A Book Spy Review: ‘Desolation Mountain’ by William Kent Krueger

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Desolation MountainAll of his life, Cork O’Connor’s son, Stephen, has had visions of tragedies. So when his latest visions involve a great bird falling from the sky, he believes something awful will soon follow. Of course, his visions are all thought to be crazy. Until they’re not. 

A private airplane carrying United States senator Olympia McCarthy and her family crashes on the Iron Lake Reservation, killing nearly everyone on board. Stephen is convinced that the event fulfilled the vision he had, and turns to his father to help get to the bottom of things. A member of the search party, Cork, who is a former police officer turned PI (and part-time burger flipper), takes Stephen with him as they journey to Desolation Mountain in search of survivors . . . and answers. 

Cork and Stephen are hardly the only people descending on the mountain, located in a remote part of the reservation. Multiple government agencies are on the scene as well, and everyone has their own reason for investigating and theories as to what’s going on. Additionally, former Secret Service Agent Bo Thorson (The Devil’s Bed) is also present, but as an independent investigator. Having left the secret service, Thorson is now a private security consultant, and one of his clients has secretly hired him to get to the bottom of what happened. In search of the same things, Cork and Bo decide to join forces, but the more new details begin to surface about Senator McCarthy, the more Cork questions whether they’re playing for the same team. 

Desperate for answers, Cork and Stephen race to learn the truth, only to be met by opposition from multiple branches of the government at every turn. It’s clear something much bigger is going on behind the scenes, and things take a wild turn when members of the search party start vanishing. Time is running out. . . and it’s up to Cork O’Connor to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late. 

William Kent Krueger’s 17th O’Connor novel packs the same punch of suspense that his readers have come to expect, but also takes a slight supernatural turn. Though the supernatural elements aren’t played up quite as much as you might see from John Connolly, the Irish writer’s Charlie Parker series (especially the older books) offers a nice comparison, with shades of John Sandford woven in as well. The plot features a few well-written twists and turns, and Krueger knows how to keep readers off-balance as the plot unfolds. Likewise, the story is visually stunning, capturing the setting in a way that allows readers to feel like they’re trekking across the Iron Lake Reservation.

William Kent Krueger brings the vast Minnesota landscape to life the way C.J. Box does with Wyoming, allowing the setting itself to become a character in the story. Just when you think you know what’s going on, Krueger darts in another direction, pulling readers helplessly along the twisting ride through the haunting wild. 

Whereas most series begin to flame out by now, Cork O’Connor is still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. . . Desolation Mountain is as spooky as it is suspenseful, an addictive recipe that William Kent Krueger serves up as good as anyone in the business. 

Book Details

Author: William Kent Krueger 
Series: Cork O’Connor #17
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501147463
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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