The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley – Book Review

The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley
Published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Note: “The Hanging Tree” is a sequel to “Starvation Lake,” but stands alone quite well. This review does not knowingly contain any spoilers for “Starvation Lake.”

After a mishap at his job in Detroit, Gus Carpenter has returned to his childhood home, Starvation Lake, Michigan, where he became the Executive editor of the local paper. The only problem is that now, even as executive editor, Gus is no longer in charge of the paper. When his second cousin, Gracie McBride, is found dead of apparent suicide and Gus suspects her death is related to Laird Haskell, the man building Starvation Lake a new hockey rink. Gus isn’t winning any friends in Starvation Lake by poking into Haskell’s affairs and if he isn’t careful it may just lose him his job.

Gruley is a new-to-me author, and one I probably would not have read had it not been for the fact I got an unsolicited copy from the publisher and had he not been a Chicago author, but I am glad that circumstances conspired to get me to read this. What I found particularly special about “The Hanging Tree” was the media-slant on the story. As the Chicago bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, Gruley clearly knows media, and having Gus be a newspaper man when Gruley is one himself gives his character a ring of truth. In addition to making Gus a more realistic character, the angle of media made the story even mre interesting than I might have otherwise found it.

“The Hanging Tree” is good enough that even all the hockey talk – which I could really not care less about – did not negate my enjoyment. Definitely a series to take a look at if you are looking for a good mystery.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

Bryan Gruley’s website

Other Books by Bryan Gruley:
“Starvation Lake”

This review was done with a book received from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

4 comments to The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley – Book Review

  • It’s funny you should mention the “hockey talk.” When I went to see Bryan at a local event, he mentioned his fans complained their wasn’t enough hockey talk. He mentioned, and I agree, that hockey is integral to the story; it’s part of the setting.

  • The hockey is an integral part of the story, it helps to give a feeling of how the town unites, connects, and knows one another…in other words, it is the central beating heart of the town. Yes, at times, I was a bit meh about the hockey, but for the most part, I really got it. That is all based on my reading of Starvation Lake which I liked. I need to read this one still…have plans to do so very soon.

    After reading the first book, this does feel like a potential series that could be good.

  • I bet my son would love this one because of all the hockey talk!

  • I’ve heard good things about Bryan Gruley and hope to read Starvation Lake soon! Thanks for the review.