When I need a fast paced book to distract me, something easy to read while life whirls around me, William Kent Krueger is one of my go-to authors. This is another of his Cork O'Connor mysteries.
I have to admit that although I'm reading this series in what several web sites, including the author's own, say is the order of the books, they seem out of order to me. Yes, they're in the order of publication, but in one book Cork heads off to escape from a hit man, but the next book doesn't pick up where that one left off. Unless my memory is going. Which is possible. Anyway, the books are dark and terrifying and irresistible.
Cork has been shot while trying to elude a vengeful mob boss who thinks Cork killed his son and grandson (who raped Cork's wife). Cork goes off to his distant cousin, Jewell, who's a veterinarian. She and he haven't spoken for years because Cork, a sheriff, once arrested her late husband. She patches him up and keeps him hidden.
Jewell's son, Ren, and his friends Charlie (a girl), and Stash (a boy) see a body floating down the Copper River. Ren and Charlie try to find the body. They're seen by some men in a boat who are also looking for the body. The men see the kids. Charlie's father is killed, beaten to death, because he won't tell them where Charlie is, and Stash is hit by a car. Someone's looking for Charlie and has mistaken Stash for Ren.
Despite his constantly bleeding leg, Cork has to find out what's going on. Dina, a former FBI agent who is now a security consultant, comes to help protect him. She used to work for the mob boss. Dina likes Charlie, a girl who sometimes has to go to a shelter for homeless kids when her father's too drunk and scary. A tough kid who's not really so tough. Dina identifies with her because she once was a kid on the streets, too.
They put the pieces together and figure out where the body in the river came from and why the men are so anxious to get rid of the kids who saw it.
There's also a cougar prowling around, unusual for that part of the country.
Really, can you beat that?