Cork O'Connor takes his family on a vacation, feeling that his daughters at age 24 and 21, are getting older and there might not be many more opportunities.
When a destructive story called a derecho develops, Cork and his older daughter, Jenny, are separated from the other members of the family who are on a houseboat. Cork and Jenny end up on one of the many islands on the Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, on the U.S. Canadian border.
Separated by the storm, Jenny arrives first and hears the faint whimper of a baby. Later, she discovers the body of a young woman who had been murdered. The woman had signs of being tortured and Jenny assumes that the woman was the child's mother.
As Jenny and Cork ponder their rescue, they wonder who killed the girl and what to do if that person returns.
This is a story where there is a true dicotomy between good and evil. Cork's sister-in-law, Rosa, is also on the trip and is on the houseboat. She had been considering entering the convent when she met her husband, Mal. He was a priest before his marriage to Rosa. There are a number of times during the story when bad things happen to good people and the other characters wonder why God would allow this to happen. Then, there seems to be an answer to this question.
As the story continues, Cork and Jenny are trying to keep the baby safe and believe that those pursuing them might be in league with the devil.
The story is rich in American Indian history. Cork is part Ojibwe and can relate to the other American Indians. Cork's son, Stephen, truly demonstrates his spirituality and communication ability with other American Indian characters, in particular with the wise elders. Stephen learned from Henry Meloux, a healer, who understands the harmony of life and how to use nature to restore that harmony if it is lost.
I read the story compulsively and enjoyed the characters while wondering how they would escape from their situation. Cork's character was nicely described with his love of family, his pride in being an American Indian and his background as a lawman and wanting to bring criminals to justice.
The twist the author provided added to the intelligence of the story and the satisfaction with the conclusion.
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