Purgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger

‘Purgatory Ridge’ is William Kent Krueger’s 3rd novel featuring Cork O’Connor and set in the small town of Aurora in Northern Minnesota. I preferred book 2 – ‘Boundary Waters’ to this novel, but still found this one excellent.

Karl Lindstrom’s family have owned lumber mills for generations. Now the Lindstrom empire has been reduced to one mill which Lindstrom has upgraded to keep it going and Karl Lindstrom has moved to Aurora with his wife and stepson.

But Lindstrom has his eye on a group of ancient great white pines and the environmental activists have arrived in Aurora to protect them. The Anishinaabe refer to the trees as Ninishoomisag (our Grandfathers). But many in Aurora also rely on the lumber mill for their livelihood.

When a man is killed by a bomb set at the lumber mill, the current sheriff Wally Shanno asks Cork O’Connor (the ex sheriff) to help with the investigation.

Shanno is planning to retire and wants O’Connor to run for sheriff, as do many other people. But O’Connor is in the process of putting his marriage back together and his wife Jo is not fully behind his running for sheriff again.

Then an event pulls the O’Connor family into it’s centre and Cork O’Connor must use all his investigative skills to get to the bottom of what is going on.

Meanwhile the frightening Northern Minnesota environment threatens to take control of the northern woods including the great white pines.

This is a story where Jo O’Connor gets to show what she is really made of.

And in a thrilling conclusion, I was stunned to find out who the bad guy really was.


Once again William Kent Krueger has created a beautiful and terrible masterpiece of a thriller. Once I got near to the end, I couldn’t put it down and read late into the night.

This series is absolutely stunning. The characters are very real and flawed and Northern Minnesota is like no other place on earth. I’m looking forward to continuing the series with – ‘Blood Hollow’.


Book Published 2001


See a full list of books by William Kent Krueger

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Krueger, William Kent, Series Fiction, Thriller

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