Although it conjures up thoughts of Agatha Christie, "cozy mystery" is the term that comes to mind when trying to sum up Manitou Canyon, William Kent Krueger's 15th novel featuring Cork O'Connor. Perhaps that is because even though there is death, kidnapping, and more in the story, the crimes are packed between ample passages about family, love, spirit, and the beauty of nature.
And the setting of the book is beautiful: Tamarack County in Minnesota's North Country. The mystery kicks off with Cork being hired to search for a man who when missing in the Boundary Waters. Although an official investigation for the man, John Harris, had already concluded without success, his grandchildren ask Cork to go to Raspberry Lake for one more look. It is November, the darkest month of the year for Cork, and winter will soon sweep into the area; it is now or never to find Harris. Further, Cork, who took part in the official search and knew the missing man when they were both young, is puzzled by the mystery. "How can a man just disappear and leave no trace, not even his scent for a dog to find," he wonders.
Cork and one of the Harris grandchildren, Lindsay, head out into the Boundary Waters, where they encounter trouble that could not be anticipated. And when the O'Connor clan fails to hear from him, they kick into action to find out what has happened.
With many feats of daring-do, the love of family, and attention to the spirit, the plot of Manitou Canyon unfolds. It is an entertaining story with many twists and turns; a fast-paced, yet cozy, read.
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