Here I unpack the closet of my life!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book Review of "The Hanging Tree"

The Hanging Tree

By Bryan Gruley

Touchstone Books

August, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4165-6364-8

Paperback, 336 pp., $15.00

Reviewed by Theodore Feit

This second book in the series continues a look at the small town of Starvation Lake and the people who live in that northern Michigan burg as seen through the eyes of Gus Carpenter, the executive editor of the bi-weekly hometown newspaper. The plot involves the apparent suicide of his second cousin, Gracie, who left the town about the same time Gus did years before for Detroit. Gus, of course, returned when he lost his job with the Detroit Times, Gracie only recently.

But what Gracie did in the big city is a big mystery, as is the question of why she had returned to Starvation Lake. At first, it cannot be determined whether she died by suicide or had been murdered. She was found hanging from an oak tree from which townspeople and kids routinely hung paired shoes, just like many carve initials into trees. It falls to Gus to look into Gracie's past to determine the secrets of the present.

Just an admittedly trite aside: the novel truly starts off with a "bang." And while there are elements of sex and violence, they are relatively mild. More important is the analytical drive bringing the story along to its conclusion. And once again, for hockey and journalism fans, Mr. Gruley has presented, with sensitivity and deep first-hand knowledge, an intensive look into the relationships of small town residents, family, and what makes a community the size of Starvation Lake tick. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The End of An Era

For many years I have been the editor of the NoName Cafe Book Review Corner as a part of my writing/singing website. Thanks to the help of a couple of great reviewers we shared many book reviews and great author interviews at the Cafe and it was a lot of fun. But the time has come to say goodbye to the Cafe. It was tied to my Alexandra Walters mystery series (it was named after a Cafe in those books) and that series now has come to an end with the publication of The Final Note, as has my old website (though you can view the old Cafe reviews and interviews up until early next year at the old site). I am busy now with the magazine that also has book reviews and author interviews, and with my singing, so it was time to move on.
However, this means I will be continuing here at Mysteryrat's Closet to write articles and provide book reviews, and I have started a new blog for my music ministry.
So you can find me at both of those places as well as at Kings River Life (to learn more about the magazine read my previous post. And when the time comes to birth my new mystery series perhaps then it will be time for a brand new website!
This has definitely been a year of change and my hope is that most of it will be change for the good! I also plan to begin work on writing a mystery play-a brand new kind of challenge.
So stay tuned here and on my twitter for writing updates & book reviews, and at my other blog for music updates.
Goodbye NoName Cafe, hello a new and different world!
Happy reading & Good Coffee,
Lorie Ham