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Bestselling author William Kent Krueger returns to Perham

William Kent Krueger, the best-selling author known for his Cork O'Connor mystery series, recently returned to Perham for a book signing.

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William Kent Krueger stands with Willow Bookstore owner Megan Wells and employees Tracy and Reid.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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PERHAM — One visit to Perham last summer wasn't quite enough for New York Times best-selling author William Kent Krueger . On Friday, Aug. 26, he returned to town at the Willow Bookstore on Main Street to sign and promote the newest book in his Cork O'Connor mystery series, "Fox Creek."

"The people here were so incredibly welcoming," Krueger said when asked why he returned to town. "I always do my best to help the independents in outstate Minnesota — make sure that we will always have good, independent bookstores."

Krueger is deeply inspired by rural Minnesota when it comes to writing. He loves telling stories in different places with different personalities, and he said Minnesota caters specifically to that desire. He sees a different kind of beauty in all of the variety Minnesota offers, from the beautiful Northwoods to the Midwestern vibes of the south, all the way to the Great Plains in the west.

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William Kent Krueger signs his books for fans of his work in Perham's Willow Bookstore.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

"I can tap into that uniqueness of each of those places and create a valentine for them all," Krueger shared.

The Cork O'Connor series, specifically, is all about Minnesota. "Fox Creek," the novel Krueger was promoting during his visit to Perham, follows the story of Henry Meloux. A stranger named Dolores Morriseau comes seeking the aid of Meloux and his great-niece, Cork O'Connor's wife. Some mercenaries, however, are tailing this woman, believing she possesses information powerful people would pay a lot of money for.

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Meloux leads this woman to the Boundary Waters and uses all his skills to evade these trackers. In the meantime, O'Connor leaps into pursuit but gets stuck behind in a late-winter snowstorm. In the words of Krueger, the question at the heart of this story is whether or not this will be the last journey Meloux makes into the beloved wilderness he's called home for more than 100 years.

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William Kent Krueger signs books and chats with community members at Perham's Willow Bookstore.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

"It's also a story that is about the beauty and uniqueness of the place (Minnesota) we all call home," Krueger shared when asked how his story could relate to the lives of those in Perham. "And it's a story about the deep love that the characters in my series have for one another, so it's very family-involved."

If Perham-area community members are interested in Krueger's works, he recommends either checking them out from the library or buying them from a local book shop, such as the Willow Bookstore in Perham.

"Reading is the window onto other lives, other experiences, other cultures, other perceptions," Krueger concluded. "Anyone who says they have but one life to live must not know how to read a book."

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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