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Ordinary Grace is the first stand-alone novel written by St.Paul, Minnesota-based mystery writer, Kent Krueger. Like his best-selling Cork O’Connor mysteries, the setting of the book is in Minnesota, this time in early 60’s New Bremen. The book won for Kreuger, the Edgar Award in 2014, which is awarded to outstanding mystery fiction by the Mystery Writers of America. While classified as a mystery, most of the first half of the book is apparently devoted to character development, as well as making the reader settle into the pre-Vietnam war 60’s world of small-town, Midwest America. The mysteries evolve around the middle part of the book, as prior deaths and missing persons and artifacts begin to cause concern and dissension among the characters.
The novel is a fictional account of mysterious deaths in North Bremen, Minnesota. The main protagonists are members of the Drum family, led by the narrator, Frank Drum, a 13-year old boy, seemingly advanced beyond his years. In pre-Vietnam Minnesota, strange and tragic events are told in the first person eyes of Frank, who ends up in the middle of many situations that call for quick decisions, resolute action, and tragically, deception and cover up. The story begins with the mysterious train accident leading to the death of a 13-year old boy, followed by the discovery of a body, and the murder of a beloved citizen of New Bremen, cover-ups, and the twisting and startling conclusion that keeps the reader both guessing, and concluding, on the outcomes of events to the very last chapter.
The events are given life by the the curious assortment of characters in New Bremen, beginning with Frank’s pious Methodist minister father, Nathan, his imperious and detached wife, Ruth, down to Nathan’s stuttering younger son, Jake.
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