You hear footsteps.
If it’s not a dark, stormy night and you’re not alone, it’s probably not a big deal. You might even anticipate it, if you’re leading a group, walking with a friend, or walking in public. Most of the time, you probably don’t notice the soft sound of footsteps – but what if, like in William Kent Krueger’s new novel “Fox Creek,” the footsteps don’t follow?
What if they hunt?
Cork O’Connor was used to people asking him for help. Born in Tamarack County, Minnesota, he had been sheriff there once and he knew everyone. So when a man he didn’t know, a Lou Morriseau, asked about Henry Meloux, it raised Cork’s eyebrows.
He didn’t like this stranger. Morriseau claimed that his wife, Delores, was with Henry, and that he wanted her to come home – but he was wrong on two counts: Henry was a Mide, a healer in the Anishinaabe community, and he had to have at least a hundred years. year. He was neither an intruder nor a woman thief. And later, when Cork showed Delores a photo he had quietly taken of Morriseau, she said he wasn’t her husband. She had never seen the guy before.
She said a day or two before she disappeared into the north woods, with Cork’s wife, Rainy, and Henry Meloux…
Calling himself LeLoup – or “The Wolf” – a man quietly paddled to the edge of the lake and hid his kayak; Kimball, an ex-soldier he had known from Iraq, had hired him to do a job and LeLoup would get through it, one way or another. He would find this Delores woman wandering in the north woods and he would bring her back to Kimball, who never said why he wanted her. If she was with Henry, finding her wouldn’t be hard; LeLoup had spent his whole life in the woods and he could read them as well as the old man he was following.
As long as he could stay one step ahead of the men following him, LeLoup would find the Mide and bring this woman back.
Even if he had to kill to do so.
You know the screaming feeling you get when you wake up gasping for breath, shocked from one of those hunting dreams? Well, buckle up for the same double time, inside “Fox Creek”.
Indeed, author William Kent Krueger takes a normal Boundary Waters cat-and-mouse tale and he throws a rat of a different kind into a heart-pounding plot: Krueger’s sweetest and most beloved recurring character, Henry Meloux, has finally met his match. While this kicks off a tale that literally takes readers all over northern Minnesota, it also does double duty. Krueger uses the land he loves, the trees and the waters, the rocks and the lichens as the backdrop for a sometimes spiritual, sometimes new-age, life-or-death situation, a beautiful thriller and a real terror that Krueger finally says hides between his lines.
Find out more in the author’s note, but don’t read it early or you’ll spoil the novel for yourself. Save it for the end of “Fox Creek” and first enjoy a story that will keep you hooked.
“Fox Creek: A Novel” by William Kent Krueger. circa 2022, Atria $28.00 400 pages.