THE SKELETON BOX by Bryan Gruley

THE SKELETON BOX

KIRKUS REVIEW

The inexplicable murder of his mother’s dearest friend sends Upper Michigan journalist Gus Carpenter, of the dying Pine County Pilot, back for another bracing trip to his town’s endlessly sordid past.

Whoever the Bingo Night Burglar is, he’s pulled off his first four jobs with a minimum of fuss: nobody harmed, nothing even stolen. But the break-in at the home of Gus’ mother, Beatrice, leaves her next-door neighbor and old friend Phyllis Bontrager dead. Who would kill the inoffensive Mrs. B, who was on the scene only to stay with her failing friend? 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-again troublemaker Wayland Breck, Detroit PR fixer Regis Repelmaus and golfing cleric Father Tim Reilly before the case comes to a head in a choleric judge’s chambers. Nor will they get much help from Pine County Sheriff Dingus Aho, who has to deal with an electoral challenge from his nasty little deputy Frank D’Alessio. Just in case all these conflicts aren’t enough, Gruley (The Hanging Tree, 2010, etc.) also showcases the River Rats, the teen hockey team Gus coaches, battling to go all the way to the state championship Gus blew himself when he let through the winning overtime goal 20 years earlier.

Complex but lumpy, perhaps because of the true-crime roots a closing note reveals. But there’s no mistaking Gruley’s fierce love for his frigid hamlet. 

Pub Date: June 5th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4165-6366-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2012




NEW MYSTERIES & THRILLERS:

Fiction HEARTBROKEN by Lisa Unger
by Lisa Unger
Mystery BONEREAPERS by Jeanne Matthews
by Jeanne Matthews
Mystery COP TO CORPSE by Peter Lovesey
by Peter Lovesey
Mystery THE DARK CHRONICLES by Jeremy Duns
by Jeremy Duns

MORE BY BRYAN GRULEY

MysteryTHE HANGING TREE by Bryan Gruley
by Bryan Gruley
FictionSTARVATION LAKE by Bryan Gruley
by Bryan Gruley
NonfictionPAPER LOSSES by Bryan Gruley
by Bryan Gruley

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionBLIND EYE by John Morgan Wilson
by John Morgan Wilson
FictionWINTER OF THE WOLF MOON by Steve Hamilton
by Steve Hamilton
FictionTRESPASSER by Paul Doiron
by Paul Doiron