hits counter Starvation Lake - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Starvation Lake

Availability: Ready to download

In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake -- the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from th In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake -- the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder. Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie who let a state championship get away, crushing Coach's dreams and earning the town's enmity. Now he's investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town's past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.


Compare

In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake -- the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from th In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake -- the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder. Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie who let a state championship get away, crushing Coach's dreams and earning the town's enmity. Now he's investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town's past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.

30 review for Starvation Lake

  1. 4 out of 5

    LenaRibka

    4,5 stars A very good written mystery. No wonder, this book was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America, and won the Anthony, Barry and Strand Awards. Multi layered plot, excellent 1st person POV, unexpected turns, great portrayed characters, atmospheric and pretty enthralling mystery. You don't need to be an ice hockey expert to enjoy it, but if you like or at least understand how to play ice hockey, it could be helpful. 4,5 stars A very good written mystery. No wonder, this book was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America, and won the Anthony, Barry and Strand Awards. Multi layered plot, excellent 1st person POV, unexpected turns, great portrayed characters, atmospheric and pretty enthralling mystery. You don't need to be an ice hockey expert to enjoy it, but if you like or at least understand how to play ice hockey, it could be helpful.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Miss Kim

    I was drawn to this book by the title, Starvation Lake. My family has had a cabin for over 40 years in that area, and my interest was peaked immediately. After I finished the book, I was even more pleased to learn that the author has a cabin Big Twin Lake, just like me! The mystery is very well written, and there was more than one surprise. I highly recommend to any mystery fan, but it will be a special treat for those that are familiar with this area of Michigan. I enjoyed reading about the diff I was drawn to this book by the title, Starvation Lake. My family has had a cabin for over 40 years in that area, and my interest was peaked immediately. After I finished the book, I was even more pleased to learn that the author has a cabin Big Twin Lake, just like me! The mystery is very well written, and there was more than one surprise. I highly recommend to any mystery fan, but it will be a special treat for those that are familiar with this area of Michigan. I enjoyed reading about the different roads, bars, landmarks, etc that I have grow up with my entire life.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    A dnf for me, but I read more than halfway so giving it two stars. Gus Carpenter, young reporter, goes home after some kind of dust-up at a big city newspaper. He's now working for a smaller paper in said home town. And no, we aren't told what that's all about for the longest time. (I got tired of waiting to find out what Gus did or didn't do, or who he upset or killed or whatever the heck happened. When we are finally told what it was all about, I really didn't care.) As for the main story line: A dnf for me, but I read more than halfway so giving it two stars. Gus Carpenter, young reporter, goes home after some kind of dust-up at a big city newspaper. He's now working for a smaller paper in said home town. And no, we aren't told what that's all about for the longest time. (I got tired of waiting to find out what Gus did or didn't do, or who he upset or killed or whatever the heck happened. When we are finally told what it was all about, I really didn't care.) As for the main story line: When pieces of a snowmobile are pulled out of a local lake - a snowmobile which belonged to Gus' former hockey coach, and who died after falling through the ice many years before - old secrets start coming to light, including how, where and why the coach died. There's a bullet hole in the snowmobile AND the darn thing is found in a different lake than the one the coach drowned in. So what's going on? (Oh, and the body was never recovered.) There's also a handful of shady characters hanging about, including a former friend (?) who wants to build a marina on Starvation Lake. How he fits into all of this I hadn't a clue. There's also Gus' mother, who years earlier had a fling with the coach and a guy who possibly 'knows too much' and runs the Zamboni at the local rink. Then there are bosses (former and recent) who Gus has to deal with and three or four women, who I constantly got mixed up. The local police chief is a jerk and his assistant is a girl Gus used to date and I guess still likes. (Not sure about that.) I need to take a breath. None of this was in the least bit interesting. I hung on for the longest time, hoping for something, anything: an interesting character, original take on small-town life, secrets revealed. But there were far too many characters, too many unanswered questions and just sorting out who knows what and when and how and why was too much for me. I had to look back in the book several times to figure out - who is she? What? And was he a hockey player, too? Friend of Gus? Enemy? Huh? I could feel myself going to sleep more than once while reading and when that happens, it ain't good. I know this book, and series, has some tremendous, positive, great reviews. But sorrily, this ain't one of them. Two stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    Excellent Debut. One of the "Must Reads" of 2009. Brief Synopsis: The small town of Starvation Lake has had better days. Due to Coach Blackburn raising up a bunch of kids from the town into a competitor for the state hockey title, Starvation Lake become a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, the team lost their one chance at the title and Coach Blackburn died in a snowmobile accident several years later. Enter the main character, Gus Carpenter, in which the story is told in his first person narrative Excellent Debut. One of the "Must Reads" of 2009. Brief Synopsis: The small town of Starvation Lake has had better days. Due to Coach Blackburn raising up a bunch of kids from the town into a competitor for the state hockey title, Starvation Lake become a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, the team lost their one chance at the title and Coach Blackburn died in a snowmobile accident several years later. Enter the main character, Gus Carpenter, in which the story is told in his first person narrative. Carpenter was the player who is blamed for losing the State title since he was the goalie for the team that year. He is fleeing from Detroit under mysterious circumstances at the Detroit Times and is now works at the local newspaper, The Pilot. What happens next baffles the town, as Coach Blackburn's snowmobile resurfaces in the wrong lake. Carpenter quickly picks up some of the loose ends and starts to uncover the dark past of Starvation Lake and some of her residents. Overall Impressions: STARVATION LAKE is a phenomenal tour-de-force. It is a compelling story with several interesting characters, each with fundamental flaws. As Carpenter starts to unravel the mysteries of Coach Blackburn and his associates/friends things start to become more and more clear. The character development is crafted to perfection, as each character becomes more and more human and as the story progresses. Interwoven between the clues and plot lines are some wonderful recollections of hockey games and memories of the glorious past of Starvation Lake. These memories add to the realism of the town and the overall story and the accountability of the characters involved. Finding the truth surrounding Coach Blackburn's death is only the tip of the iceberg, and the reader is taken hold of and not let go until the concluding chapters. I would not miss this book when it is released. It is probably the best book I have read so far this year. Definitely a "must read." Good reading, J.Stoner More Reviews

