Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger- book review

Great mystery set in the North Woods of Minnesota. Realistic portrayals of the deep distrust and animosity between the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people and the FBI made this an authentic read for me. So too were the Indigenous characters who had lived urban or moved away from the old ways. Strong female characters in Shiloh, the country singer sensation and Jo O’Connor, lawyer and estranged wife of main protagonist, Corcoran ‘Cork’ O’Connor. Cork is a believable man, with flaws and hopes of making amends for past mistakes. He’s not super human or supernatural, just a man trying to do better. I’m hooked by Krueger’s well drawn characters, beautiful descriptions of the lake areas and his layered storytelling. Krueger’s portrayal of modern Anishinaabeg didn’t slide into caricature or exoticisation for the titilation of the reader. This review may be more focused on representation of Indigenous people than the plot (which was well paced, sufficiently twisted and emotionally engaging), however I felt the need to give the author kudos for his realistic characterisation of modern Indigenous people. The author did use frequently reappearing wolf/wolves to show connections between the local Wolf Clan Anishinaabeg and their totem animal but it was not in a wholly unbelievable Twilightesque/paranormal rendering. Perhaps the other characters did not fair as well (stereotypical Mafia boss and his son, African American politician and FBI agent) but I hope the next books in this series live up to the hype created by Boundary Waters.

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