− Free Read  Format Kindle [ ᠐ Iron Lake: A Novel ] ↹ Kindle Ebook Author William Kent Krueger √ − Free Read Format Kindle [ ᠐ Iron Lake: A Novel ] ↹ Kindle Ebook Author William Kent Krueger √ Short story specialist William Kent Krueger brings a fresh take on some familiar elements and a strong sense of atmosphere to his first mystery Chicago cop Cork O Connor and his lawyer wife Jo moved back to his northern Minnesota hometown of Aurora to improve their quality of life, but it hasn t worked Cork became the local sheriff, but lost an election after a disagreement between local Indians and whites over fishing rights turned deadly Then his marriage broke up, with Jo becoming a successful advocate for tribal rights and Cork reduced to running a scruffy restaurant and gift shop As the book starts, Cork is feeling guilty about sleeping with a warm hearted waitress and still hoping to get back with Jo and their three children Drawn into the disappearance of an Indian newsboy, which coincides with the apparent suicide of a former judge, O Connor clashes with a newly elected senator the judge s son and Jo s lover as well as with the town s new sheriff and some tribal leaders getting rich on gambling concessions Krueger quickly makes Cork a real person beneath his genre garments, mostly by showing him trying to deal with the needs of his two very different teenage daughters And the author s deft eye for the details of everyday life brings the town and its peculiar problems to vivid life Dick AdlerIron Lake 1 FOR A WEEK THE FEELING had been with him, and all week long young Paul LeBeau had been afraid Of what exactly, he couldnt say Whenever he tried to put the finger of his thinking on it, it slipped away like a drop of mercury But he knew that whatever was coming would be bad, because the feeling was exactly like the terrible waiting had been before his father disappeared Each day he reached out into the air with all his senses, trying to touch what was coming So that finally, on that morning in mid December when the clouds rolled in thick and gray as smoke and the wind screamed over the pines and tamaracks and the snow began falling hard, Paul LeBeau looked out the window of his algebra class and thought hopefully, Maybe its only this Shortly after lunch, word of the school closing came down Students quickly put on their coats and shouldered their book bags, and a few minutes later the yellow buses began to pull away, heading onto roads that threatened to disappear before them Paul left the Aurora Middle School and walked home, pushing into the force of the storm the whole way He changed his clothes, put on his Sorel boots, took five dollars from the small cashbox on his dresser, and left his mother a note affixed with a butterfly magnet to the refrigerator door Grabbing his canvas newspaper bag from its hook in the garage, he headed toward his drop box By two thirty he was loaded up and ready to go Paul had two paper routes covering nearly two and a half miles He began with the small business district of Aurora and ended just at the town limits out on North Point Road At fourteen, he was larger than most boys his age and very strong If he hustled, he could finish in just under an hour and a half But he knew this day would be different The snow had been accumulating at a rate of than an inch per hour and the bitter wind that swept down out of Canada drifted it fast and deep He took the routes in the time when his father was drinking heavily and his mother needed money Delivering the papers, especially on days like this that seemed impossible, was a responsibility he took seriously In truth, he loved the storms The energy in the wind and the ceaseless force of the drifting snow thrilled him Where another boy might see only the plodding task ahead of him, Paul saw challenge He took pride in his ability to battle against these elements, trudging through the drifts, leaning hard into the wind in order to complete the job expected of him He was an Eagle Scout Order of the Arrow Member of Troop 135 out of St Agnes Catholic Church He had made himself capable in a hundred ways He could start a fire with flint and steel hit a bulls eye with a target arrow at thirty yards tie a bowline, a sheepshank, a slip knot lash together a bridge strong enough to bear the weight of several men He knew how to treat someone for shock, drowning, cardiac arrest, and sunstroke He believed seriously in the motto Be Prepared, and often as he walked his paper routes, he imagined scenarios of disaster in Aurora that would allow all his secret skills to shine By the time he neared the end of his deliveries, lights had been turned on in the houses along the way He was tired His shoulders ached from the weight of the papers and his legs felt leaden from wading through knee deep drifts The last house on his route stood at the very end of North Point Road, a pine covered finger of land that jutted into Iron Lake and was lined with expensive homes The last and most isolated of the houses belonged to Judge Robert Parrant The judge was an old man with a hard white face, bony hands, and sharp, watchful eyes Out of fear Paul treated him with great deference The judges paper was always placed securely between the storm door and the heavy wooden front door, safe from the elements Whenever Paul came monthly to collect for his service, the judge rewarded him with a generous tip and stories about politics than Paul cared to hear The judges house was almost dark, with only the flicker of a fireplace flame illuminating the living room curtains With the last paper in hand, Paul threaded his way up the long walk between cedars laden with snow He pulled the storm door open, plowing a little arc in the drift on the porch, and saw that the front door was slightly ajar Cold air whistled into the house As he reached out to draw the door closed, he heard the explosion from a heavy firearm discharged inside He edged the door back open Judge Parrant he called Are you all right He hesitated a moment, then stepped in Paul had been inside many times before at the judges request He always hated it The house was a vast two story affair built of Minnesota sandstone The interior walls were dark oak, the windows leaded glass A huge stone fireplace dominated the living room, and the walls there were hung with hunting trophiesthe heads of deer and antelope and bear whose sightless eyes seemed to follow Paul whenever the judge asked him in The house smelled of applewood smoke The sudden pop of sap from a log burning in the fireplace made him jump Judge Parrant he tried again He knew he should probably just leave and close the door behind him But there had been the shot, and now he felt something in the stillness of the house from which he couldnt turn, a kind of responsibility As he stood with the door wide open at his back and the wind blowing through, he glanced down and watched tendrils of snow creep across the bare, polished floor and vine around his boots like something alive He knew that a terrible thing had happened He knew it absolutely He might still have turned away and run if he hadnt seen the blood It was a dark glistening on the polished hardwood floor at the bottom of the staircase He walked slowly ahead, knelt, touched the small dark puddle with his fingertips, confirmed the color of it by the firelight There was a bloody trail leading down the hallway to his left Pictures from the manual for his First Aid merit badge that showed arterial bleeding and how to apply direct pressure or a tourniquet came to his mind Hed practiced these procedures a hundred times, but never really believing that hed ever use them He found himself hoping desperately the judge wasnt badly hurt, and he panicked just a little at the thought that he might actually have to save a life The blood led him to a closed door where a dim light crept underneath Judge Parrant he said cautiously, leaning close to the door He was reluctant to barge in, but when he finally turned the knob and stood in the threshold, he found a study lined with shelves of books Along the far wall was a desk of dark wood with a lamp on it The lamp was switched on but didnt give much light and the room was heavy with shadows On the wall directly back of the desk hung a map of Minnesota Red lines like red rivers ran down the map from red splashes like red lakes Behind the desk lay an overturned chair, and near the chair lay the judge Although fear reached way down inside him and made his legs go weak, he forced himself to move ahead As he neared the desk and saw the judge clearly, he forgot all about the procedures for a tourniquet There was nowhere to put a tourniquet on a man who was missing most of his head For a moment he couldnt move He felt paralyzed, unable to think as he stared down at the raw pieces of the judges brain, pink as chunks of fresh watermelon Paul didnt even move when he heard the sound at his back, the soft shutting of the door Finally he managed to turn away from the dead man just in time to see the second thing that night his Scout training could never have prepared him for. 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