This is the fifteenth novel in his series about Cork O’Connor, part Ojibwe and part Irish and a former South Side Chicago cop who became a sheriff in northern Minnesota and is a now a private investigator. Sulfur Springs takes him and his new wife Rainy to Arizona’s border with Mexico after her adult son, Peter, calls from there to confess a murder. They search for him at the Arizona drug rehab center where he worked as a counselor, only to discover he was fired and then disappeared. This contemporary page-turner has a plot right out of today’s headlines, compellingly illustrating the challenges U.S. and Mexican border communities face today and the complicated relationships between immigrants, drug smugglers, vigilantes, local residents, the U.S. Border Patrol, and other law enforcement agencies. Cork is a believable and appealing character; we understand his insecurities as well as his courage. Krueger also vividly describes Arizona’s terrain, making the landscape another character. Do read this novel and then come discuss it with the author at the store on Sunday, Oct. 22.
The second novel in Elsa Hart's 18th century Chinese mystery series featuring Li Du, the former librarian of the Forbidden City. En route to Tibet, his caravan encounters a dead monk with a mirror painted on his chest. Murder, or suicide? Li Du investigates suspects at a nearby manor. In the process, Li Du must decide if he will return to the imperial city from which he was once exiled. Hart infuses her stories with historical detail, political intrigue, and cultural observations from that era. Her mysteries cleverly teach us Chinese history in an entertaining way. After reading Hart’s first novel, Jade Dragon Mountain, I was very eager to read her sequel. She did not disappoint.