Twelve years ago, her life was torn apart.
Now those who wronged her will pay.
Jubilee Rathman is a straight-A student and star soccer goalie destined for Princeton—until her family is brutally murdered. Twelve years later, she lives in a virtual fortress on Purgatory Bay near Bleak Harbor, plotting revenge on the people she considers responsible.
In her crosshairs is former reporter Michaela “Mikey” Deming, who Jubilee believes got her family in trouble with the Detroit mob. As retribution, Jubilee kidnaps Mikey’s sister and daughter, and that’s just the start in her ruthless quest for justice.
Bleak Harbor police chief Katya Malone, still reeling from her failure to find a kidnapped boy, leads the investigation. She’s determined to keep history from repeating, but Jubilee is more cunning than Malone can imagine.
All Mikey and Katya can do is follow Jubilee’s dangerous trail of clues. But in Bleak Harbor, nothing is what it seems, and no one can be trusted. As an ominous end draws ever nearer, the women must face the misdeeds of the past to find the kidnapping victims before it’s too late.
"Purgatory Bay is a knockout! Bryan Gruley has populated this eerie story with a cast of characters who range from menacing to heroic and together create a whirlwind of momentum that makes this one impossible to put down."
— Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series
"Bryan Gruley’s Purgatory Bay is a suspenseful and complex adventure filled with fascinating characters, including a cunning and vengeful villain who made my skin crawl. An exciting read with a satisfying ending!"
— T.R. Ragan, New York Times bestselling author of the Lizzy Gardiner series.
"A gripping contemporary story of revenge, with scenes accelerating like heartbeats from the grave to its emotional, pulse-pounding conclusion."
— Andrew Gross, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Fifth Man
“With the enigmatic skill of a guide returning to a place both mysterious and dangerous, Bryan Gruley invites readers back to the world he created in Bleak Harbor. Purgatory Bay is a complex, persecuting and captivating tale. Once again, Gruley creates a fascinatingly twisted family saga that braids the weight of guilt with the torment of grief and the glimmer of hope.”
— Amber Cowie, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Rapid Falls and Raven Lane
Their son is gone. Deep down, they think they’re to blame.
Summertime in Bleak Harbor means tourists, overpriced restaurants, and the Dragonfly Festival. One day before the much-awaited and equally chaotic celebration, Danny Peters, the youngest member of the family that founded the town five generations ago, disappears.
When Danny’s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst. But there’s also more to the story. Someone is sending them ominous texts and emails filled with information no one else should have. Could the secrets they’ve kept hidden—even from one another—have led to Danny’s abduction?
As pressure from the kidnapper mounts, Carey and Pete must face their own ugly mistakes to
“Bryan Gruley’s Bleak Harbor is an electric bolt of suspense, packed with twists and surprises. Gruley’s plot races along, powered by characters—big and small—who truly crackle. A masterful follow-up to his Starvation Lake trilogy.” —Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl
“Intricately plotted…[Gruley] builds suspense in this impressively constructed plot about attaining justice for those once wronged.” —Booklist
“The best book Gruley has ever written and unlike any other crime book I’ve ever read.” —Steve Hamilton, two-time Edgar Award–winning author of Exit Strategy
“Bryan Gruley creates a fascinating calamity of flawed characters, each hiding secrets in the haunting town of Bleak Harbor. His portrayal of an autistic boy’s kidnapping, and the subsequent efforts to find and rescue him, gradually and brilliantly exposes the decidedly dark underbelly of both the town and all those living in it. I dare you to put the book down. I couldn’t.” —Robert Dugoni, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author
“The myth of the happy family! Bryan Gruley dives deep into twisted psyches, well-hidden secrets, and dark, explosive desires. Welcome to Bleak Harbor. Be afraid.” —New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen
“Bleak Harbor buzzes with surprises.” —Chicago Tribune
“Vivid, spellbinding, and laced with tension, Bleak Harbor’s labyrinthine mystery is packed with characters so real you want to buy them a beer—or hide under your bed to pray they don’t come for you. If you’re not reading Bryan Gruley, you’re missing out.” —Marcus Sakey, bestselling author of AFTERLIFE and the Brilliance trilogy
“A deep dive into the deepest secrets of a one-family town and its leading family that sometimes gets murky, even exhausting, but is never less than enthralling. And you’ll finish it with a wonderful sense that you’ve finally come up for air.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Gruley follows his award-winning Starvation Lake Trilogy with another grim tale of dysfunctional people…The tension mounts to a startling conclusion featuring an unconventional, intricate plot…” —Library Journal
The STARVATION LAKE series
“Starvation Lake abides, and so do the hardy, gritty, sometimes hapless, and thoroughly memorable denizens of this wonderfully imagined small town.”
