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

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Ordinary Grace

by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2014, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Jake spoke up. "It means he won't have to w-w-worry about everybody making f-f-f-fun of him."

Gus eyed Jake and blinked. "Maybe you're right. Maybe that's the reason. What do you think, Captain?"

"Maybe."

Gus nodded as if that had satisfied him. He bent toward the open car door to get into the backseat but instead stood there making awful retching sounds.

"Ah, Gus. All over the upholstery," my father said. Gus straightened up and pulled his shirttail from his pants and wiped his mouth. "Sorry, Captain. Didn't see it coming."

"Get in front," my father said. He turned to me. "Frank, you and Jake are going to have to walk home. Do you have a problem with that?"

"No, sir. We'll be fine. But could we have the tire iron from the trunk? For protection?"

New Bremen wasn't at all the kind of town where you'd need a tire iron for protection but I nodded toward Jake, whose face had gone a little white at the prospect of walking home in all that dark, and my father understood. He popped the trunk and handed me the iron.

"Don't dawdle," he said.

He climbed into the driver's side. "You have to puke again, Gus, puke out the window. Understand?"

"I read you loud and clear, Captain." He smiled gamely and lifted a hand to us as my father drove away. Under the moon we stood on the empty square. The city jail was the only lit building we could see. On the opposite side of the green the courthouse clock bonged four times.

"It'll be light in an hour," I said.

"I don't want to walk home," Jake said. "I'm tired."

"Then stay here."

I started away. After a moment Jake came too. We didn't go home. Not directly. At Sandstone Street I turned off Main.

Jake said, "Where are you going?"
"You'll see."

"I want to go home."

"Fine. Go home."

"I don't want to go home alone."

"Then come on. You'll like this, I swear."

"Like what?"

"You'll see."

A block off Main on the corner of Walnut was a bar with a sign over the door. Rosie's. A '53 Indian Chief with a sidecar was in the lot. Gus's motorcycle. Only one automobile was still parked there. A black Deuce Coupe with fire painted along its sides. I approached that beauty and spent a moment running my hand admiringly over the slope of the front wheel well where a silver snake of moonlight shot along the black enamel. Then I set myself and swung the tire iron and
smashed the left headlight.

"What are you doing?" Jake cried.

I walked to the other headlight and once again the sound of shattering glass broke the stillness of the night.

"Here," I said and offered the tire iron to my brother. "The rear lights are all yours."

"No," he said.

"This guy called you a retard. You and Bobby Cole. And he called Ariel a harelip and Dad a pussy. You don't want to break something on his car?"

"No." He looked at me then at the tire iron then at the car. "Well, maybe."

I handed that magic wand of revenge to Jake. He walked to the back of Morris Engdahl's precious set of wheels. He glanced at me once for reassurance then swung. He missed and banged metal and
the tire iron bounced out of his hands.

"Jeez," I said. "What a spaz."

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.

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