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Author Discussion & Signing with William Kent Krueger

Date: August 26, 2017 (Saturday)

Time: 11 AM

Title: Sulfur Springs (16th Cork O'Connor in Minnesota)

In William Kent Krueger's latest pulse-pounding thriller, Cork O'Connor's search for a missing man in the Arizona desert puts him at the center of a violent power struggle along the Mexican border, a struggle that might cost Cork everything and everyone he holds most dear.


On the Fourth of July, just as fireworks are about to go off in Aurora, Minnesota, Cork O'Connor and his new bride Rainy Bisonette listen to a desperate voicemail left by Rainy's son, Peter. The message is garbled and full of static, but they hear Peter confess to the murder of someone named Rodriguez. When they try to contact him, they discover that his phone has gone dead.

The following morning, Cork and Rainy fly to Coronado County in southern Arizona, where Peter has been working as a counselor in a well-known drug rehab center. When they arrive, they learn that Peter was fired six months earlier and hasn't been heard from since. So they head to the little desert town of Sulfur Springs where Peter has been receiving his mail. But no one in Sulfur Springs seems to know him. They do, however, recognize the name Rodriguez. Carlos Rodriguez is the head of a cartel that controls everything illegal crossing the border from Mexico into Coronado County.

As they gather scraps of information about Peter, Cork and Rainy are warned that there is a war going on along the border. "Trust no one in Coronado County," is a refrain they hear again and again. And to Cork, Arizona is alien country. The relentless heat and absence of water, tall trees, and cool forests feel nightmarish to him, as does his growing sense that Rainy might know more about what's going on than she's willing to admit. And if he can't trust Rainy, who can he trust?

Featuring Krueger's signature talent of "creating strong characters, building drama and conflict, braiding in Indian legend and spirituality, and spinning a good yarn" (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Sulfur Springs is a fresh, exhilarating, and white-knuckle mystery starring one of the greatest heroes of fiction.

Author: William Kent Krueger

Call me Kent.

I was born November 16, 1950 in Torrington, Wyoming, the third of four children whose parents convinced them that they had gypsy blood flowing through their veins. Before I graduated from high school, I’d lived in eleven different houses, in eight different cities, in six different states. By the time I was old enough to know what’s what, I realized that we simply moved every time the rent was due. Some of my best years were spent in Hood River, Oregon, so when people ask where I’m from, I usually lay that “honor” on Oregon.

I attended Stanford University for one year. In the turbulent spring of 1970, I understood the administration and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of political issues. For example, they didn’t look kindly on my participation in a takeover of the president’s office in protest of what I saw as the University’s complicity in weapons production during the Vietnam War. Not only did they sic the riot police on me, they evaporated my academic scholarship, forcing me to leave after my freshman year. Which was okay by me. I’d met the woman I knew I wanted to marry, and she lived in Nebraska. So I headed east.

The Real World

Over the next few years, I logged a bit of timber, worked a lot of construction, published a few magazine articles, and generally enjoyed life. I married—that lovely Cornhusker named Diane—and we pretty much had a ball.

Then we conceived our first child, a daughter whose name would be Seneca, and we had to get serious about life. In the summer of 1980, we moved to St. Paul, Minnesota so that Diane could attend law school. Talk about Hell. She gave birth to our second child, Adam, in the first semester of her final year—and still made the Dean’s List.

It was during this period of time that I began to write in earnest and to develop the habits that became the basis for the writing discipline I follow to this day.

The BroilerFlame Broiled Fiction

At nineteen, I wanted to be Ernest Hemingway. I read everything by him and about him. In the course of my reading, I stumbled onto a couple of pieces of information concerning Papa’s lifestyle that I tried to incorporate into my own way of being. First of all, Hemingway never wore underwear. Well hell, I thought, whatever was good enough for Papa was good enough for me. Right away I discovered that Hemingway must have been made of sterner stuff, and I went back to wearing my beloved Fruit of the Looms. But I also learned in my reading that Hemingway’s favorite time of day for writing was at first light. I gave it a try. And I liked it.

For several years after moving to St. Paul, we lived at the edge of a quiet neighborhood called Tangletown. (The streets were confusing and lovely.) A block away stood a café called the St. Clair Broiler that opened its doors at 6:00 a.m. I began rising at 5:30 to groom and prepare for the day, then I’d hit the Broiler and spend an hour or so writing before I hustled off to my job that kept food on the table and a roof over our heads. Mostly I wrote short stories, some of which were published, and couple of which won awards. Writing longhand in cheap wire-bound notebooks in booth #4 at the Broiler became for me a part of the magic of the creative process.

Although I write full time now and don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, I still do. I make the trek to the Broiler and spend a couple of hours hunched over my notebook while the sun rises over the shops across the street and the traffic begins to fill Snelling Avenue. For me, it’s still the best time of every day. Not only am I dreaming in those hours, I’m fulfilling the dream.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little voyeuristic peek at my life. Some of it, I swear, is true.


Event date: 
Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 11:00am to 12:30pm
Event address: 
7419 W. Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130
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