In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling small town of Starvation Lake—the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation’s legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn’s accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder.
Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie that let a state championship get away, crushing Coach’s dreams and earning the town’s enmity. Now he’s investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town’s past, and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets—secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.
"A terrific first novel … this is not to be missed. Highly recommended for all collections." -Library Journal (starred review)
"Smashing debut thriller … a story so gripping that you’ll probably devour it in one gulp—like the heavenly sounding egg pie served at Audrey’s Diner." -Chicago Tribune
"A seamless tale of revenge, redemption, secrets and lost hope ... with twists and turns that are impossible to guess and lead to a shocking finale." -South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"The Hanging Tree is even better than Gruley’s Starvation Lake … richer and deeper and more emotionally satisfying, and the town is described with a defter, more assured hand." - Chicago Tribune
"Gruley’s absorbing follow-up to Starvation Lake … vividly evokes the frigid Michigan winters and the even chillier atmosphere of an insular community determined to keep its secrets." -Publishers Weekly
"Gruley captures the hardscrabble life of a recession-rocked small town and the deep interrelationships of the inhabitants while delivering complex, intriguing characters caught up in trouble. His take on contemporary journalism is Evelyn Waugh–worthy. Another winner." -Booklist
THE HANGING TREE
They found her hanging in the shoe tree at the edge of town …
So begins Bryan Gruley’s sequel to Starvation Lake. 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 shockwaves 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’s 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 would rather deal with 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 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 to Starvation Lake, 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.
THE SKELETON BOX
A series of mysterious break-ins is plaguing the small town of Starvation Lake. Someone is slipping into the homes of elderly people when they’re out playing Bingo. Oddly, the intruders take nothing, despite evidence that they rifle through personal files.
Worry turns to panic when a break-in leads to the death of a beloved citizen. Phyllis Bontrager is found dead in the home of her best friend, Bea Carpenter, mother of Gus Carpenter. Bea, suffering from worsening dementia and under the influence of sleeping pills, remembers little of the break-in. Her son, editor of the local newspaper, must pursue a terrible story: the death of a woman he has known all his life, who also happens to be the mother of his ex-girlfriend, Darlene.
With the help of Luke Whistler, an ex-Detroit Free Press reporter who came north looking for slower days and some old-fashioned newspaper work, Gus sets out to uncover the truth behind Mrs. B’s death and the “Bingo Night Break-Ins.” The secrets he’s determined to unearth could forever change Gus’s perceptions about Starvation Lake and even his own family.
“Bryan Gruley is a gifted writer, and in The Skeleton Box he’s turned his gifts to the secrets and lies which ultimately rip apart Starvation Lake. Gus Carpenter, editor of a local paper on its last legs, finds himself in the center of a murder inquiry when his mother’s best friend is killed – and his mother becomes a prime suspect. Gruley writes elegiacally about small town America, but his deepest love is for its newspaper.” - Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author
"Haunting ... Better late than never if you haven't started reading or recommending Gruley's outstanding trilogy. Consider crossover reading for Richard Russo fans." - Library Journal
"Bryan Gruley has a way of working magic into a small town mystery and Skeleton Box is further proof. Gruley is a rising star of the genre.” - Crimespree Magazine
"Bracing ... complex ... There's no mistaking Gruley's fierce love for his frigid hamlet." - Kirkus Reviews
Fill out the form on this page to contact Bryan directly.
Bryan is represented by Meg Ruley of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.
For publicity inquiries, contact Dana Kaye at Kaye Publicity or Dennelle Catlett of Thomas and Mercer.