The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley
A Starvation Lake Mystery

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Synopsis

Does Gus Carpenter really want to know what’s inside the skeleton box? In Anthony– and Barry Award–winning author Bryan Gruley’s gripping new novel, Gus must decide if the truth is better off dead and buried.

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.
 

About Bryan Gruley

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Bryan Gruley is reporter at large for Bloomberg News and the former Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. He has won the Anthony, Barry, and Strand Awards and was nominated for an Edgar Award for best first novel. He lives with his wife in Chicago. Visit BryanGruley.com.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Touchstone. 338 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Skeleton Box

Kirkus Reviews

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Mrs. B’s mysterious last non-word, “Nye-less,” sets Gus on the trail of a missing nun and a monstrous coverup 50 years old—a coverup that’s been so successful for so long that he, his ex-girlfriend Darlene Esper and Pilot reporter Luke Whistler have to go several rounds with interloping born-agai...

Jun 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Publishers Weekly

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Set in Starvation Lake, Mich., Edgar-finalist Gruley’s winning third novel featuring local newspaper editor Gus Carpenter (after 2010’s The Hanging Tree) finds him playing goalie for a men’s hockey league in his spare time and looking after his mother, who’s gradually slipping into dementia.

Apr 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Examiner

• Tuesday, June 5 — The Hidden Shamrock, 6:00 p.m. at 2723 North Halstead Street, Chicago, IL, 60614 • Monday, June 18 — Cook Park Library, 7:00 p.m. at 413 North Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville, IL, 60048 • Monday, June 25 — Anderson’s Bookshop, 7:00 p.m. at 123 West Jefferson Avenue, Napervill...

Jun 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Examiner

Cold Case Files meets Law & Order, Gruley’s story dredges up an old crime with the help of a new one and follows the mystery from modern day back to mid-century with flair like no other.

May 28 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Examiner

In march characters who are just as dogged by failure, insecurity and hidden violence as Carpenter himself: his mother, his employee at the town newspaper, his policewoman sometime-girlfriend, a mysterious and apparently villainous lawyer masquerading as a born-again Christian, a town sheriff who...

Jul 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Examiner

The characters too propel this story forward, whether it be Gus dealing with his feelings for Darlene, or trying to work with his sometimes-reliable reporter Whistler.

Jun 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

RT Book Reviews

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Gather Books

The narrator of THE SKELETON BOX, and, presumably, of the first two books in the series as well, is Gus, a newspaper editor in Starvation Lake.

Jul 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Mysterious Reviews

Review: Rural Michigan reporter Gus Carpenter gets drawn into a murder investigation that hits a little too close — the victim was found in his mother's home — in The Skeleton Box, the third, and what appears to be the final, Starvation Lake mystery by Bryan Gruley.

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Blogger News Network

The Skeleton Box: A Starvation Lake Mystery is the third book in the series and opens in March 2000 with somebody breaking into houses in Starvation Lake on bingo nights.

May 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Spinetingler Magazine

Then the home of Gus Carpenter’s mother, who appears to be in the early throes of dementia, is invaded on a night she chooses to go to sleep instead of playing bingo, and her best friend is found dead on the bathroom floor, bringing Gus to accelerate his investigation as editor of the local paper...

Oct 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

National Review Online

We discuss the plot of this mystery novel, the unsolved true-crime disappearance of a young nun in Michigan a century ago, and what Gruley, a professional journalist, thinks the future holds for newspapers and the news media.

Jun 12 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Chicago Sun Times

Gus’ paper has dubbed them the “Bingo Night Robberies” because on each weekly game night, someone ransacks the empty home of an elderly resident.

Jun 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Buried Under Books

When Gus starts investigating, the case cracks open the seal on a box of secrets kept hidden for decades.

Jul 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Skeleton Box: A Starvatio...

Reader Rating for The Skeleton Box
78%

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