Mystery writer William Kent Krueger has taken a break from his award-winning Cork O'Connor mystery series to give readers the gift of ORDINARY GRACE, an atmospheric novel about forty year-old Frank Drum looking back on a fateful summer that changed him and his family - as well as his perceptions of the world and people in it.
The book details Frank's journey in the summer of 1961, when he was 13 years old and living in New Bremen, Minnesota with his traditional, "All-American" family - his father, a Christian minister; his mother a once-budding musician; his younger brother, a stutterer, who is wise and compassionate; and his beautiful, musically gifted and much-adored older sister, headed for Julliard. In 1961, the country, and this community, was infused with faith and wholesome innocence, but death paid several visits to New Bremen during a sweltering summer via the accidental death of a teenager (was it really an accident?), the natural death of a stranger, a suicide and a murder that shatters lives and futures.
William Kent Krueger renders a thoughtful portrait of small town life and the inhabitants therein. Via strong, multi-layered characterizations, the author maps the deep-rooted values that once marked the souls of flawed, God-fearing people. Frank narrates this story from the perspective of adulthood, which lends authority to the magnitude of grief and the search for understanding when evil impacts the lives and hearts of an entire community. In the end, the themes that emerge in this moving coming-of-age story become timeless as the Drum family could be any faith-filled family--past or present--forced to confront and come to terms with the vagaries of life, guilt and dark nights of the soul.
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Atria Books, $24.99, Hardcover, 9781451645828, 320 pp
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Please note: This book was provided for review by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster