The Gray and Guilty Sea: A Garrison Gage Mystery

The Gray and Guilty Sea: A Garrison Gage Mystery

by Jack Nolte


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The Gray and Guilty Sea: A Garrison Gage Mystery by Jack Nolte

A battered detective.

A dead girl on the beach.

A small town on edge.

A curmudgeon. An iconoclast. A loner. That's how people describe Garrison Gage, and that's when they're being charitable.

After his wife's brutal murder in New York, and Gage himself is beaten nearly to death, the crippled private investigator retreats three thousand miles to the quaint coastal town of Barnacle Bluffs, Oregon. He spends the next five years in a convalescent stupor, content to bide his time filling out crossword puzzles and trying to forget that his wife's death is his fault. But all that changes when he discovers the body of a young woman washed up on the beach, and his conscience draws him back into his old occupation - forcing him to confront the demons of his own guilt before he can hope to solve the girl's murder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615437859
Publisher: Flying Raven Press
Publication date: 01/21/2011
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 661,532
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

JACK NOLTE is the mystery and suspense pen name of award-winning writer Scott William Carter. Critics raved that The Gray and Guilty Sea, the first book featuring the crippled and curmudgeonly Garrison Gage, was "irresistible" and "a fascinating character study." Under his own name, Carter's first novel, The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, was hailed by Publishers Weekly as a "touching and impressive debut" and won the prestigious Oregon Book Award. Since then, he has published nine novels and over fifty short stories, his fiction spanning a wide variety of genres and styles. His most recent book for younger readers, Wooden Bones, chronicles the untold story of Pinocchio and was singled out for praise by the Junior Library Guild. He lives a stone's throw from the Oregon coast with his wife and two children. To find more information about Jack/Scott's other work, go to

Customer Reviews

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Gray and Guilty Sea 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 318 reviews.
Stimulated-Outlet More than 1 year ago
Garrison Gage is a recluse in a tiny town, a retired private detective who looks at the world through a jaundiced eye. One could hardly blame him: his last case in New York left him a widower and a cripple. Passing his days with crossword puzzles and solitude, his gumshoe instincts are reawakened when he comes across a random dead girl on the beach. So much for retirement. In The Gray and Guilty Sea, Nolte draws us in right from the get-go. Everything after that is a fast-paced story that keeps you wondering what the next location or contact will reveal. The path is not so much twisted as it is hidden; there are no sudden surprises, but the mystery still takes some time, and a great deal of Gage's energy, to unravel. Woven into the fabric are subplots involving a love interest and an ailing neighbor, as well as said neighbor's teenage granddaughter. Nolte successfully develops these without detracting from the main storyline, adding depth to Gage's character without losing steam. With his crotchety personality and his love of getting under other people's skins, Gage is a good representation of a character who would be irritating to work with but thoroughly entertaining to observe. His analysis of those around him is spot-on, thus earning a reader's trust in his abilities as a private detective. Unfortunately, other parts of his persona were a bit less credible. Gage is touted to be a well-versed reader, a connoisseur of jazz, an appreciator of art, and yet a man of simple pleasures. This isn't to say that a person can't be that complex, but something about the presentation of these personality traits -subtle shifts in Gage's speaking style, perhaps - make them difficult to integrate. Instances of him reading philosophy or listening to Coltrane might have boosted the legitimacy of these claims. In a similar manner, the commonality of interests between him and Carmen is a little too perfect, and equally unsupported from his previous interactions with her. Mysteries have a tendency to turn readers into skeptics, digging deeper into characters than they might otherwise do; thus the bar for characterizations is set that much higher. In the end, I disregarded the extraneous information in order to avoid losing faith in the rest of the story. For the most part, the novel is well-written, with a delivery that is efficient without becoming brusque. It meshed well with Gage's voice, his inner monologues flowing seamlessly into his spoken words. Even so, there were scattered passages in which it was glaringly obvious that someone breezed through the editing process. Awkwardly worded sentences, as well as multiple issues with homophones (eg. "waved" for "waived", "not" for "naught") were bothersome, but what really got me were two instances in which characters' names were actually changed: "Tommy" for "Jimmy" and "Angie" for "Zoe". They jarred me right out of the storyline, and it took some effort to convince myself to ignore them long enough to rekindle my interest in the book. Nolte has a good grasp of emotion and human responses and credible actions. In that respect, The Gray and Guilty Sea is quite an enjoyable novel that engages a reader on multiple levels. The ending itself was more than satisfactory. Still, convenient coincidences and forced details diminished its plausibility. Methinks that Gage's cynicism is contagious. -Stimulated Outlet Bo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Garrison Gage is a reclusive, grumpy guy that one can't help but care about. Great plot...great characters. Two thumbs up :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Never put it down once I started reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading The Gray and Guilty Sea and it was great. It was a free e-book and I will buy the next Garrison Gage book. A very good read.
dorrieDD More than 1 year ago
Excellent,quick read.nice character development and atmospheric discriptions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the best book on the self. An okay read but so poorly edited it was annoying, so was the sea captain speak. It was about 3 1/2 stars from me. For ages 18 and up. Sex, murder, violence. AD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read on vacation. Kept me interested and entertained. Would read more from this author/series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great written story! I would highly recommend this book,thanks....mjm
Decaturpen More than 1 year ago
If your into trying to figure out who did it, this one is for you. Great suspense, and heart stopping action. A well crafted, and good paced story with a few extra highly interesting side stories. Well worth your time, great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gage's constant sarcasm would usually be unbearable in a book like this, but the backstory keeps his behaviours from becoming intolerable. I got a pretty good laugh out of most of Gage's dry humour; it was clever and witty. Perhaps the only thing I didn't like was the rather extreme detail put into the coitus between Carmen and Gage, but hey, it was still written really well. To top it off, the book is free. Worth it; this one will be reread by me multiple times. :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book- the characters are well developed and easy to relate to, and the plot is interesting and engaging. Thanks for a good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts out questionable but actually a very good story. Look forward to the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rarely does a book come along that I would consider "hard to put down", but this is one of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Read it in one session.
maliAD More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, enough turns and twists to keep you guessing with a great lead charecter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this well-written story. The characters are developed nicely and were easy to visualize. Descriptions were clear without bogging down the plot and action. I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the main character, Gage - even his sarcasm. I've been watching the new TV series, Backstrom, (which also takes place in Oregon) and have noticed similarities between the two main characters. Could the writer of that show have read these books? I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed some of the characters. Could relate to Gage and his feelings. Got a little slow in a few places, but a decent enough story. Did think the end should have also included was the sheriff good, bad or what. Still it was an enjoyable book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really like main character. Great plot. Kept me guessing. Well worth the read. Intend to get next book. Try it, I am sure there are many of you out there that will like it. And, for goodness sake do not tell the plot since it messes up the story for those who want the pleasure of finding out for themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspenceful great characters great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got this as a freebie. Instantly ordered all the books this author has written. Loved the grumpy Gage. Great story and a real page turner! Recommend to all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just loved the story...