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The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery (Starvation Lake Mysteries) by Bryan Gruley

The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery (Starvation Lake Mysteries)
The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery (Starvation Lake Mysteries)
Bryan Gruley
Formats available:
lit mobi lrf azw
Thrillers & Suspense
Touchstone; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
314 pages
PDF size:
1575 kb
FB2 size:
1999 kb
EPUB size:
1276 kb
WHEN GRACIE McBRIDE, the wild girl who had left town eighteen years earlier, is found dead in an apparent suicide shortly after her homecoming, it sends shock waves through her native Starvation Lake. Gus Carpenter, executive editor of the Pine County Pilot, sets out to solve the mystery with the help of his old flame and now girlfriend, Pine County sheriff deputy Darlene Esper. As Gus and Darlene investigate, they can’t help but question if Gracie’s troubled life really ended in suicide or if the suspicious crime-scene evidence adds up to murder. But in such a small town it’s impossible to be an impartial investigator—Gracie was Gus’s second cousin; Darlene’s best friend; and the lover of Gus’s oldest pal, Soupy Campbell. Yet with all the bad blood between Gus and Gracie over the years, Gus is easily distracted by other problems. His employer is trying to push him out, the locals are annoyed that his stories have halted construction on a new hockey rink, and Darlene’s estranged husband has returned to reclaim his wife. When Gus tries to retrace Gracie’s steps to discover what happened to her in the eighteen years she was away from Starvation Lake, he’s forced to return to Detroit, the scene of his humiliating past. And though he’s determined to find out what drove Gracie back home, Gus is unprepared for the terrible secrets he uncovers. The second book in Bryan Gruley’s irresistible Starvation Lake series, The Hanging Tree is a compelling story about family and friendship, sex and violence, and the failure of love to make everything right.

  • Cyregaehus
For local reporter Gus Carpenter, the apparent suicide of Gracie McBride is more than just a news story that shakes up his sleepy hometown of Starvation Lake, MI. Gracie was Gus' second cousin, and while she had a wild past, and their relationship was fractious, she appeared to be on the verge of pulling her life together. But even many of those closest to Gracie think it could have been suicide, and Gus is dissuaded from pursuing the truth.

The Hanging Tree is Bryan Gruley's second mystery featuring Gus Carpenter, following last year's Starvation Lake. Gruley captures the desperation, anger and hurt of a small town on the verge of total collapse, as well as the frustrations Gus feels on a daily basis about his promising journalistic career in Detroit being derailed, forcing his return home. Couple that with the never-ending resentment of many Starvation Lake residents who still hold a grudge about Gus' letting the winning goal score in a state hockey tournament some 20+ years earlier, and you can understand it's not easy being home.

Gruley is a great writer and I definitely enjoyed the twists and turns this story took. I really like Gus' character and many of the supporting characters who have appeared in both books; I can visualize many of them in my mind's eye. I was a little frustrated with this book, however, for two reasons. First, I felt as if Gruley threw every possible plot device--the estranged husband, the boss who just doesn't understand, the townspeople angry over something that happened years ago, etc.--into the story, which detracted from my full commitment to it. And second, it always frustrates me when so much in a book (or in life, for that matter) could be solved if people would just talk to one another. But instead, we had people avoiding one another, not saying how they feel, not answering the phone, etc. That being said, however, these are more my pet peeves than actual flaws in the story.
  • catterpillar
"The Hanging Tree" is the second of Bryan Gruley's Starvation Lake novels. We once again have intrepid reporter Gus Carpenter, working his beat and feeling his guilt over the state championship in hockey that he personally feels responsible for losing 20 years prior.

This new novel brings in a developing romance with a sheriff's deputy, Darlene. Things seem to be going well romantically but Gus's job is on the brink as his small-town newspaper is taken over by a money-first conglomerate.

Add to that the fact that Gus thinks there is something extremely fishy about the new hockey rink Starvation Lake has been promised by a wealthy father of a hockey prodigy. Plus wealthy father has hired a new hockey coach: Gus's girlfriend's husband, Jason. And Darlene's not divorced him yet.

Complications are myriad, the pace is fast, but Gus is faster. The title itself is enough to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up.

The prior book had more hockey for you hockey lovers, but this one had more secrets and far more intrigue.
  • Yalone
Tense and poignant at the same time.

I really liked this novel, mostly because the main character, Gus, is more than a little bit stubborn and hardheaded and when you add hockey into that mix there really isn't much not to love about the entire novel. I am a huge fan of the way that Gruley has Gus realize that even though he has lived with his cousin/de facto sister, Grace, for most of his life he doesn't know her. As he talks to "The Tramp" and Soupy he realizes that he really never knew her, he was just making assumptions and filling in the rest with what he wanted to believe, things that many of us are guilty of every day. It just took her dying and him prying into her life and ticking off several people for him to be able to see what had been in front of him the entire time, which is always sad. The landscape of the book is starkly drawn and when you are reading it you can see it in your mind cast with the grays and dreariness that (I think) would encompass Starvation Lake in the winter and it makes for a good read. I feel ashamed to say that I missed his first book but I'll be fixing that soon.
  • Viashal
Enjoyed it more than first salvation Lake book since I already knew many characters. Northern Michigan setting is authenic. Detroit setting is also but not as scary as depicted. Gruly still goes into too much hockey blah blah for this non-fan. Twist in story is fun. As former journalist i did run across a few wanna bes like Philo but most never finally got it as in book. All in all, good read well done.
  • MOQ
Bryan Gruley has done it again. His vividly painted community of Starvation Lake suffers another macabre, baffling murder and his newspaper-reporter sleuth once again must unravel the threads, led by clues from his past and often manipulated by the complex players in the drama. Friendships are strained as he follows his instincts to the conclusion. Gruley's experience as an investigative reporter as well as his immersion in Northern Michigan bring authenticity to every page. You can smell the decaying leaves underfoot as an unrelenting wind whistles through bare branches. A great follow-up to Starvation Lake, and an irresistible prelude to the final volume in this trilogy.
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