William Kent Krueger has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Not only is he from Minnesota, he is a great writer. So far, I had only read books that were part of his Cork O'Connor mystery series. He also has two stand-alone books, and I received one of them—Ordinary Grace—for my birthday.
Ordinary Grace is a coming-of-age novel narrated by Frank Drum. Frank tells the story of one life-changing summer in the small town of New Bremen, Minnesota. Frank's innocence is shattered through a series of deaths that have an impact on his family and the entire community. Frank and his brother, Jake, struggle with making the right decisions that no child should have to make. Much of the information Frank and Jake receive comes as a result of eavesdropping. This was something I could really relate to, since as a kid I eavesdropped myself and learned things I really didn't want to know. But I also understood Frank's desire to be let in on things and being driven to eavesdrop. It was a clever and accurate way to include conversations the adults wouldn't have had in front of the kids, and for Frank and Jake to receive the information they needed to drive the story along.
Ordinary Grace isn't a particularly original story. I figured out pretty much from the start where it was going. That said, it is beautifully written and, to me, conveyed a sense of warmth, like an old quilt. I'd definitely like to see more stand-alone novels like this from William Kent Krueger.
I've also been reading The Woman in Black, and last night I started Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. It's my book club's November selection and, while I usually wait until closer to our meeting to start the book, National Novel Writing Month starts Friday so my reading time will be greatly reduced over the next several weeks.