Author: William Kent Krueger
ISBN: 978-1-4165-5676-3, Pages: 321, $25.00, Publication Date: September, 2009, Hard-Cover Fiction, Published by: Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Shuster, Inc.
William Kent Krueger is an award-winning author of eight previous Cork O’Connor mysteries, including “Red Knife” and “Thunder Bay”. “Heaven’s Keep” is a tale of suspense and Cork‘s relentless determination to find out what happened when his wife’s charter plane vanishes from radar over the Wyoming Rockies. This investigation has become personal.
Cork is an ex-sheriff and his wife Jo is an attorney representing tribal leaders. She leaves Casper, Wyoming with 6 Indian clients to attend a conference of American Indians to draft recommendations for supervision of their casinos.
They were in the air for 45 minutes when trouble came. The plane jolts. The pilot assures them there is nothing to worry about. “They all wait…the left wing dips…and the plane begins to roll”.
Cork and his son Stephen receive unfortunate news that Jo’s plane is missing. They leave their home in Northern Minnesota in an effort to assist in the search for the plane. Due to the menacing snowy conditions, the search becomes extremely dangerous. Snow drifts were “deep enough to cover a school” and search planes could have their wings ripped off by canyon ridges. Cork hated this part of the country “the way the land rose up like walls . . . how all that emptiness could easily swallow a plane and its passengers.”
After extensive air and ground searches, and no sign of wreckage, Cork and his son return to Minnesota. Six months pass and then Cork is contacted by the wife of the Indian pilot and her attorney. He is told by them that they are convinced the pilot was not her husband and they have video proof. Following their meeting, he mulls over the fact that maybe whoever was behind this knew about the charter flight. Maybe he would find Jo alive!
The plot intensifies on the Arapaho Indian Reservation when Cork returns to Wyoming. His strong Ojibwe heritage becomes useful as he tracks suspicious characters. Some of the suspects are found murdered. Lies and deception haunt Cork’s investigation as law enforcement and Indians deliberately mislead him.
Intriguing and helpful to the exploration are Stephen’s dream and visions by Indian mystics. Following these revelations, Cork is able to piece together clues which aid him in his search for the missing plane and passengers. The search party saw a rectangular depression in the snow near what appeared to be an air strip. They started digging by hand and struck metal. All tribal leaders’ bodies were found shot dead. Jo was not in the plane, only her briefcase was discovered.
Krueger has written a suspenseful story of corruption, fraud, murder, and the men who thought “they were untouchable”. The author has commanding grasp of Indian morals and spiritual culture. He is skillful in portraying beauty, time and place.
A mystic ending and a great read. This book is highly recommended.