Friday, November 30, 2018

"Bleak Harbor"

Bryan Gruley is the award-winning, critically acclaimed author of the new novel Bleak Harbor, which Gillian Flynn calls “an electric bolt of suspense.” Two-time Edgar Award winner Steve Hamilton says Bleak Harbor is “unlike any other crime book I’ve ever read.”

Gruley also wrote the Starvation Lake trilogy: Starvation Lake, The Hanging Tree, and The Skeleton Box. Starvation Lake was an Edgar Finalist and won Anthony, Barry, and Strand awards. The Hanging Tree was a #1 Indie Next pick, a Michigan Notable Book, and a Kirkus Best Mystery of 2010. Reviewers have compared Gruley favorably to novelists Dennis Lehane and Richard Russo.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Bleak Harbor and reported the following:
Page 69 of Bleak Harbor is blank but for one word in all caps: FRIDAY.

Like the weekday itself, this page marks a transition, one that goes to the heart of what the novel is about.

On page 68, Pete Peters, stepfather of autistic, 15-year-old Danny Peters, is in the office of his medical marijuana shop in downtown Bleak Harbor, Michigan. After being summoned there late Thursday night by an alarm service, he has just viewed a frightening image on his computer. He calls his wife, Danny’s mother. “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus,” he says. “Somebody has Danny. Somebody has our boy.”

On the other side of page 69, we find Danny himself, sleeping in a hot, dark, stuffy room. He is wondering whether he’ll see his parents again, and dreaming about dragonflies: “The dragonflies are bigger than gulls. They are blacker than crows. They hover and glide, skitter and dart. Their shadows darken the water.”

Danny is obsessed with dragonflies. He appreciates their beauty as well as their status as one of the most efficient killers in the animal kingdom. The dichotomy is a running theme throughout the novel, encapsulating tensions at the core of how and why Danny has been kidnapped.
Learn more about the book and author at Bryan Gruley's website.

The Page 69 Test: Starvation Lake.

The Page 69 Test: The Hanging Tree.

--Marshal Zeringue