Mystery writer Krueger headlines Page Turners event

Published 7:05 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

For the ninth year in a row, a Minnesota author will be making a special stop in Austin.

The Austin Page Turners are inviting William Kent Krueger, an award-winning mystery writer who uses northern Minnesota as a setting, to come to the library in April. It will be the first time a true mystery novelist visits for the annual event.

“He weaves a great story,” APT committee member Cheryl Corey said.

Krueger is tentatively scheduled to come on April 22. His day will include a luncheon with APT members and about 10 randomly drawn fans, stops at local schools to talk writing with students and a evening reception at the library. Last year, that event drew about 150 people, and committee members think this year’s popular author could bring in a big crowd as well.

Krueger was born in Oregon but moved to Minnesota, settling in St. Paul. His mystery series takes places in fictional Tamarack County, Minnesota, where he follows the life of former sheriff Cork O’Connor. Four of the books in the series have won Minnesota Book Awards, including 2007’s “Thunder Bay,” which will be the featured APT book in 2010.

Bonnie Rietz, the former mayor and APT founder, said “Thunder Bay” is a great novel.

“When we read it; we were all intrigued,” she said.

Corey also said she liked the book.

“I read ‘Thunder Bay’ in less than a weekend,” she noted.

Corey and others said they’re looking forward to having Krueger in town so he can discuss the process of developing his fictional work.

“It will be interesting to see how he’s developing his characters,” Corey said.

The APT started in 2001, Rietz said, after she read about a “city-wide read” in Chicago. She wanted to bring something similar to Austin and focus on Minnesota authors as guests.

Tim O’Brien, who writes mainly about the impact of the Vietnam War, was one of the most prominent writers to make the trip. This year, Leif Enger, who penned the bestseller “Peace Like a River,” stopped by.

Rietz said the APT has worked closely with the library and local book clubs to promote reading, not just at the annual event but throughout the year.

The committee currently has 15 members, but Rietz said anyone is welcome to join.

For more information on the Austin Page Turners, people can call the library at 507-433-2391 and ask for librarian Gayle Heimer.