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Starvation Lake is a highly atmospheric novel, with memorable characters and a swiftly moving plot. Bryan Gruley writes so convincingly about small town life that the book, at some points, aspires to literary fiction. He also writes so well about hockey that it could be a poignant coming of age sports narrative. Instead, it chooses to be a mystery, but only manages to be a fairly decent addition to the genre. Although the story, as conceived, is an interesting one, the protagonist/local reporter Starvation Lake is a highly atmospheric novel, with memorable characters and a swiftly moving plot. Bryan Gruley writes so convincingly about small town life that the book, at some points, aspires to literary fiction. He also writes so well about hockey that it could be a poignant coming of age sports narrative. Instead, it chooses to be a mystery, but only manages to be a fairly decent addition to the genre. Although the story, as conceived, is an interesting one, the protagonist/local reporter is infuriatingly slow to pick up on obvious clues. This is fine at first, but begins to grate by the end of the story. His crack reporting skills strain credulity when presented in conjunction with his frequent inability to connect a clear line of dots. There are also a number of plot points that are raised but never resolved, which just seems sloppy. Also, some clues (distinctive handwriting, anyone) read like they are actually written for a movie version instead of a book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    First time novelist Bryan Gruley (though seasoned writer--he's the Chicago Bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal) creates fascinating,multifaceted, believable characters in this book that you just KNOW you'd recognize if you walked past them on the street. Their quirks and their mysteries draw you in, as does the overlying story of new details emerging, literally, from the depths about the death of a beloved hockey coach. Presumed an accident, when bullet ridden evidence washes ashore 10 year First time novelist Bryan Gruley (though seasoned writer--he's the Chicago Bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal) creates fascinating,multifaceted, believable characters in this book that you just KNOW you'd recognize if you walked past them on the street. Their quirks and their mysteries draw you in, as does the overlying story of new details emerging, literally, from the depths about the death of a beloved hockey coach. Presumed an accident, when bullet ridden evidence washes ashore 10 yearslater years of cover ups and lies begin to unravel in the hands of two reporters for thetown's small newspaper. Warning--this book will keep you up late into the night because you just have to know a little bit more before you go to sleep, and then...you know how THAT goes! This is supposed to be the first book in a new series. If Gruley keeps writing like this, it's going to be a popular one. Fans of Dennis LeHane will especially like thisbook, I think.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jmrathbone

