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‘Tamarack County’

He will pay.

One way or another, you’ll get back at that person who done you wrong. He’ll pay, whether now or in the hereafter, and you’ll see that it comes to pass. He’ll get his comeuppance. You’ll get your revenge.

But remember this: revenge isn’t always sweet, payback’s more than just a … well, you know, and in the new book “Tamarack County” by William Kent Krueger, vengeance has deadly consequences.

In Tamarack County, Minn., up near the Canadian border, winters can be hard on drivers. Snowstorms happen, vehicles get stuck and help takes time. But when Evelyn Carter’s car was found empty on a well-traveled road, it raised concern: the road was freshly-plowed, the car wasn’t snowbound and Evelyn was nowhere around.

Though he no longer served as the county sheriff, Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor was called in to help look for the missing woman. As a life-long resident of Tamarack County, he knew the area and he’d been acquainted with Evelyn and her husband, a former judge whom Cork considered to be one of the nastiest, least-likable men in the county. Also, as a licensed private investigator, Cork knew how to conduct a search.

And he knew that Evelyn Carter wasn’t the kind of lady to just disappear.

But that wasn’t the only mystery plaguing Cork O’Connor. His younger daughter, Annie, came home early from the convent where she’d been living, and though she obviously seemed troubled, she was uncharacteristically mute. Stephen, Cork’s teenage son, was smitten with Marlee Daychild, a girl Stephen knew from school, so there was a bit of the unknown there, too.

As the search for Evelyn Carter expanded, strange things started happening around Tamarack County: Marlee Daychild’s uncle’s dog had been temporarily staying with the Daychilds, and was violently killed. Marlee’s mother, a bartender at a local casino, was hassled by a strange man, and followed. Judge Carter insisted there’d been a burglary at his house, but the item he claimed had been stolen was in his garage.

In his garage — covered with blood.

As all these incidents piled up, they just didn’t add up for Cork O’Connor. And as the snow swirled around Tamarack County’s roads, so did the danger …

No doubt about it: author William Kent Krueger is the Master of Misleads. He knows well how to send readers down the wrong path, and what you’ll sleuth in this novel is no exception.

Indeed, “Tamarack County” is rich with wrong leads, interesting characters, dark terrain, cold nights and plotlines that will keep you turning pages. These things revolve around Krueger’s main character, Cork O’Connor, a part-Ojibwe sheriff-turned-PI who has a personal stake in what happens in the solving of crimes because he grew up with many of the people affected. That rings especially true in this mystery.

Yes, this book is the latest in a series, but you can easily enjoy it without having read the others. So find it, read it, share it, but make note: lend “Tamarack County” to someone, and you may never get it back.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is a book reviewer from West Salem, Wis. She may be contacted at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

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