There comes a time in every life when childhood is placed firmly in the past and the future must be faced with the burgeoning wisdom of adulthood. But as Frank Drum learns in William Kent Krueger’s latest novel, Ordinary Grace, the price one often pays for this kind of wisdom is the loss of something infinitely more precious.
For Frank and his brother Jake, sons of the local minister, the death of a schoolmate named Bobby during the early days of the summer of 1961 heralds the crashing end to their idyllic boyhood in small-town Minnesota. The loss of a child sets tongues wagging and imaginations racing, but no one realizes that the aftermath of this death is the calm before the storm. By the summer’s end, others will join Bobby’s ranks, leaving the survivors to attempt to make sense of all that has been taken from them. When the Drum family is thrust into the center of the drama, Frank and Jake struggle to understand life through the lens of death and wrestle with the wisdom they have been granted through the awful grace of God.
Author of the successful Cork O’Connor detective series, Minnesota writer Krueger has no shortage of fans, but with Ordinary Grace he is poised to increase his following. Though this is a stand-alone novel, Krueger stays true to his roots, producing a thoughtful literary mystery that is wholly compelling and will appeal to fans of Dennis Lehane and Tom Franklin. Writing with aching clarity, Krueger deftly shows that even in life’s moments of unimaginable sadness there is beauty to be found. Don’t take the title too literally, for Krueger has produced something that is anything but ordinary.