Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary GraceOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The narrator of this book, Frank, is a 13-year-old boy in a small town in Minnesota. The year is 1961. Frank’s father is a minister, his sister a musical prodigy like her mother, and his younger brother a stutterer. Although there are several deaths, mostly violent ones, there is no serial killer, no ace detective or FBI agent pursuing anyone. This is a psychological drama masquerading as a mystery. It explores issues of faith, ambition, prejudice, and coming-of-age in a thoughtful way. It is well-written and I recommend it. If my praise seems lukewarm, it is only because the book is slow to start. There’s a great deal of character development and not much action until two-thirds of the way through the book. Even then, action is perhaps the wrong word. Exciting events and suspense might be more accurate. There is a homicide investigation going on, but for hard core mystery fans this is perhaps not the best choice. There was enough foreshadowing that the killer wasn’t difficult to identify a few chapters before the end. The imparted wisdom seemed at times too pat and too preachy, but the intelligence of the writing and the overall well-designed plot make this a worthwhile read.

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