Customer Reviews for

Ordinary Grace

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted March 25, 2013

    To maintain complete transparency, Mr. Krueger and I are long-ti

    To maintain complete transparency, Mr. Krueger and I are long-time friends, we frequently travel together as the Minnesota Crime Wave, and I received a pre-release copy of this book at no cost to me.

    “Ordinary Grace” is a standalone novel, a project the author has long desired to write. The book is significantly different from his multiple-award-winning Cork O’Connor series. Yet there are links to the thoughtful, carefully structured, series of crime novels. In one sense, for those so inclined, a case can be made that here, Krueger addresses the ultimate mystery. “Ordinary Grace” benefits from everything the author has learned over the years writing the O’Connor novels. It is directly and powerfully written, wasting no words, yet always moving the story ahead at appropriate pace, depending on the actions of the characters and the plot. “Ordinary Grace” is a novel that will affect readers in unusual, interesting and, quite possibly, surprising ways.

    Set in a small community in southern Minnesota in 1961, this is how the story begins: “All the dying that summer began with the death of a child, a boy with golden hair and thick glasses, killed on the railroad tracks outside New Bremen, Minnesota.” The narrator is an adult white male, son of the Methodist minister in town. Frank is recalling the momentous events of that bygone summer when he was but thirteen years old, a teen-ager on the cusp of young maturity. The death of that child sets in motion events and revelations of suppressed attitudes that alter the lives and futures of many people in the town. Some of the people affected are important and wealthy, others, as plain and ordinary as one could imagine. Yet everyone in the novel is required to come to terms to greater or lesser degree, with who they are and how they must relate to family, friends, members of their faith, and how they function in the wider yet limited community. What Frank learns that summer, and equally importantly, how he sees and interprets the evil and the grace of that time, will affect him for his entire life. It’s an important lesson.

    Krueger’s writing, as always, is smooth and strong and the logic of the plot is easy to follow. While the story has many layers, there are no convoluted or tricky passages readers will have to struggle to interpret. That’s part of the book’s charm and its strength.

    The novel explores faith, mysticism, and rationality in thoughtful, even-handed and open ways that lend itself to recollection and continuing reflection, regardless of readers’ experiences in those areas of life. The characters, and there are many, are carefully and consistently well-drawn. This is a novel of discovery and exploration, for the author and for readers. A well-done reading experience for anyone.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    As much a literary novel as it is a mystery... William Ken Krue

    As much a literary novel as it is a mystery...

    William Ken Krueger’s new deeply human grief-ridden novel “Ordinary Grace” is as much a literary novel as it is a mystery.

    Told from the point-of-view of a 13-year-old boy, Frank, an about-to-be juvenile delinquent preacher’s son (according to the town), and featuring a brother who stutters, a sister with a harelip who sneaks out at night, a preacher father, a mother who hates his father’s calling as a minister, a drunk friend, less-than-stellar police, a renegade Indian, a town full of characters that would make any Southern writer happy (though this takes place in New Bremen, Minnesota), and numerous dead bodies.  The mystery, delightfully, is solved by Frank, the 13-year-old boy.

    With his father being a preacher and his father’s friend being an undertaker, death is an occupational natural to Frank’s household, though in this story one unnatural death seems to follow another.

    This is a coming of age story primarily with the backdrop of murders, which become increasingly more personal as the story progresses.  Nothing makes one grow up more than death.  

    “There’s something, it seems to me, that depends more on God and circumstances than our own efforts.”

    Krueger does an enviable and plausible job of letting Frank be the one who solves the crimes without making law enforcement in the story appear incompetent.  Kids love to spy and they can fit into small places.  Krueger plays it well.

    The novel reads like an autobiography, not a novel, which is a compliment to Krueger.  The voice is pure; the characters are real.

    Thematically, it is a story of weakness, timidity, and how not taking a stand not only destroys sunny afternoons and Sunday mornings, but also – and eventually – lives.  It is about prejudice, judgment, dark secrets, and how history leaves us, not with facts, but with the biased interpretations and sneers of survivors.  History, like faith, both in time, become personal and jaded.  It is a sad lesson for children: The dead are only one breath away from us.  Though the children make a vow with each other that they will never die, as Frank realizes, when we breathe that last breath, we cross the near veil, which was always closer than we thought.

    This is not a formulaic police procedural.  This is a story to remind us that we are human and that the important thing is not the big stuff.  The story will stick with you long after you put it down.
    - Clay Stafford, author, filmmaker, and founder of Killer Nashville

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    If you only read one book this year....let this be the one!

