Vermilion Drift by William Kent Krueger

September 30, 2010
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Vermilion Drift
William Kent Krueger

Atria
9-30-10
Hardcover/304 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4391-5384-0
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". . .moody darkness counter balanced by a sharp eye for detail and memorable characters. . ."

Intriguing, complex and well-written thriller.

Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor has been hired to deal with threats made to several members of the team looking at the Vermilion One mine as a nuclear waste dump. Max Cavanaugh, the owner of Vermilion One and the Ladyslipper mine, has another task for Cork. His sister Lauren is missing and Max hires Cork to find her. Neither Max nor Cork know that Lauren’s disappearance and the trouble at Vermilion One are connected or that they are about to stumble onto a much older mystery that will change everything.

William Kent Krueger gets down to business quickly, sketching in the details of a small community in northern Minnesota where the famed Lead Range of mountains provided jobs and ore for many decades. Blending fact and fiction, Krueger creates a believable landscape where unbelievable actions insinuate themselves into what is at first glance a straightforward mystery. Vermilion Drift is anything but straightforward or merely a mystery; it is so much more.

Cork O’Connor, the main character, is Ojibwe and Irish and has strong ties to the community where he grew up. Krueger’s use of Ojibwe language and traditions are seamlessly woven into the overall narrative and give Vermilion Drift an otherworldly feel that goes well with the mysteries central to the story. What emerges is a horrific tale of the nature of man and a community that stands together in the face of unimaginable evil.

That further I read, the more reluctant I was to put the book down. Kreuger’s prose is as sharp and clean as a razor with poetic drifts that sparkle like sun-struck waters. Vermilion Drift’s moody darkness is counter balanced by a sharp eye for detail and memorable characters with warmth and fire to illuminate the shadows.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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