Excerpt from Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Ordinary Grace

By William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2013,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2014,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Is Gus in t-t-trouble?" Jake asked.

"Some but not serious," my father replied.

"He didn't bust up anything?"

"Not this time. He got into a fight with another fellow."

"He does that a lot."

"Only when he's drunk," I said from the backseat. Making excuses for Gus was usually a responsibility that fell to my father but he was noticeably silent.

"He's drunk a lot then," Jake said.

"Enough." My father held up a hand and we shut up.

We drove Tyler Street and turned onto Main. The town was dark and full of delicious possibility. I knew New Bremen as well as I knew my own face but at night things were different. The town wore another face. The city jail sat on the town square. It was the second oldest building in New Bremen after the First Evangelical Lutheran Church. Both were built of the same granite quarried just outside town. My father parked diagonally in front of the jail.

"You two stay here," he said.

"I have to go to the bathroom."

He shot me a killing look.

"Sorry. I can't hold it."

He gave in so easily I knew he must have been dead tired. "Come on, then. You too, Jake."

I'd never been inside the jail but it was a place that had always appealed greatly to my imagination. What I found was a small drab room lit by fluorescent tubes and not much different in most respects from my grandfather's real estate office. There were a couple of desks and a file cabinet and a bulletin board with posters. But there was also along the east wall a holding cell with bars and the cell held a prisoner.

"Thanks for coming, Mr. Drum," the officer said.

They shook hands. Dad introduced us. Officer Cleve Blake appeared to be younger than my father and wore gold wire-rim glasses and behind them were blue eyes that had an unsettling frankness. Even though it was the middle of a night humid as hell he looked clean and neat in his uniform.

"A little late for you boys to be out, isn't it?"

"Couldn't sleep," I said to the officer. "Too hot."

Jake said nothing which was his usual strategy when he was concerned that he might stutter in public. I recognized the guy in the cell. Morris Engdahl. A bad sort. Black hair slicked in a ducktail and fond of black leather jackets. He was a year older than my sister who'd just graduated from high school. Engdahl didn't finish school. The story I'd heard was that he was kicked out for crapping in the locker of a girl who'd turned him down for a date. He drove the coolest set of wheels I'd ever seen. A black 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe with suicide doors and a shiny chrome grille and big whitewall tires and flames painted along its sides so that fire ran the length of the car.

"Well, if it ain't Frankfarter and Howdy D-D-D-Doody," he said. He had a shiner and when he talked his words came out slurred through a fat lip. From behind the bars he settled his mean eyes on Jake. "How's it g-g-going, retard?"

Jake had been called all sorts of things because of his stutter. I figured it had to get to him but usually all he did was clam up and stare.

"Jake's not retarded, Mr. Engdahl," my father said quietly. "He simply stutters."

I was surprised Dad knew Morris Engdahl. They didn't exactly run in the same circles.

"No sh-sh-sh-shit," Engdahl said.

"That's enough, Morris," Officer Blake said.

Excerpted from Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Copyright © 2013 by William Kent Krueger. Excerpted by permission of Atria Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Year, 1961

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  19The Arsonist:
    Sue Miller
  2.  103Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.