“Heaven’s Keep”
by William Kent Kreuger
Published by Atria Books

Cork O’Connor, part Ojibwe, former Sheriff, has an argument with his wife, Jo, an attorney.  She leaves on a chartered plane on a business trip to represent a group of Native Americans as the plead their case for casino rights in Wyoming.  Along the way they group must stop to pick up a representative of the Arapahoes in Wyoming and then leave for Seattle.  Leaving Wyoming the chartered plane runs into a severe storm and goes down.   Not only the unfinished business between Cork and Jo is up in the air but the whole idea of the plane crash seems strange.

Cork cannot just sit at home waiting for reports so he decides to go to Wyoming and do what he can.  He decides to take his teenage son, Stephen, so he will not grow up thinking he could have done more.  As if this weren’t enough to trouble Cork, a land developer wants to purchase the the lakefront land in Cork’s hometown, including the land where Cork runs a small fast food style diner.  The developer is chock full o’ money and lawyers, but Cork does not want the land turned into a bunch of condos and ruin the landscape.  Hugh Parmer, Texas millionaire and land developer finally decides to approach Cork, man to man.  But with Cork’s wife missing, Parmer tells Cork this can wait and to go find his wife, he also offers to help anyway he can.

Flying to Wyoming on Parmer’s personal jet, Cork and Stephen arrive in Wyoming to find that the local Sheriff is correlating searches through many assets, however a tribal elder has had a vision and the Native Americans interpret that vision showing the plane to have gone down in an area nowhere near the search area, and are conducting their own searches.  The Sheriff downplays the vision because the elder that received the vision is a typical “drunk Indian.”

In related news the pilot of the plane, another Native American, is found to have been videotaped at a bar the night before the flight drinking to beyond excess.  This creates a new hype to the story to be covered by the mass media looking for the next story.

After many days of searching only to be put off by more snowstorms, Cork and Stephen head home accepting they’ve done everything possible.

At this point in the book the reader can get the feeling that the story could easily end there with a tragic end, but William Kent Krueger won’t let the story end there.  At this point the author takes the reader on a thrilling ride that shows things are never what they seem to be.  With exciting chases and uncovering hidden plots within plots, Krueger has written a novel with an explosive outcome that uncovers what people can and will do to become a savior for their own community.

Several months later, still grieving, Cork is contacted by the wife of the man who owned and flew the charter plane. An unlawful death suit has been filed against the pilot’s estate alleging that he had been drinking the night before the flight disappeared and his ability to fly the plane was impaired. But credible evidence suggests he was not flying the plane that crashed. And if he didn’t fly the plane into the storm, then who did?  It seems also that the plane may have not gone down and that it was flown safely to a hiding place.  And that the pilot on film is not the same pilot hired to fly the plane.  Cork O’Connor returns to Wyoming this time with a different search agenda.

Just when you get comfortable with this novel the author will throw you a curve or a red herring and you never know which it is until the exciting end.

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