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The Hanging Tree (Starvation Lake Series #2)
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The Hanging Tree (Starvation Lake Series #2)

3.9 31
by Bryan Gruley
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When the body of Gracie McBride is discovered hanging in a tree on the outskirts of Starvation Lake, Mich., journalist Gus Carpenter, Gracie's second cousin, isn't convinced it's suicide in Edgar-finalist Gruley's absorbing follow-up to Starvation Lake (2009). Even though he and Gracie had their differences--Gracie was always a wild child and left Starvation Lake 18 years earlier--Gus feels obliged to investigate her death, especially after he uncovers Gracie's ties to the plan for an expensive new hockey rink. Millionaire lawyer Laird Haskell has recently moved to town with his family, including teenage son Taylor, who looks like Starvation's most promising goalie since young Gus's days on the ice, and promises to fund a state-of-the-art facility. When Gus starts poking into Haskell's business dealings, he unearths unsavory links with Gracie's troubled life during her time away from Starvation. Gruley vividly evokes the frigid Michigan winters and the even chillier atmosphere of an insular community determined to keep its secrets. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
The Hanging Tree is a terrific story, a dark-hearted mystery entwined in a bullet-fast thriller. Gruley is one of the good ones.” —John Sandford

The Hanging Tree is an engrossing, sure-footed mystery that manages to be both suspenseful and deeply touching.” —Gillian Flynn, Edgar nominee and New York Times Bestselling Author

“Haunting, observant, and filled with complex characters that will remind you just how much you don't trust your neighbors. The Hanging Tree will pry its way into your imagination. And it won't leave."

  • —Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author

    “As with ‘Starvation Lake’ before it, ‘The Hanging Tree’ is an exceptionally well-written novel by an author who has mastered the conventions of his genre. Discriminating readers will be anxiously awaiting the third book in this promising series.” —Associated Press

    “Gruley captures the hardscrabble life of a recession-rocked small town and the deep interrelations of the inhabitants while delivering complex, intriguing characters caught up in trouble. His take on contemporary journalism is Evelyn Waugh-worthy. Another winner.” Booklist

    “Absorbing. . . Gruley vividly evokes the frigid Michigan winters and the even chillier atmosphere of an insular community determined to keep its secrets.” Publishers Weekly

    “[The Hanging Tree] has it all—suspense, mystery, romance, detection, clear-eyed hometown nostalgia, professional dangers along with the other kind.” Kirkus Reviews

  • Library Journal
    Found hanging from a tree just outside of Starvation Lake, MI, Gracie McBride is assumed by local residents to have committed suicide. Her cousin, reporter Gus Carpenter, promises his mother to look into the motivation for Gracie's death. VERDICT In this follow-up to Gruley's acclaimed debut, Starvation Lake, the author tells more of Gus's story and reveals many secrets about the local people. Slow moving at times, with much detail about hockey and many flashbacks, this might appeal to readers who enjoy Joseph Heywood and Mary Logue.
    Kirkus Reviews

    Instead of emerging from the watery depths as they did in Gruley's notable first novel (Starvation Lake, 2009), dark secrets from the past bloom on a storied tree in the upper-Michigan midwinter.

    Though she'd returned only recently after leaving Starvation Lake 18 years ago, Gracie McBride had deep roots in the little town. Gus Carpenter, executive editor of the twice-weekly Pine County Pilot, is her second cousin; his lover, sheriff's deputy Darlene Esper, is her oldest friend. When Gracie is found hanging from a tree along with dozens of shoes young couples have tied together and tossed into the branches, Gus and Darlene's lives are tangled with hers once more. Gus has been preoccupied with what his fellow citizens consider his vendetta against Laird Haskell, the wealthy plaintiff's attorney whose promise to build a spanking-new hockey rink for the town seems to have been stalled by insufficient funds. But he's swiftly engulfed in revelations of political chicanery, domestic irregularities and kinky sex that open unsavory motives for Gracie's suicide—or was it murder?—even as they send Gus once more back into the past he can't help sharing with his troubled town. His journey is long and winding, and by the time it's over, readers will have covered a great deal of territory.

    Gus's second has it all—suspense, mystery, romance, detection, clear-eyed hometown nostalgia, professional dangers along with the other kind—even if it seems that not a single citizen of Starvation Lake has ever outgrown being a goalie, wingman or hockey mom.

    Product Details

    ISBN-13:
    9781416563648
    Publisher:
    Touchstone
    Publication date:
    08/03/2010
    Series:
    Starvation Lake Series , #2
    Edition description:
    Original
    Pages:
    336
    Sales rank:
    728,418
    Product dimensions:
    8.62(w) x 11.04(h) x 0.93(d)

    Meet the Author

    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.

