Today, Bryan Gruley is a big-time journalist, a reporter-at-large for Bloomburg News.
|Bryan Gruley reads from "The Crisscross|
Shadow" by Franklin W. Dixon,
a Hardy Boys mystery.
Gruley is the author of three acclaimed mystery novels set in his fictional Up North lake community of Starvation Lake. They revolve around the life of Gus Carpenter, the editor of the small-town newspaper, The Pine County Pilot, and the lives of those around him. In each novel, family relationships, secrets and deeds from the past play an important role.
At the Portage District Library, Gruley talked about his books and signed the latest, "The Skeleton Box."
Although not conceived as a trilogy, this third novel does complete a story arc for Gruley's Gus Carpenter.
It is, on its surface, a wonderfully atmospheric murder mystery, but it is so much more. Gruley is a craftsman, his places and his characters feel genuine. The nicknames his hockey players bear, the chatter at the local bar and diner, the emotions and actions of those in his stories all ring true. Put that down to the journalist in him.
Gloria Tiller of Kazoo Books sold books during the visit, and several signed copies of all three novels will be available at her two locations, 407 N. Clarendon and 2413 Parkview in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Gruley wore a T-shirt, a gift from his wife, Pam, that misquotes a scathing, over-long amateur review of his debut novel on Amazon.com. His quick humor was evident in both his writing and during his visit.
Gruley says he credits a book given to him by his mother, "The Crisscross Shadow," a Hardy Boys mystery, as perhaps inspiring his career as a novelist. He revealed that he's trying to decide whether to continue the Starvation Lake series with an offer to publish two more, or to write a thriller which is also set in Michigan.
"The Hanging Tree," his second novel, has been optioned by a Hollywood filmmaker. But, he said, the odds are that he'll never see Johnny Depp or John Cusack play Gus Carpenter. No matter, for as long as Gruley keeps getting up very early each morning and hammering out novels, the pictures he paints will more than do.
For a picture gallery of image from Bryan Gruley's visit, please see:
Here's Bryan Gruley in a Simon Schuster video talking about his latest novel, "The Skeleton Box"