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Cork O’Connor Books In Order

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Publication Order of Cork O'Connor Books

Iron Lake (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Boundary Waters (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Purgatory Ridge (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Hollow (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mercy Falls (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Copper River (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thunder Bay (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Red Knife (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heaven's Keep (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vermilion Drift (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Northwest Angle (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trickster's Point (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tamarack County (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Windigo Island (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Manitou Canyon (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sulfur Springs (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Desolation Mountain (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lightning Strike (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fox Creek (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Spirit Crossing (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lightning Strike is a prequel to the series.

Cork O’Connor is a series that tells us the story of Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor, a former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota, who also happens to be part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian. Cork is embittered because of the breakdown of his marriage and his separation from his kids. He is also bitter because of the fact that he is no longer a sheriff, and he masks his frustrations through lots of caffeine and nicotine. He was once a police officer on the south side of Chicago and so it takes a lot to shock him. However, the brutal murder of a judge and an Eagle Scout gone missing draws him into a mind-boggling case of corruption, conspiracy, and scandal.

A lakeside blizzard descends on Aurora, and Cork finds himself trying to uncover the truth concerning town officials seemingly hell-bent on putting a stop to his investigations even before they can begin in earnest. But even the former sheriff is shocked when he’s faced with one of the harshest foes of them all-a town secret that strikes a painful cord in his personal life. Even though Cork ceased to be a sheriff six months ago, people still see it as his identity and so he’s allowed to interfere with the ongoing investigations.

When the judge is discovered dead, the newly appointed sheriff concludes that it is a suicide. However, Cork believes otherwise and so he starts his own investigations. There is palpable tension between white people and Indians, but Cork being of mixed race affords him the luxury of operating in these two worlds. His physical characteristics are distinctly Irish and he also possesses the temperament and instincts of an Anishinaabe Indian. This gives him a great advantage and he is able to go where even angels fear to tread.

This story is full of Indian folklore and mysticism, and this adds even more mystery to an already complex case. Matters are not helped by Cork’s personal problems, and he is not your perfect hero, although he means well and is also an honorable man. Cork is a likeable character, and even though he has some flaws and is constantly beating down on himself, he is determined to do what’s right and be the best dad to his kids. His Indian heritage is a source of pride to him but he is also comfortable among whites.

Solving this case proved to be a major headache for Cork O’Connor and there were numerous potential suspects while the motives for the killing kept piling up. This story doesn’t prove to be an intellectual pursuit of the killer, which makes it a worthwhile crime novel. There is danger everywhere and as a reader, you are glad to follow the events from the relative safety of an armchair. Eventually, Cork is successful in solving the case but his personal problems remain unresolved. This makes the reader anticipate reading the next installment of the series, and the good thing is that you won’t be disappointed because this series proves to be a thriller.

The second book in the Cork O’Connor series is entitled Boundary Waters, and in this one, we find Cork in an unforgiving territory. In a wilderness spanning more than two million acres of forest, white-water rapids, and unchartered islands on the border between America and Canada, a young damsel called Shiloh has disappeared. She was at the peak of her rise to fame, and so her father comes to Aurora, Minnesota to enlist the services of Cork in helping to locate his missing daughter. So Cork joins the search party, which includes two FBI agents, an ex-con and a boy aged ten years.

Things are complicated because even as the search party starts combing the area, there are other people tracking the missing woman. These are men who have been hired to not only locate her, but also to murder her. To make matters worse, as the search party ventures deep into the unforgiving wilderness, there are strangers who have descended on Aurora threatening to kill people. Meanwhile, Cork and his search team find themselves facing a brutal winter in a harsh environment, and violence and death is stalking them at every turn.

The Boundary Waters are masterfully described by the author, and he uses simple words to paint the scene. As a reader, you will also like the way the author infuses the descriptions of the various scenes without interfering with this story’s pace. He has a way of pulling the reader into a setting, and you can almost see yourself standing on the sidelines watching the events unfold. You can actually smell the pine trees, hear the various sounds coming from the lake and feel the moist, chilly air on your face. Readers will also enjoy Indian folklore that can be considered a recurring character in the series.

Another good thing that the author has done is to provide great character development. The main protagonist is Cork O’Connor, and he is a former sheriff of Aurora who is strong yet fallible. This character is also immensely likeable and you will find yourself rooting for him to succeed. The author also does a great job of coming up with a compelling murder mystery that will keep you turning the pages. The characters also don’t remain stagnant and you will see them developing further as the series progresses. This means that if you want to enjoy the series, ensure that you read the book in the order in which they were released.

This series is very compelling, and you will find that Cork O’Conner is a character that we can all relate to. Here’s a father who is a strong person and yet he feels guilty towards his children after divorcing his wife. He is also a loner, which works well for most people because it defies social conventions or the herd mentality. Cork is also an honorable man who wants to see justice prevail. He also has a way of seeing what others don’t see, and he will pursue a case even when it is ruled as a foregone conclusion. All in all, this series will prove to be a thriller and there are a dozen more books to look forward to.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Cork O’Connor

3 Responses to “Cork O’Connor”

  1. Frank: 2 years ago

    If you are new to the series (like myself), you might want to start with book #18, Lightning Strike, since it’s actually the series prequel about Cork’s first investigation with his father at age 13.

    • Craig Storteboom: 1 year ago

      I would respectfully disagree. I’m a trucker. I’ve listened to the entire series in order. I thought it was a pleasant surprise to find out the book was a prequel so far into the series, but it would not help a reader in any way to read this book first. I thought it was better, because you go back into the life of this character you already know and understand.

  2. Joan: 3 years ago

    Loved this Tender Land


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