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Starvation Lake: A Mystery (Paperback)
March 2009 Indie Next List
“Small towns love their sports teams as much as they love taking swipes at their local newspaper, but they also love their secrets. A secret lies frozen at the bottom of Starvation Lake, and the ice is starting to melt. Dripping with atmosphere and pitch-perfect dialog, Gruley captures the heart and hardships of small-town life.”
— Matt Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Harlan Coben meets early Dennis Lehane in this "smashing debut thriller" (Chicago Tribune), set in a small northern Michigan town by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
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.
"[A] smashing debut thriller. Gruley...knows how to drag you kicking and screaming into a story so gripping that you'll probably devour it in one gulp."
-- Chicago Tribune
"An engrossing picture of small-town America and the passions that simmer beneath its complacent surface. Brian Gruley: Remember the name. You should be hearing it often in the future."
-- The San Diego Union Tribune
"Bryan Gruley delivers a seamless tale of revenge, redemption, secrets and lost hope."
-- Sun-Sentinel (South Florida)
"His characters are genuinely flawed and, Carpenter especially, honestly likable. Gruley's gripping plot unfolds like a piece of investigative journalism..."
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Debuts don't come much more polished than this tale of corruption and redemption..."
-- The Cleveland Plain-Dealer
"Gruley deftly juggles several intricately related plots, and conveys the beauty and picturesque shabbiness of a northern Michigan town."
-- The Detroit News
"Gruley's outstanding debut effortlessly incorporates his inside knowledge...into a tale of violence and betrayal that will remind many of Dennis Lehane."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Many good crime novels appear every month, but few have the depth and poignancy of Starvation Lake, which deserves comparison with Dennis Lehane's Mystic River."
-- Booklist (starred review)
"A terrific first novel about what it means to be a journalist. Full of insider knowledge about hockey and great local color, this is not to be missed."
-- Library Journal (starred review)
"A great debut from a major talent."
-- New York Times bestselling author, Harlan Coben