June 26, 2012

The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley

The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley is the latest novel as part of the author’s “Starvation Lake” mystery series. Mysteries and lies are ripping apart the small community in Michigan called Starvation Lake, but sometimes the truth is better left hidden.

Book Description
Mysterious break-ins are plaguing the small town of Starvation Lake. While elderly residents enjoy their weekly bingo night at St. Valentine’s Catholic Church, someone is slipping into their homes to rifle through financial and personal files. Oddly, the intruder takes nothing—yet the “Bingo Night Burglaries” leave the entire town uneasy.

Worry turns into panic when a break-in escalates to murder. Suddenly, Gus Carpenter, editor of the Pine County Pilot, is forced to investigate the most difficult story of his life. Not only is the victim his ex-girlfriend Darlene’s mother, but her body was found in the home of Bea Carpenter—Gus’s own mother. Suffering from worsening dementia and under the influence of sleeping pills, Bea remembers little of the break-in.

With the help of Luke Whistler, a former Detroit Free Press reporter who came north looking for slower days and some old-fashioned newspaper work, Gus sets out to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when the story leads him to a lockbox his mother has kept secret for years, Gus doesn’t realize that its contents could forever change his perception of Starvation Lake, his own family, and the value of the truth.” – The Skeleton Box

My Thoughts
The Skeleton Box is a good mystery novel set in a believable small town America community. It features Gus Carpenter, the editor for the “Pilot” as being the reporter to uncover the truth behind the mysterious break-ins going on in the town. The plot is good, and I don’t want to give away very much from it – but it is somewhat predictable.

The author does a very good job with bringing the characters in the novel to life. You get a feel for them rather quickly, and are involved in their story as the novel progresses. The setting captures the feel for the area remarkably well, and both of these elements give the reader a good overall impression of the story without too much extra prose describing everything in minute detail.

I enjoyed this story, but not as much as I could have. Something was just missing from it, and I’m not sure what exactly it was. I didn’t read the previous two novels in the series (Starvation Lake and The Hanging Tree), so perhaps that was it. Regardless of that though, I do recommend it for mystery novel fans to read, as I’m sure you’d likely enjoy the story.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Skeleton Box, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I'll add all 3 to my wishlist but I think I'd read them in order to enjoy it more.