    In a departure from his Cork O'Connor series, Krueger gives the reader so much to think about. The characters are complex and fascinating and the plot will keep you guessing until the end. But this novel has a message that will stay with you long after you finish it. The best book I have read in a very long time

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    Memorable More than memorable

    Ordinary Grace is far from ordinary...5 stars for sure.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    I totally enjoyed this book, it kept me intrigued and i couldn't

    I totally enjoyed this book, it kept me intrigued and i couldn't put it down until I finished it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Lorrie

    A very good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    I loved this book. Takes you back to a time where adults were re

    I loved this book. Takes you back to a time where adults were respected by kids and people treated each other kindly. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2014

    The book hooked me in from the beginning and I could not stop re

    The book hooked me in from the beginning and I could not stop reading. Something about the tone of the story reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird . Both are stories of youngsters facing real life adult situations. I definitely plan to recommend this to my book club.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    One of the best books I have ever read. Check out the editorial

    One of the best books I have ever read. Check out the editorial reviews--they say it so much more eloquently than I can. I can only say I'm crying as I write this, and even though I know it is only fiction, I feel as if those characters and their lives are very real. The fact that a writer can do that is amazing to me. This book deserves to be read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I'm in two book club, one for over fifteen years. We have read

    I'm in two book club, one for over fifteen years. We have read a multitude of books, but this is my all-time favorite. My husband reads the author's Cork O'Conner books and loves them. I also enjoy them, so when I saw this stand-alone title, I was intrigued. I am on my second reading and am enjoying it as much as I did the first time. For me, this is a must read for all my friends. It is a book about a time long since gone, but familiar to all of us in our senior years. The characters are real, and I cared about each and every one of them. And then there is the story. I love a good story and this was one of the best I have read in a long time. I think this is a book I may read over and over. I don't have many like that. I truly loved this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Told from a young boy¿s perspective while growing up in a small

    Told from a young boy’s perspective while growing up in a small town, this is a remarkable insight into families, death, and adult relationships. The different and unique ways that this boy finds out about happenings and his concept of these revelations show an ability to understand the psyche of a child. The child’s relationship with his younger brother starts out ordinary, but because of the extraordinary circumstances they come to be involved with, that relationship also takes on a new meaning. The family is riddled with birth defects with adds issues in over coming them which also adds issues to the story. While reading this book, I could pull some of these characters out of my past. There is a lesson to be learned as we walk or stride through life and in the end ordinary grace saves the day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2014

    LOVED THIS BOOK! DIDN'T WANT IT TO END!

    LOVED THIS BOOK! DIDN'T WANT IT TO END!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Top of your list!

    I've read all of Kent's books and totally enjoyed them. He has a knack for making you feel you are part of "the family." Ordinary Grace does that. It is an intimate family story/mystery and you are somehow a part of it, feeling the love, the pain and the loss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2013

    This is a wonderful book. It's moving and thoughtful and deep. I

    This is a wonderful book. It's moving and thoughtful and deep. It has sadness and love and humanity and wonder. The characters are beautifully developed. There are great moments of faith and great questions about faith. There is mystery and intrigue. There is truth about life. This is really a wonderful book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    An Excellent Story! Frank, the main character, now 40 years old

    An Excellent Story!

    Frank, the main character, now 40 years old, reflects back to the summer of 1961 when he was thirteen-years-old. Set in a small Minnesota town where Frank’s father is a Methodist minister, the story begins with the death of a young boy on the railroad tracks and soon after a homeless man is found dead in that same vicinity and then Frank’s sister is missing. That summer a special bond develops between Frank and his younger brother, Jake. Jake stutters and is self-conscious and yet at times, he does not stutter at all. There is something special about Jake, in my opinion, a goodness that nothing can erase. I saw in Nathan Drum ,Frank and Jake’s father, that same sort of goodness. In fact he brought to mind Atticus Finch, the father in To Kill a Mockingbird. Ruth Drum, the boy’s mother is a gifted musician, a woman who is not wholly a believer, a woman who smokes and doesn’t care who sees her, a woman unsuited it would seem for a minister’s wife. One reviewer said “The book is filled with the genuine, often flawed characters that inhabit most small towns.” I smiled at the use of “small towns” for those characters live in every town and hamlet and city in the world, endless fodder for the storyteller. And all of us, whatever our flaws, are on a journey through life, a life often rocked by events so devastating we think we can not go on and yet we do, often in those worst of times we are touched by an ordinary grace that lifts us up so we can go on and even be happy again. I loved, loved, loved this story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    This is truly one of the best books I've read this year. The cha

    This is truly one of the best books I've read this year. The characters were true to life - especially the 13 year old narrator. I had a hard time putting it down. can't recommend it enough!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2013

    Exceptional story.

    Exceptional story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Was worth putting on my nook

    Good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    This is Krueger's attempt to move away from the Cork character in his previous books. Although I miss the characters in the previous series of books, Krueger did a very good job with this writing. It held his usual writing style, etc. One incident proved very moving to me when minister Nathan addressed his congregation after the death of his daughter; touching and moving "sermon", and needed reading a couple of times because it was so beautiful. You'll not be disappointed in this book, although Cork and other characters from previous books were not in this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Spottedleaf's Deputy Application

    Name: Spottedleaf &#10023 Gender: She-Cat &#10023 Why I should be deputy: I have been rping for a while now. It saddens me to know that roleplaying has fallen apart. Also, I have roleplayed as deputies before. Spottedleaf has had a couple of apprentices. If I was to be inactive, I would tell my clan first. I love playing with kits, training apprentices, hunting with warriors, and talking with elders. &#10023 Persona: Bubbly, has a knack for leadership, Stubborn, respectful, loyal. &#10023 Age: 17 moons. (I know she's young, but she has gone thru a lot and kniws a lot.)

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