    Too much hockey! This would have been better as a novella. The primary plot was buried in hockey pucks. In the end, I was reminded of an old time mystery ploy where everyone gathered in the library where the villain(s) are revealed

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Reporter returns home to small town where he lost a state championship hockey match and still plays hockey with his buds. Body of his former coach shows up, but not where it's supposed to be. Too foul-mouthed for my taste. Reporter returns home to small town where he lost a state championship hockey match and still plays hockey with his buds. Body of his former coach shows up, but not where it's supposed to be. Too foul-mouthed for my taste.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    A very good first book in a series, a well drawn mystery, with hockey (!), journalism, and interesting characters. I'll read another! A very good first book in a series, a well drawn mystery, with hockey (!), journalism, and interesting characters. I'll read another!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dara S.

    If you are a hockey fan, this book is for you.

  11. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: The cast-iron railing wobbled in his hand as he climbed the porch steps. Gus Carpenter grew up in the small summer-resort town of Salvation Lake, Michigan, and was goalie for the town’s ice hockey team. He was hoping to become a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist in Detroit when his beloved boyhood hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, died by drowning in a snowmobiling accident. Now, five year’s later, Gus was fired from his job in Detroit, and is back as assistant editor of the Salvation First Sentence: The cast-iron railing wobbled in his hand as he climbed the porch steps. Gus Carpenter grew up in the small summer-resort town of Salvation Lake, Michigan, and was goalie for the town’s ice hockey team. He was hoping to become a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist in Detroit when his beloved boyhood hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, died by drowning in a snowmobiling accident. Now, five year’s later, Gus was fired from his job in Detroit, and is back as assistant editor of the Salvation Pilot. A police call sends him to Salvation Lake where part of a snowmobile is found. Not only is it the one that belonged to Blackburn, but there’s a bullet in it. I’ll admit this book started out a bit slow for me. I’m not a sports fan, and certainly not an ice hockey fan, so I wasn’t certain I was going to like this. However, the book quickly turned to being a book about people, rather than sport, and I never had any desire to stop reading. I read for character. Gruley creates great characters. Moreover, he creates fully-developed, interesting, realistically flawed, human characters. None of them are excessive or over the top. Instead, they are believable. Gruley also creates a very strong sense of place. He takes you to a town past it’s height of success, but struggling to maintain. It’s a town full of people who’ve lived there all their lives and see no reason to live anywhere else. He makes you feel the challenge of the weather but these are people accustomed to living with those challenges. The story is very well plotted and well written. One thing I personally appreciated was at points when other authors would have been tempted to insert a portent into the story; Gruley refrained from so doing. Rather than feeling manipulated into reading on, the plot and story’s pace compelled me to keep reading. Gruley has written a wonderful debut novel. I, for one, look forward to his next book. STARVATION LAKE (Unl. Inv/Journalist-Gus Carpenter, Michigan-Cont) - VG Gruley, Bryan – 1st book Touchstone, 2009, ARC - Trade Paperback Release ISBN: 1416563628

