This is Barb Gross with the Sioux City Public Library and you're listening to Check It Out. Today I'm recommending Ordinary Grace, the 2014 Edgar Award-winning novel by Minnesota writer William Kent Krueger. Although Krueger is primarily known for his mystery writing, Ordinary Grace is a compelling blend of mystery and literary fiction. The prose is clean and soaring in passages and the story digs deep into themes of love and loss, redemption and grace. A middle-aged Frank Drum who serves as the book's narrator looks back on the Summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota. When he was just 13 years old. The summer when death in five different cases shook Frank's family and their small-town community to the core. On the very first page of the book we learn that Frank's friend Bobby Cole, has been killed in an accident out on the railroad tracks. Sliced into pieces by 1000 tons of steel speeding across the Prairie towards South Dakota. No one knows if the boy stood in front of that train or if he was pushed or placed there. More deaths follow, one that rips apart Frank's family which includes his Methodist Minister Father, his artistic mother, Julliard-bound older sister and stuttering kid brother. Young Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery and betrayal. He's called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years. Ordinary Grace's strong sense of place in rural Minnesota setting make you feel nostalgic, like the book could be set in any small Midwestern town. Check out Ordinary Grace and other great works of fiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library.
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