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Starvation Lake a novel by Bryan Gruley

Murder mystery by Bryan Gruley

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Decent but Could Have Been A Lot Better!

  • May 7, 2009
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This book has a very "Mystic River" feel to it.  Even the titles are similar as they both reference bodies of water.  Gus Carpenter is a reporter for the local newspaper (The Pilot).  One day he spies the police recovering what looks like the snowmobile that belonged to his hockey coach (Blackburn) who supposedly drowned in Starvation Lake several years earlier.   As Gus tries to investigate the details of what actually happened to Blackburn, everybody seems to not want to talk to him from the police to his own mother.  What makes it worse is that everybody has an attitude like they are hiding something "dirty" but forget about it and move on.

Meanwhile Gus is dealing with a few problems of his own such as it seems he was mysteriously run out of Detroit from a reporting job that he had.  As Gus lets the details come to the surface, the reader learns that Gus must give up a source from a story he covered or he will face going to jail and also lose a cash settlement for a family he tried to help.


This book had all the elements to be great but what hurt it for me is that people make it too obvious throughout that they are hiding something.  As the book unfolds the "dirty" secret surrounding Blackburn becomes apparent to the reader, while it takes Gus till close to the end of the book to figure it out.  Also the reader can guess what actually befell Blackburn so it is no secret when it is actually revealed.  I give this book about three and a half stars but round it grudgingly up to four.

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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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Gruley's outstanding debut effortlessly incorporates his inside knowledge of both the newspaper business and his hockey avocation into a tale of violence and betrayal that will remind many of Dennis Lehane. After crossing an ethical line while writing an investigative series for the Detroit Times, reporter Gus Carpenter has returned to his hometown of Starvation Lake, Mich., to work for the local paper, whose stories mostly reflect the pedestrian and placid nature of smalltown life. That changes when evidence surfaces that the town's legendary hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, who disappeared after an apparent snowmobile accident a decade earlier, was actually murdered. Carpenter's reopening of the case, which has personal resonance for him (he'd been the goalie for the amateur boys' team Blackburn coached), shakes all sorts of skeletons loose. Gruley, the Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau chief, has a gift for making all his characters, from the leads to the bit players, realistic.  From Publisher's Weekly
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ISBN-10: 1416563628 (pbk.)
ISBN-13: 9781416563624 (pbk.)
Author: Bryan Gruley
Publisher: Touchstone
Date Published: March 3, 2009
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