Book review: ‘Sulfur Springs: A Novel’ – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
ThereÃ¢Â€Â™s no such thing as a vacation.Ã‚Â
Not for you, anyway. You canÃ¢Â€Â™t escapeÃ‚Â work: even when youÃ¢Â€Â™re off the clock, youÃ¢Â€Â™re on the job,Ã‚Â thinking about projects,Ã‚Â heading off problems, solving conundrumsÃ‚Â or,Ã‚Â in the new bookÃ‚Â Ã¢Â€ÂœSulfur SpringsÃ¢Â€Â by William Kent Krueger,Ã‚Â solving crimes.Ã‚Â
Bad news usually starts with a phone call, as every parent knows, but the call that came to the home of retired Tamarack County Sheriff Cork OÃ¢Â€Â™Connor was differentÃ‚Â Ã¢Â€Â” the look onÃ‚Â CorkÃ¢Â€Â™sÃ‚Â new wife, RainyÃ¢Â€Â™s, faceÃ‚Â wasÃ‚Â clear about that. SheÃ¢Â€Â™d received a message from her son, Peter, and though it was staticky and near-unintelligible, two words wereÃ‚Â plain: Ã¢Â€ÂœRodriguezÃ¢Â€Â and Ã¢Â€Âœkilled.Ã¢Â€ÂÃ‚Â
Alarmed at the message andÃ‚Â the factÃ‚Â that Peter wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t answering his phone, Rainy andÃ‚Â CorkÃ‚Â rushed toÃ‚Â Arizona, near the Mexican borderÃ‚Â where, yearsÃ‚Â before, Peter had spent three months in a tonyÃ‚Â ArizonaÃ‚Â rehab center. Once heÃ¢Â€Â™d finished treatment,Ã‚Â PeterÃ‚Â stuck around, got a job,Ã‚Â and hadÃ‚Â beenÃ‚Â livingÃ‚Â in the areaÃ‚Â for some time but, afterÃ‚Â inquiring,Ã‚Â CorkÃ‚Â discovered thatÃ‚Â no one claimed to knowÃ‚Â aÃ‚Â Peter Bisonette. PeterÃ¢Â€Â™sÃ‚Â photo and hisÃ‚Â physical description drewÃ‚Â faux-blank looks, butÃ‚Â the local border patrol seemed intent on followingÃ‚Â CorkÃ‚Â and Rainy in their search forÃ‚Â him.Ã‚Â
WhenÃ‚Â CorkÃ‚Â began to hear whispersÃ‚Â of danger attached to his stepsonÃ¢Â€Â™s name,Ã‚Â andÃ‚Â the remote starter onÃ‚Â theirÃ‚Â rentalÃ‚Â JeepÃ‚Â turnedÃ‚Â the vehicleÃ‚Â into a fireball,Ã‚Â heÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â Rainy knew the whispers were true.Ã‚Â
Peter, itÃ‚Â appeared, had his motherÃ¢Â€Â™s soft heart and hadÃ‚Â become a Ã¢Â€Âœdesert angelÃ¢Â€Â forÃ‚Â illegal immigrants.Ã‚Â His presence,Ã‚Â therefore andÃ‚Â for many reasons, was unwelcome in Sulfur Springs, andÃ‚Â finding him (or his body) meant going deep into the desert. TheÃ‚Â unforgivingÃ‚Â ArizonaÃ‚Â terrain was nothing like back home inÃ‚Â Minnesota. The people in Sulfur Springs were equally unyielding, butÃ‚Â CorkÃ‚Â couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t find Peter without help.Ã‚Â
The question was: WhoÃ‚Â could he trust?Ã‚Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœSulfur SpringsÃ¢Â€Â may seemÃ‚Â like something different Ã¢Â€Â” and it is, mostly.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
As a Ã¢Â€ÂœCork OÃ¢Â€Â™Connor Mystery,Ã¢Â€Â it maintains the aura of Minnesota Nice, 10,000 Lakes, and lush green forests that other novels in this series have. Admittedly,Ã‚Â itsÃ‚Â premise is an otherwiseÃ‚Â bland-tastingÃ‚Â blue-plate special of plot line (illegal immigration and drug smuggling)Ã‚Â but hereÃ¢Â€Â™s the deliciousness:Ã‚Â itÃ¢Â€Â™s served with a side dish of sand, cactus and nail-bitingÃ‚Â thriller.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
That last part will make fans take notice: The homegrown crook youÃ¢Â€Â™ve come to expect is gone, replaced by a bigger, wider web of worse. Furthermore, author William Kent KruegerÃ¢Â€Â™s signature character, a widower for many years, is now married and readers arenÃ¢Â€Â™t entirely led to embrace his new wife; she has a dark past that hints of somethingÃ‚Â untold. EvenÃ‚Â CorkÃ‚Â himself has changed with the wedding: heÃ¢Â€Â™s edgier and angrier.Ã‚Â Harder, even.Ã‚Â Everyone feelsÃ‚Â subtly, urgently,Ã‚Â not-quite-comfortableÃ‚Â here,Ã‚Â and the mood is as prickly as anÃ‚Â ArizonaÃ‚Â cactus because of it.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
That leads to a book thatÃ¢Â€Â™sÃ‚Â totally un-let-go-able, a canÃ¢Â€Â™t-miss for fans and a new obsession forÃ‚Â new readers.Ã‚Â Skip Ã¢Â€ÂœSulfur Springs?”Ã‚Â ThereÃ¢Â€Â™s no such thing.
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