial conflicts and drug violence of the present day.

As usual, the author shows his deep knowledge of the North Country landscape and Indian history and culture. Written simply but forcefully, the novel continues to enthrall the reader as have the past entries in the series. Recommended.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This one can go either way 11 Jan 2009
By Rod M. Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Note: All my recent "reading" is done via audio book.

I spent a lot of summers up in the area of Minnesota where Krueger's books takes place. He's pegged the people characteristics of the area so well its amazing. I'd be laughing well listening....cause I knew that guy....no, that wasn't his name....but I was sure it was him just the same.

Pros: A good basic story line. It keeps you interested from beginning to end, and you can't easily see where its going.

Cons: The last part didn't have to happen. I thought the ending got too "Soap Opera"-ish. Had he stopped it short of the last "episode" I think it would have been 4 stars. I'm not sure what point Krueger was trying to make at the end. He also locked himself into some futures for his characters. Not a good idea I think.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I hated the ending 3 July 2012
By Paul O'Connor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mostly I read the Cork O'Connor novels because I like the author's insights into how people take the experiences of life and find pieces to motivate themselves either towards the betterment of the community or its destruction. I like low body counts because it keeps the pressure on the people trying to resolve the mystery. Copper River was the best of the stories I've read so far and I've read them all in order.

I really loved a lot of this book. The author really does a nice job with teen-aged angst, how it is mostly harmless and is a necessary part of growing up but can be unpredictably dangerous when mixed with real life.

But the ending (or should I say endings as there at least three separate endings to this book) was awful. It was like Krueger mailed the manuscript to Don Pendelton and asked him how to end it. First there's the TOTALLY contrived reconciliation between Ulysses and his father (okay, it wasn't that bad, it just should have taken at least 75 pages to resolve properly instead of a few paragraphs). Then there was the AWFUL shoot-out at the lake (okay, it had some REALLY nice themes, but it still should have been handled much less messily, which would have taken a lot longer). Finally there was the incident at the school, for which THERE IS NO REDEEMING FEATURE. Why did Krueger decide to tack it onto a pretty good book? It just doesn't belong there!

Perhaps Krueger should have split this into two books like he did with Mercy Falls and Copper River. In his defense, I found Mercy Falls to be very unsatisfying so he might have made the right decision after all.

I've considered abandoning the series at several points but this one really pushed me to the edge. I'm going to borrow the next book from the library and it needs to be absolutely stellar or I'm done with the series.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read But . . . 3 Oct 2009
By Doug - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kent Kueger's work has always had a friendly, down home quality to it. Cork O'Connor is, in my mind, a young James Stewart-ish sort with the decent, do-the-right-thing-even-when-no one-is-watching values I find in my friends in northern Wisconsin. In Red Knife he's caught without his sheriff's badge attempting to not only solve a murder but head off a brewing civil war within the Ojibwe tribe.

As always, Krueger's descriptions of Cork's family life, his devotion to finding peacful answers to violent questions, his internal toughness are fascinating as they depict a man who is examining himself as he investigates others. Krueger also takes secondary characters and brings them to life, imbuing them with a vibrancy that makes them human, flawed and sympathetic.

The plot of Red Knife wanders a bit but never goes entirely off track . . . until the end. You may see it coming; you may not. It's as though what we expect from a Kent Krueger novel, and from this book in particular, wasn't good enough for Krueger's editor so a new and far more high drama and troublesome ending got tacked on. Sort of like running an eighteen-wheeler right through the center of town, red lights be damned. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't.

I didn't like it. Jarring and unnecessary, Red Knife's ending didn't fit the story and calls the rest of this great series into question.
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