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Fantastic! Aleady downloaded and started The Hanging Tree. Read it in a day. It was so suspenseful couldn't put it down. Looking forward to more from this author. Gus Carpenter and the characters from Starvation Lake were fabulously written. The plot engaging. Thought I might be put off at first with the ice hockey theme that ran through out, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Haven't enjoyed a book this much since Faithful Place. Definitely will recommend this book to friends. Fantastic! Aleady downloaded and started The Hanging Tree. Read it in a day. It was so suspenseful couldn't put it down. Looking forward to more from this author. Gus Carpenter and the characters from Starvation Lake were fabulously written. The plot engaging. Thought I might be put off at first with the ice hockey theme that ran through out, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Haven't enjoyed a book this much since Faithful Place. Definitely will recommend this book to friends.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Brian Gruley's debut novel "Starvation Lake" starts slowly but picks up at around the half-way point. It is there that it delves into some dark, unpleasant topics and a subject matter that may turn some readers off, understandably. At the risk of possibly giving away some spoilers, I'll refrain from mentioning what that subject matter is, just that it is vital to the storyline and cuts to the heart of the motive. Gruley handles it gracefully, though, and does not trivialize the issue by turning Brian Gruley's debut novel "Starvation Lake" starts slowly but picks up at around the half-way point. It is there that it delves into some dark, unpleasant topics and a subject matter that may turn some readers off, understandably. At the risk of possibly giving away some spoilers, I'll refrain from mentioning what that subject matter is, just that it is vital to the storyline and cuts to the heart of the motive. Gruley handles it gracefully, though, and does not trivialize the issue by turning it into just another plot device. "Starvation Lake" could be described as a murder mystery, but that doesn't adequately describe the novel. I consider this more of a character study and an examination of journalism, with a mystery. Augustus "Gus" Carpenter is the flawed protagonist of the novel. He is the editor of a small newspaper for the small town of Starvation Lake, Michigan. His life is in a bit of a shambles because he recently moved back to town after a brief, unsuccessful stint as a reporter for the Detroit Times. It was unsuccessful due to the fact that he was disgraced and fired because of a story. Strangely enough, he was not disgraced because of plagiarism or libel. Indeed, his story was the truth. The disgrace was in how he obtained his information---a whistleblower---and the fact that he would not reveal his source to his editors. He now faces potential jail time for his decision to protect his source. Waiting for the shoe to drop, Carpenter spends his time editing stories about Bigfoot sightings, pothole repairs, and recipes for pasties. When he's not working, he's playing hockey with his middle-aged friends at the local rink and then hitting the local pub afterward for copious amounts of alcohol. Life is pretty boring until pieces of a snowmobile wash up on shore of Starvation Lake. The police identify it as the wreckage of a snowmobile belonging to Coach Jack Blackburn, the much-loved hockey coach in town, which is odd considering Blackburn supposedly died five years ago on another lake miles away. Granted, Blackburn's body was never found, as the city council at the time deemed that dredging the lake would have been a financial burden on an already-strained city budget. After forensics examines the wreckage and reveals a bullet hole, the word "murder" begins to circulate in town. Indeed, Carpenter---who was living in Detroit when Blackburn was allegedly murdered---quickly discovers long-dormant rumors of Blackburn's many affairs with married women in town. There were, it turns out, plenty of angry husbands who had a motive. The newsman in Carpenter can't resist the allure of a juicy murder mystery, but his investigation uncovers a seamy underbelly to the town he thought he knew and loved, an underbelly far worse and uglier than he could have imagined. Things also start getting personal when his mother is somehow linked to the police investigation and his best friend is arrested as a suspect. Can a journalist be completely objective in anything he or she writes? What if the news being reported directly affects loved ones and close friends? Gruley, the Chicago bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, brings his deep knowledge and experience of journalism and investigation into play in the novel, creating an intensely thought-provoking and believable psychological thriller. It's an outstanding debut novel from a writer who has a gift---much like his protagonist---of looking past the story to see the hidden stories within.