Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota's Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to twelve-year-old Cork O'Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself. Cork's father, Liam O'Connor, is Aurora's sheriff and it is his job to confirm that the man's death was the result of suicide, as all the evidence suggests. In the shadow of his father's official investigation, Cork begins to look for answers on his own. Together, father and son face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them is true and what their hearts know is right.
The novel opens beautifully with Cork reminiscing on a bench beneath the courthouse clock that stopped when a bullet from gunfire that killed his father decades ago lodged in it. With the author's suspenseful measured pacing, his accomplished prose and his carefully crafted plot, Lightning Strike is Cork's creation story, his rite of passage to adulthood ... the wisdom Liam seeds to Cork is compelling and complicated, and I'm so glad the author decided to share it with us.
Lightning Strike has a multifaceted mystery at its core but is essentially a vibrant coming-of-age novel. While it is not necessary to have read any of the previous Cork O’Connor books, those who have will find this “child is father to the man” story indispensable in providing a new understanding to what has been told before and what will happen later in the series ... One can only hope that Lightning Strike will be just the first of many forays into Cork O’Connor’s past.
Lightning Strike is a brilliantly plotted, deeply emotional mystery that opens strong, building more intensity with each passing page. This is William Kent Krueger at his best, and the perfect spot for new readers to enter the series.