Wednesday, January 07, 2015

First Wednesday Book Review: ORDINARY GRACE, William Kent Krueger

ORDINARY GRACE won just about all the awards the crime fiction community has to offer last year, and it is easy to see why. In this book, Krueger takes a break from his series detective and steps into a story that is timeless, and the crime, although not incidental, is not the primary attraction here.

The story takes place in a small Minnesota town in 1961. (The period detail is superb). Nathan Drum is a minister. He was set to be a lawyer until the war took any desire for courtroom combat out of him. This career change doesn't sit well with his wife, an atheist, who saw her life unfolding differently. But the family grows, with a daughter and two sons. Our narrator is Frank, a thirteen year old, who also serves as our detective when things begin to go awry. Much of the drama concerns the Drums' relationship with a family down the road that represents the life Mrs. Drum hoped to have.

This is book is about prejudice, the striving of ordinary men to do good, the misreadings that children make of adult situations, the conflict between the religious and the nonreligious, the rush to judgment both a town and its ill-prepared police force almost makes.

It is a deep and lovely written book that is worth your time. Highly recommended.

More book reviews can be found at Barrie Summy's place, right here. 

10 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

I thought this was a well-written book too, Patti. And it has a very good sense of place and time.

George said...

Rick Robinson is a big William Kent Krueger fan. I have some of Krueger's books but I haven't had time to read them (the story of my Life).

Barrie said...

This book sounds terrific. I'm looking forward to reading it. Looks like beautiful weather down here today, btw. :) Thanks for reviewing, Patti!

Richard said...

Barbara loved it. It's at the top of my 2015 list (I wanted to catch up on his series books first). George is right, I really love Krueger's writing.

John said...

I raved about this book back in 2013. The closest to a revisionist To Kill A Mockingbird I've read in decades. His treatment of outcast characters is remarkable and, for me, the most important part of the book.

R.T. said...

I am convinced that I need to read this one. Thanks, Patti. You are wonderfully persuasive.

Sarah Laurence said...

Fine review! Thanks for an intro to an author new to me.

Ellen Booraem said...

I haven't read any of this author's books--looks like I'd better get on it. This one sounds splendid. Thanks for the introduction!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Sounds like a good book, well worth reading.

Rose said...

You know I am a big mystery fan, but even more, I like a mystery with some substance to it. This one is definitely going on my must-read list!