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Gus Carpenter left Starvation Lake to make a name for himself and to exonerate himself for a shame that had been lain on his shoulders when he was a boy playing hockey. He'd nearly done it too, but circumstances landed him back in his hometown, his image and reputation as a newspaper reporter tarnished. He works as an editor for the local paper in town, where his bosses prefer softer news to hard hitting stories. When new evidence surfaces about the death of his childhood hockey coach who had di Gus Carpenter left Starvation Lake to make a name for himself and to exonerate himself for a shame that had been lain on his shoulders when he was a boy playing hockey. He'd nearly done it too, but circumstances landed him back in his hometown, his image and reputation as a newspaper reporter tarnished. He works as an editor for the local paper in town, where his bosses prefer softer news to hard hitting stories. When new evidence surfaces about the death of his childhood hockey coach who had died many years before, several people in Starvation Lake would rather leave the past in the past. What was perceived as an accident all those years ago, is now being investigated as a murder. The more Gus discovers, the more he realizes just how little he knew his coach--and several of the other townsfolk. I went into the novel hoping for a fast-paced read but found the book to be slow going at first. The author took his time setting the background and preparing the reader for what was to come. I was never bored, however. I settled into the novel and let it suck me in. And suck me in it did. While the mystery is significant to the novel, so are the relationships and side stories presented on the pages of the book. The sense of place is strong throughout the novel. Starvation Lake by name alone doesn't sound like an inviting place to live, but it is a beautiful mountain lakeside town like many others (in my own reading and visualization of the town, it was like a mountain town, but CJ pointed out in her comment it isn't one. I've never been to Michigan and so have no reference--I tend to pull images out of my own memory or from pictures I've seen. When I read the next book I'll try and think Lake Elsinore instead of Lake Tahoe.). The name of the town is quite fitting in some respects--more than just for the reason given in the novel. The town has suffered its share of financial woes and is struggling to stay afloat. Business is hurting. The town is also full of secrets, some darker than others. As the story unfolded, it picked up speed and came together in a satisfying way. I feel like I was right there, alongside the characters. Each of the characters was fully developed, none without their own flaws. I liked the fact that the novel had so many layers to it. I am really curious about the author's next book in the series and hope to read it soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    This is Gruley's first book and is set in northern Michigan. The protagonist Gus Carpenter is a journalist/editor who has returned to his hometown of Starvation Lake after leaving for the big city of Detroit where he ran into a little ethical trouble. This book recounts Gus' growing up years on the local hockey team and the mystery of some doings in Starvation Lake that occurred back in those days. I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling things. The characters drove this story for me. I li This is Gruley's first book and is set in northern Michigan. The protagonist Gus Carpenter is a journalist/editor who has returned to his hometown of Starvation Lake after leaving for the big city of Detroit where he ran into a little ethical trouble. This book recounts Gus' growing up years on the local hockey team and the mystery of some doings in Starvation Lake that occurred back in those days. I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling things. The characters drove this story for me. I liked all of them, their stories and Gruley's portrayal of them. I enjoyed my time with them and look forward to the next book. The book suffers a bit from the common problem of firsts--it can be a little wordy and detailed in spots. There are a lot of hockey details, which was fine by me but may put others off a bit. Stick with it. It is worth the ride.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    Great story and mystery. I live in Michigan and so many of the places and references were familiar to me. I also love hockey which was a theme in this book. This was a page turner and I really liked the characters and character development. I literally did not want to put it down and was crazy with the anticipation of the ending, but still enjoyed the story and the new details and twists that kept popping up. The characters were very believable and even though it had some very gritty subject mat Great story and mystery. I live in Michigan and so many of the places and references were familiar to me. I also love hockey which was a theme in this book. This was a page turner and I really liked the characters and character development. I literally did not want to put it down and was crazy with the anticipation of the ending, but still enjoyed the story and the new details and twists that kept popping up. The characters were very believable and even though it had some very gritty subject matter....I found it to be a very "real" feeling story. I highly recommend it. 5 Stars!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    Gus played hockey in Starvation Lake's youth league. After his failure as a reporter in Detroit he gets a job at the Starvation Lake Pilot as assistant editor. After the snowmobile of a hockey coach who has been missing for ten years washes up on the wrong lake, he and one of his reporters investigate uncovering hidden secrets and unwanted facts about the coach and the town. Gus played hockey in Starvation Lake's youth league. After his failure as a reporter in Detroit he gets a job at the Starvation Lake Pilot as assistant editor. After the snowmobile of a hockey coach who has been missing for ten years washes up on the wrong lake, he and one of his reporters investigate uncovering hidden secrets and unwanted facts about the coach and the town.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    Excellent debut mystery. This book was nominated for both the Edgar and the Anthony for best first Novel. Really enjoyed the small town Michigan setting and the mix of sports and suspense.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    A well crafted mystery, and I thoroughly enjoyed the northern Michigan setting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Dawson

