William Kent Krueger started out as a St. Paul treasure, writing his Minnesota-based, Indian-themed Cork O’Connor mysteries from a booth at the St. Clair Broiler. Then the rest of the country wised up, and for the past five years his books — including this year’s “Windigo Island” — have steadily hit the New York Times bestseller list.
And then came 2013’s “Ordinary Grace.” Not really a mystery (although the question of a death does thread through the novel), it was more a coming-of-age story, set in southwestern Minnesota in the 1960s. And that book caught on. Boy, did it catch on.
This year, “Ordinary Grace” — now in paperback — picked up every significant prize there is for writers of mysteries, starting with the biggie, the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, and then going on to nab the Barry Award, the Anthony Award and the Macavity Award. (Those four together are known as the “full EBAM.”)
This month, Krueger noted on Facebook: “This morning I finished the first draft of the companion novel to ‘Ordinary Grace.’ When published, it will be titled ‘This Tender Land.’ Oh God, I think it’s good. A lot of revision still to be done, but I believe I’ll pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and allow myself a little celebration of this milepost. Cheers!”
Almost immediately, his post garnered well over 1,000 thumbs-up.