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Heaven’s Keep

Review

Heaven’s Keep

Cork O’Connor --- half Irish, half Ojibwe Indian --- is a
private investigator in his Northern Minnesota birthplace. The
former sheriff knows his neighbors and his people, and he and Jo,
his attorney wife and mother of their three children, enjoy wide
respect in the community. When Jo accompanies a delegation of
Northern American Indian tribal officials to an important meeting
in Seattle, Cork sees her off on the chartered plane at the local
airport. It is the last he will see of her as the plane takes off
under darkening skies and then vanishes hours later in a blinding
blizzard over the Northern Rockies.

Cork and his 13-year-old son, Stephen, fly out to Western
Wyoming to search in the region where the plane vanished from
radar. Reports from snowmobilers of hearing a low-flying plane
during the storm seemed to pinpoint the area in which searchers
were gathering. Cork and Stephen join with the Owl Creek
Sheriff’s Department and volunteers in an air search to try
to spot any sign of a downed plane. After nearly a week of flying
over thousands of miles of the rugged wilderness, searchers give up
as winter settles in and hopes of finding any clues dwindle. The
sheriff’s department is very accommodating, even flying Cork
and Stephen over an area seen in a vision by a local Indian
shaman.

As another heavy storm moves in, heralding the beginning of
winter in the Rockies, Cork and Stephen head back home, saddened by
the fact that not only their beloved Jo is dead, but that the other
six passengers and pilot, some of them friends, may not be found
until spring, if ever.

They start to pick up the pieces of their lives, but rumors
begin that the pilot and owner of the small plane had been seen
drinking heavily the night before at a local bar. By March, a
lawsuit against the pilot is launched by the families of two of the
men on the missing plane. The pilot’s widow comes to Cork
with what she thinks is evidence that the man who flew her
husband’s plane was not him, even though he’s seen on a
surveillance camera from the bar appearing to imbibe several
straight shots of whiskey the night before the flight. If the pilot
was not her husband, then where is he and why did he go missing
that day? The investigator she hired went out to Wyoming and failed
to return after asking questions of local officials.

Cork carefully examines the grainy surveillance tape the
pilot’s widow produces and discovers something not previously
seen on there. It is enough for him to take on her case and perhaps
bring some closure to what really happened to Jo and her fellow
passengers on that fateful flight. The possibility that the plane
didn’t crash is raised along with Cork and Stephen’s
hopes that Jo is being held captive somewhere. They discover that
some of the local Wyoming people hold title to land overlying rich
oil deposits, and perhaps one of the passengers of the plane was
entangled in a land deal.

Upon returning to Owl Creek, Cork finds the local
sheriff’s office less than cordial than their prior encounter
and reluctant to expend any more manpower on the hunt for the
downed plane. They vaguely remember the prior private investigator
who asked a few questions, but do not know where he went after he
left Owl Creek. Cork now must rely on an offer from his new
business partner to put his resources to work to launch a new
search for the missing plane and learn the fate of its passengers.
This becomes a game of “who do you trust” as Cork looks
to former acquaintances and friends for help.

HEAVEN’S KEEP is William Kent Krueger’s 10th book
and the ninth to feature Cork O’Connor. These novels
blend a close-knit family and American Indian traditions with
good old-fashioned sleuthing. Those who have followed Cork since
his introduction in 1998’s IRON LAKE will not be disappointed
with Krueger’s latest effort, and undoubtedly will look
forward to a continuation of this award-winning series.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011

Heaven’s Keep
by William Kent Krueger

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria
  • ISBN-10: 1416556761
  • ISBN-13: 9781416556763