    3.75 rounded up. Starvation Lake is well crafted, atmospheric, suspenseful, and is REALLY thorough on the subject of Hockey. It's like Fargo, as in there is snow everywhere, it's bleak, and moves a high speed with multiple characters influencing the outcome. At the begining of Starvation Lake I quickly picked up on a possible motivation for what popped off this whole thing. I kept thinking, "Oh dont be THAT! It's too obvious!". But, then it started looking like it wasn't THAT and I was like, "Sw 3.75 rounded up. Starvation Lake is well crafted, atmospheric, suspenseful, and is REALLY thorough on the subject of Hockey. It's like Fargo, as in there is snow everywhere, it's bleak, and moves a high speed with multiple characters influencing the outcome. At the begining of Starvation Lake I quickly picked up on a possible motivation for what popped off this whole thing. I kept thinking, "Oh dont be THAT! It's too obvious!". But, then it started looking like it wasn't THAT and I was like, "Sweet! It's not THAT! Woo hoo! Cant wait for the twist that reveal what it is." Sadly though it did turn out to be THAT and the twist wasn't the motivation but rather who/and many were involved. Which, was basically the whole town. So I still got bamboozled I guess which is what a good suspense is supposed to do. A futher con for the story was the over abundance of characters. When the antagonists are revealed at the end I had to look back to find out exactly who they were. A huge pro for me was Gus. I really liked him. I liked being in his head. For that reason I'd continue with this series. Also, this book is written in 2009 but the tech seems to still be late 90s for some reason. Im pretty sure most communication in Starvation Lake happened on telephones, and not even cordless ones. Most professional people in 2009 had personal communication devices and were addicted to email. It just seemed more dated than it needed to be.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    4.5 stars. Gus Carpenter returns to Starvation Lake after working as a reporter in Detroit and getting into trouble by withholding the source of one of his stories. Gus runs "The Pilot," a local newspaper and when a snowmobile washes up at Walleye Lake, Gus goes to the scene. Sheriff Dengus Aho refuses to give him any information but later, the vehicle is identified as that of missing hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, who hasn't been seen since 1988. Gus assignes his reporter, Joanie McCarthy to invest 4.5 stars. Gus Carpenter returns to Starvation Lake after working as a reporter in Detroit and getting into trouble by withholding the source of one of his stories. Gus runs "The Pilot," a local newspaper and when a snowmobile washes up at Walleye Lake, Gus goes to the scene. Sheriff Dengus Aho refuses to give him any information but later, the vehicle is identified as that of missing hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, who hasn't been seen since 1988. Gus assignes his reporter, Joanie McCarthy to investigate while he attends a meeting. A former hockey teammate and current real estate developer, Teddy Boynton, wants to build a marina and build a luxury hotel on the lake and wants Gus to support his project in the paper. The story flashes back to 1970 when coach Blackburn arrived in Salvation Lake from Canada. He had coached there and began coaching again. This time, with younger players that he could develop into a strong team. In this group was Gus, his friend "Soupy" Campbell and Boynton. Eventually, the talent got better and the team was set to challange for a state championship. Blackwell's firey enthusiasm was catching and with the team's success, the town developed. The coach acted as pitchman for developer Francis Dufrense. However, the team came up one victory short and then, interest in the team and the town dwindled. With finding the snowmobile, secrets that had been hidden for almost twenty years gradually came out. What was the coach and his assistant, Leo Redpath, hiding? Somehow, a number of young men who played for the coach