By William Kent Krueger
Simon & Schuster Atria Books
It was there in Casper, Wyoming, that Jo O'Connor started to regret that she hadn't called her husband to say, "I'm sorry." But she proceeded to get on the small plane that would take her and her party--a committee tasked with drafting recommendations for oversight of Indian gaming casinos--to present to the annual conference of the National Congress of American Indians in Seattle.
She should have called, and she did, but he wasn't there to answer, "I'll call you later" was her only message.
William Kent Krueger, in Heaven's Keep, tells the drama of a man whose wife left on a business trip, after they'd had a quarrel that had not been resolved. When the plane goes down somewhere around Heaven's Keep, he is haunted because their last words had not been expressions of their love.
Cork O'Connor had been Sheriff of the Tamarack County Sheriff's Department in Minnesota and had since become a PI; however, his main gig was as the owner of Sam's Place, a small restaurant in an old Quonset hut built on the shore of Iron Lake. He loved that place! So much so that he was willing to fight a major builder, the Parmer Corporation, who wanted to purchase the shoreline to build a large condominium resort community.
In the process of fighting off a major legal battle, Hugh Parmer came to visit and meet the man who was opposing him. The exchange between he and Cork O'Connor resulted in immediate friendship and it was Hugh Parmer who stood with Cork as the long and dangerous search for the plane took place.
Another heartwarming, and closer relationship that developed during the search was between Cork and his son, Stephen.
But, most importantly, the long search involved so many rescue staff that, for Cork, he couldn't figure out why they weren't finding the plane. And then Stephen shared his dreams of his mother with him. And they added visions and guidance from other respected wise men, one of whom, Will Pope, unfortunately was also known for his fondness for alcohol and therefore was being totally discounted by those leading the search activities.
But Stephen wanted to follow their guidance. Cork supported his son's wishes.
Soon they realized that the plane going down was not an accident. Soon they found that the assumed pilot had not even been on the plane. Soon they knew that those on the plane had been murdered.
Mystery, suspense, and just a touch or so of the supernatural makes this a fascinating drama that highlights the ancient ways of the Native American, as well as the greed and reach for power that we all possess to a small or greater amount. Believe me, this is not the usual novel surrounding the greed of those who build and run casinos. The people involved are uniquely developed to reveal the potential of friendship and love and what it makes possible, but with great suspense. Very highly recommended--easily 5+!
G. A. Bixler