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Saturday, 11 July 2015

‘Windigo Island’ by William Kent Krueger



Published by Atria Books,
August 19, 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-476-74923-5 (HB)

When the body of a 14-year-old Ojibwe girl washes up on Windigo Island, a rocky outcrop on Lake Superior, Cork O’Connor and his daughter, Jenny, embark on a crusade to rescue another teenager, Mariah, who had run away from home with her, ending up as prostitutes in Duluth, pimped by a man known, strangely enough, as Windigo.  The windigo is a mythical beast thought to rip hearts out of bodies and eat them, or a vengeful spirit called Michi Peshu, according to Ojibwe lore.

With the help of Mariah’s cousin, a game warden, her mother, and Henry Meloux, Cork and Jenny follow a thin trail to find the girl with little help from other victims of the pimps who are virtually brainwashed and refuse to talk, or a very few others.  What follows is an exciting investigation that leads to the uncovering of an extensive sex trafficking ring, many of whose victims are Native Americans steeped in poverty and abuse, especially in the Duluth and Twin Cities areas.

The novel graphically portrays the squalid cycle of poverty, abuse, alcoholism and runaway children on the reservations and the men who prey on them.    Once again, the author has the opportunity to demonstrate a deep empathy for the Ojibwe, their values and traditions, as well as describing his love of the North Woods.  All this and one of the most exciting finishes recently read by this reviewer.

Highly recommended.
------
Reviewer:  Ted Feit

William Kent Krueger was raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. He briefly attended Stanford University--before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He's been married for over 40 years to a marvellous woman who is an attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.
Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O'Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage--part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last five novels were all New York Times bestsellers.



Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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