seemed to change and become withdrawn but no one could put it all together until Gus and his reporter, Joanie, began digging. This is a splendid debut novel. The plot based story has excellent character development and Gus and his pal, Soupy, are very well described. The author has a background in hockey and in news reporting and he used both to create a realistic, fast moving story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    2.5 stars. I picked up the book because I saw The Hanging Tree, which looked interesting. Then I saw it was the second in the series, so hunted down the first one. This book was compared to Denis Lehane, one of my favorites, and had a quote from Harlan Coben- my favorite thriller writer- on the cover. Sorry to say, it was a let down. The book takes place in northern MI, with some back story in Detroit. My stomping grounds, I should love it, right? This writer has a bad habit of going off on tang 2.5 stars. I picked up the book because I saw The Hanging Tree, which looked interesting. Then I saw it was the second in the series, so hunted down the first one. This book was compared to Denis Lehane, one of my favorites, and had a quote from Harlan Coben- my favorite thriller writer- on the cover. Sorry to say, it was a let down. The book takes place in northern MI, with some back story in Detroit. My stomping grounds, I should love it, right? This writer has a bad habit of going off on tangents. Then another tangent, and then another. I realize some is providing a bit of background info, but he spends pages on what could be covered in a paragraph or two. Also, being northern MI, he has the hockey obsession down-pat. But this book should be classified as a hockey novel, not a murder mystery. A bit much for my taste- and I am into it! As far as the mystery: I had the "motive" figured out about 40% into the book, and had the murder figured out about 60% in. Still plugged away to see how it would pan out. The last chapter he tried to make the story into a way bigger issue than it needed to be, just gave the whole book an overblown feel. Didn't NOT like it enough to only give it two stars, but poor writing and a big let down, so I can't say I liked it. I will not be reading Hangman's Tree. Bummer. Certainly glad Harlan's writing is better than his taste in reading, and in no way does this compare to the in depth characters and fast paced plots of Lehane.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    A good first novel/mystery. Not perfect, but pretty darn good for a first book. The author is a journalist, and the training is happily evident as he writes well and generally moves the story along. The locale is the town (and lake) of Starvation Lake, "up north" in Michigan - being a non-up north Michigander, it was fun, as always, to read a book set in nearby geography. The book includes a prologue that's never really explained, not clearly anyway, but it's short so keep reading and forget the A good first novel/mystery. Not perfect, but pretty darn good for a first book. The author is a journalist, and the training is happily evident as he writes well and generally moves the story along. The locale is the town (and lake) of Starvation Lake, "up north" in Michigan - being a non-up north Michigander, it was fun, as always, to read a book set in nearby geography. The book includes a prologue that's never really explained, not clearly anyway, but it's short so keep reading and forget the prologue part. The main character, a journalist (natch), is a flawed but likable person, so it's no hardship spending time with him (in first person), although he's a little slow on the uptake sometimes (I figured out the Big Secret more than a few pages before he did, and I'm no genius). First books (mysteries, novels) are often not 100%, and this book follows that pattern; however, if the author keeps going - and I hope he does - I think both his writing (very good) and plotting (needs some work, but still good) will improve and he'll be a mystery writer to follow.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lexi Kate

