The Cork O'Connor series by William Kent Krueger is one of my favorite mystery series. And that is saying something, because there are a lot of outstanding series out there.
What are the major pluses of this series?
Well, it's set in Minnesota, for starters. And there is just something about a mystery set in a northern, snowy clime that is extremely appealing to me. I think that this is one of the reasons that I really enjoy Nordic Noir - dark days, early sunsets, and snow make for great mysteries. And this series really uses Minnesota to tremendous advantage.
In addition, the author has added in some really compelling Native American elements. There is a reservation nearby, the main character is part Native American, and has many friends that have different tribal affiliation, including one in particular who is a mentor to him. I love this.
Finally, the character development. One of the areas where a solid series will really shine is in character drawing - mysteries focus on the darkest aspects of human character, and reveal the truth about people, not letting them get away with the artifice of their public faces. Eventually, over the course of the series, those false fronts are taken down (or at least they should be) and the truth of a community is revealed. This one does that well. Our main character is a mostly honorable man, but with flaws.
This mystery in particular, I also really liked. It is set in the winter, near Christmas. The secondary characters are compelling, and the mystery itself is compelling. There is a lot more to this story, and I had skipped a few installments between the last of this series that I read (around book 7) and this one (book 13), but I had picked this one up for super cheap, so I went ahead and read it. I need to know what happened in the middle, and will hunt down the missing books so I can catch up.
All in all, a fantastic read.