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    The Hanging Tree 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This a follow-up book to "Starvation Lake". It picks up the story right away within the first few pages. This author is great. I only wish there would be more books by him. You don't have to read the fist book, but I would advise it just so you are familiar with the characters and the story line. Read and enjoy.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really love the narration in this series. The Hanging Tree is a solid story on its own, but it is even better if you've read Starvation Lake.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    SandyIL More than 1 year ago
    A G R E A T read.
    SarahO More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed the first book in this series, "Starvation Lake." The author clearly knows journalism and hockey, and he wrote an engrossing mystery with lots of local color and engaging characters. This book is the second in a planned series, and although the characters are mainly the same and still interesting, the story was not quite as compelling as the first book. I am still interested to see where Gruley goes, though, so I will be back if there is a third book. Recommended, especially for those who liked the first book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Justsooze More than 1 year ago
    In "The Hanging Tree", author Bryan Gruley delves deeper into the past and present lives of the citizens of Starvation Lake. As this second book in the series opens, Gus Carpenter is still editor of the Pine County Pilot, but his stories concerning the gift of a new hockey rink have him on the wrong side of the paper's owner as well as many of the townspeople. Then Gracie McBride, his second cousin, is found hanging from a tree, an apparent suicide and yet things don't quite seem right to Gus. As he digs into Gracie's past, both in Starvation Lake and in Detroit, he must confront not only his own troubled relationship with Gracie, but the life she kept hidden from everyone. This is a dark, complex and ultimately satisfying read."
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    LovesToReadBW More than 1 year ago
    The Hanging Tree - A Starvation Lake Mystery September 13, 2010 Bryan Gruley I really enjoyed The Hanging Tree. Reminded me of a tree I saw when I was visiting Utah. Having a lot of info about hockey in the book was something that I had never read very much about before and was new and different. I enjoyed the book even more since I didn't figure out who did what until I read it near the end of the book. I will now go back and read Bryan Gruley's other book Starvation Lake.
    Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
    From the moment Gracie McBride tied her pretty, pink sneaker to that of her boyfriend's black, football cleat and hung the mismatched pair over the branch of an old, oak tree, the majority of other teens from the small town of Starvation Lake, Michigan, adopted her action. Meant as a sign of childhood love, lust, lost virginity or even freedom, The Shoe Tree was born. Now, twenty years later, The Shoe Tree is popular once again, but not for the hundreds of shoes adorning its sweeping branches. This time, the old tree receives attention for the body of Gracie McBride hanging amongst the hundreds of time-worn tokens. Gus Carpenter, executive editor of the Pine County Pilot, sets out to discover the events leading to Gracie's death, for it soon becomes clear it was no suicide. However, one curse of living in such a small town is the toil of never running an impartial investigation. Gracie was Gus's second cousin and best friend to his now girlfriend and police Deputy, Darlene Esper. With the residents of Starvation Lake unhappy with Gus for halting construction of a new hockey ring with his scathing article written for the paper, he is met with uncooperative forces. However, as he delves deeper into tracing the steps leading the Gracie's death, Gus is unprepared for the many horrible secrets he uncovers. Full of mystery, romance, intrigue and violence, "The Hanging Tree" is a must read for any fan of suspense! Reviewed by Dawn Hullender for Suspense Magazine
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
    This is the first book I have read by Bryan Gruley and I now am a humongous fan! He's right up there with my favorite authors. His writing captured me and it was like I was in a trance throughout the whole book. I have to get my hands on Starvation Lake. Any mystery lover will come to appreciate the characters as well as the plot.
    Lynie More than 1 year ago
    THE HANGING TREE is the second book in the Starvation Lake series by Bryan Gruley. I liked the first one, STARVATION LAKE, and I thought this one was even better. Gus Carpenter is still working for the small town paper in his hometown of Starvation Lake. Darlene Esper, his high school love is now his girlfriend and is a sheriff's deputy. When Gracie, Gus's second cousin, is found dead from what appears to be a suicide, Gus and Darlene set out to prove it was murder instead. To do that, Gus has to delve deeper into Gracie's life when she lived away from Starvation Lake. Hockey is everything to this small town in Michigan and Gus begins to wonder if Gracie's fate had anything to do with a wealthy group trying to build a state-of-the-art hockey rink in this small town in the middle of nowhere. Likable characters, engaging storyline, fun to read.
    harstan More than 1 year ago
    Pine County executive editor Gus Carpenter of the newspaper the Pilot reports to Philo Beach, an editor seven years younger than him. Philo's uncle, the News North CEO, directed his nephew to get the newspaper's finances in line. The latest big story is that Grace McBride committed suicide by hanging herself on the Hanging Tree. Grace went down state from her Michigan small town for a number of years before coming home. The townsfolk are less interested in the hometown girl's death now that there is a new ice hockey rink coming to Starvation that Laird Haskell, who moved there with his wife and brilliant hockey goalie son, is funding. Gus hears rumors that contractors working on the skating rink are not being paid and Laird needs a $100,000 loan from the town until he can fix his finances. Determined to prove Grace did not kill herself, Gus investigates learning the woman was involved with some nasty folks from Detroit. He follows the trail as if Grace set it up for him to do so. Her clues lead full circle back to their hometown where Gus, his girlfriend Deputy Sheriff Darlene Esper and Philo team up and try to bring justice to a dead woman who never had any when she lived. The return to Starvation Lake is an exhilarating whodunit as the investigative lead finds himself with a happy and a strange bedfellow. Gus is an unusual individual in that he does not allow whatever life tosses at him to get inside his stomach; readers can visualize him singing Matthew Strider's tune "Ain't Nothing Going to Break My Stride." Readers will join him and his two sleuthing partners in this entertaining Michigan murder mystery. Harriet Klausner