    As a mystery novel aficionado i have often found that, even allowing for the 'detective's prowess at their job, they are often too omniscient in regards to their 'case' or posses inhumanely accurate instincts. 'Trap', our protagonist in this story, falls into neither of those categories. In fact I understood at least part of the big picture before he did. This bothered me at first, I was used to my main characters figuring out the mystery before I even had an inkling, but then I realized that it As a mystery novel aficionado i have often found that, even allowing for the 'detective's prowess at their job, they are often too omniscient in regards to their 'case' or posses inhumanely accurate instincts. 'Trap', our protagonist in this story, falls into neither of those categories. In fact I understood at least part of the big picture before he did. This bothered me at first, I was used to my main characters figuring out the mystery before I even had an inkling, but then I realized that it was completely appropriate in this situation. He was literally living within the crime, making it much harder to see it from the outside. The point I am trying to make is that I had to check the cover of the book after I finished it to make sure it was really a novel and not a personal account. The characters are real people, the crazy twist feel like real twists. This is a fantastic story that feels like a bit of real life contained within a few pages.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This was good. In large part, it was very good. I think he captured the feel of a dead-end newspaper guy in a small northern Michigan town really well, and I thought most of the characters had good honest voices. But man. I won't say much because I'd be giving away too much of the mystery's resolution, but he uses a plot point that I am really quite over in good mystery books. In fact, I finished this maybe two weeks ago but have waited to write about it, hoping I could get more objective about This was good. In large part, it was very good. I think he captured the feel of a dead-end newspaper guy in a small northern Michigan town really well, and I thought most of the characters had good honest voices. But man. I won't say much because I'd be giving away too much of the mystery's resolution, but he uses a plot point that I am really quite over in good mystery books. In fact, I finished this maybe two weeks ago but have waited to write about it, hoping I could get more objective about the denouement. It turns out I can't, really (and let's be clear I don't think it was bad, or unearned, just...tired, but I feel bad saying it's tired). Yeah, so, I'd recommend it with the caveat that there's one plot point that's pretty staid. I almost wish it weren't a mystery at all, because I think Gruley could have an almost Russo-esque eye for small towns and small events.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    When 32 yr. old journalist Gus Carpenter returns to work at his hometown paper after several years at a big newspaper in Detroit, it is a bittersweet time for him. He is bored until parts of a snowmobile wash up on Walleye Lake and it is determined to be the lost snowmobile of the much beloved former hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, presumed dead for many years. But Coach drowned on Starvation Lake, not Walleye. What's going on? And why is there a bullet found in the vehicle? Thus begins Gus's ques When 32 yr. old journalist Gus Carpenter returns to work at his hometown paper after several years at a big newspaper in Detroit, it is a bittersweet time for him. He is bored until parts of a snowmobile wash up on Walleye Lake and it is determined to be the lost snowmobile of the much beloved former hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, presumed dead for many years. But Coach drowned on Starvation Lake, not Walleye. What's going on? And why is there a bullet found in the vehicle? Thus begins Gus's quest to uncover the mystery behind the coach's death, and his inquiries uncover many secrets of this small Michigan town. There are several twists and turns to this plot and it kept me reading into the night. Great first novel, Bryan!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    3.5 stars At 30 pages I was thinking of moving on, and not much had changed at 50 pages, but I gave it 70 pages and that seemed to be the magic number as the book took off, never turning back. Many reviewers complained that there's too much hockey in the book, but I found there to be no more than was needed to build the plot. I'm not a hockey fan, and it didn't turn me away at all. This book was more like literature than mystery in genre going in deep with both character development as well as ho 3.5 stars At 30 pages I was thinking of moving on, and not much had changed at 50 pages, but I gave it 70 pages and that seemed to be the magic number as the book took off, never turning back. Many reviewers complained that there's too much hockey in the book, but I found there to be no more than was needed to build the plot. I'm not a hockey fan, and it didn't turn me away at all. This book was more like literature than mystery in genre going in deep with both character development as well as how those characters affected the community they lived in. If you like literature but want something a little lighter to read and also enjoy thrillers but want something with more substance this is definitely the book for you. That being said there are dark themes explored in this novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    While reading the first half of this book, I was ready to give it five stars. It really has a lot going for it. It reads like Richard Russo but with a plot. Small town prodigal son, great cast of characters, really clear sense of place. Then something happened, which for the two long-time followers of my reviews will somewhat spoil the plot. That thing that I don't like to read about? Turns out the book is about it. That said, it's handled much better here than in just about any other book I've While reading the first half of this book, I was ready to give it five stars. It really has a lot going for it. It reads like Richard Russo but with a plot. Small town prodigal son, great cast of characters, really clear sense of place. Then something happened, which for the two long-time followers of my reviews will somewhat spoil the plot. That thing that I don't like to read about? Turns out the book is about it. That said, it's handled much better here than in just about any other book I've read. I almost didn't dock my customary star for books with that particular plot element, but in the end I had to. Still highly recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I originally hail from Michigan (although further south than this story's setting), so I appreciate the local color and Gruley's perfectly Michiganian setback for Gus in his final race to the answers. But what really makes this here is that while you'll likely catch on early to Gus's most obvious oversights in memory, Gruley twists the plot a few more times thereafter as he draws in greater depth. I originally hail from Michigan (although further south than this story's setting), so I appreciate the local color and Gruley's perfectly Michiganian setback for Gus in his final race to the answers. But what really makes this here is that while you'll likely catch on early to Gus's most obvious oversights in memory, Gruley twists the plot a few more times thereafter as he draws in greater depth.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

    As a lifelong Michigan resident, I was able to immediately pinpoint the area this book is based in. As a long time hockey fan, I figured out the plot within 20 pages, and had no trouble identifying the incident(s) it was based on. No matter. This was an entertaining book, and an excellent first effort. Not up to snuff with my favorite Michigan series written by Steve Hamilton, but still pretty darn good.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.