Part mystery, part coming-of-age story, Ordinary Grace is one of my top reads of the year. Frank Drum, now in his forties, looks back at the summer that shaped the rest of his life, in 1961, when in his small Minnesota town, five people were murdered. The summer began as any ordinary one until Frank and his younger brother stumbled upon the dead body of a schoolmate, and ended with a death that hits close to home. Local police are sure the transient Indian is responsible, but Frank uncovers information that points elsewhere.
Krueger does a good job of bringing the '60's, these characters and boyhood struggles to life. He also addresses the hard issues of racism, justice, depression and forgiveness. The theme quote,
"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God" - Aeschylus
comes to life as Frank matures through some painful situations and recognizes that God's grace is often the result of great suffering.
Reminiscent of the movie "Stand By Me," (SK's "The Body") and some of my other favorite transitional novels: A Prayer for Owen Meany and To Kill a Mockingbird.