Bookworm: 'Point' is a mystery with richness

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How well did you know the kids you played with?

When you were young, you might have said you knew them well. You had sleepovers and shared secrets and toys. Their mothers were nice ladies whose names all started with “Mrs.” Their dads were always tinkering and loved to tease you about something. Those kids you played with all the time? You knew all about them.

Or did you?

Cork O’Connor thought he’d seen the soul of the man he’d known since they were children. But in the new book Trickster’s Point by William Kent Krueger, Cork didn’t know a thing.

It took three hours for Jubal Little to die.

Cork O’Connor watched his friend bleed to death, knowing he should go for help but not knowing if there was time. Jubal didn’t want to die alone, so Cork sat, listening, while Jubal died with one of Cork’s arrows in his heart.

They met when Cork was just 14.

He’d been walking around that day with Willie Crane, who was born with cerebral palsy, and Willie’s sister, Winona, when a group of bullies showed up and Jubal, big as a bear, swept in and rescued them from a sure beating. That was the day Jubal became a sort of protector for Willie Crane. That was also the day Cork, who loved Winona with adolescent fervor, understood that he’d never win her heart because Jubal Little captured it.

But now Jubal was dead, killed with a handmade weapon in the hunting grounds known as Trickster’s Point. The Ojibwe claimed strange things happened there, and Cork couldn’t think of anything stranger than Jubal’s murder ... until another body showed up; a stranger with a fake ID and an arrow through his skull. An arrow like the one that killed Jubal, one that looked exactly like those Cork crafted.

Jubal’s family seemed happy to point fingers and others wanted to lay blame on the obvious, but Cork O’Conner didn’t kill Jubal Little, and he didn’t kill the stranger, either.

Still, he – like many others who lived in their northern Minnesota area – had plenty of reason to do so.

I really love mysteries like this.

Instead of making murder the sole means for the story, Krueger adds richness to his plots in the form of a full life for his characters, especially Cork O’Connor.

We learn a lot about Krueger’s sleuth in this book: we’re given peeks at O’Connor’s childhood, his love life, and his sense of morals and righteousness. We’re seeing him as he mellows and ages, which helps fans to understand more about Krueger’s character, and which lends to readers who are new to this series enough back-story to keep confusion at bay.


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