I recently read William Kent Krueger’s, (author of the award winning, New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor Mystery Series) Ordinary Grace for the second time. It was the One Book South Dakota book last year, and since it’s classified as a mystery/detective novel, the first time through I was focused more on the plot than anything else. My only criticism was the the reader figures out the mystery long before any of the characters in the book do.
It’s about a family in Minnesota, the father a WWII veteran haunted by his past and now the minister of a local church. His wife married him when he still had pans to become a lawyer, but WWII changed that plan. She is a frustrated musician, trying her best to bring some musical culture to their small town. Our protagonist is the middle child, who through curious eyes, and those of his painfully shy younger brother, tells us the heartbreaking story of the disappearance of their older sister, a budding composer and singer, about to go off to Julliard.
The second time, already knowing what to expect from the plot, the quiet magnificence of this novel was easier to see. This is a great book. It’s a good story. The plot is convincing and so much more than a cookie-cutter whodunit. The characters are unique, interesting, and fully developed. The writing is beautiful. The lessons are subtle but wise.
If you don’t read this wonderful book you will never know what you’ve missed, but if you are a lover of good writing, you will diminished.