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The Skeleton Box: A Starvation Lake Mystery (Starvation Lake Mystery #3)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  532 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Does Gus Carpenter really want to know what’s inside the skeleton box? In Anthony– and Barry Award–winning author Bryan Gruley’s gripping new novel, Gus must decide if the truth is better off dead and buried.

Mysterious break-ins are plaguing the small town of Starvation Lake. While elderly residents enjoy their weekly bingo night at
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Touchstone
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James Thane
This is the third novel in Brian Gruley's Starvation Lake trilogy, following Starvation Lake and The Hanging Tree. The main protagonist is Gus Carpenter who was once a hot-shot reporter in Detroit, but who has now returned home to tiny Starvation Lake in northern Michigan to edit the town's twice-weekly newspaper.

Gus, like the paper, has seen better days. As a youth he was a major hockey star--a goalie who led the local team to the state championship game only to lose the game when he allowed th
In a quiet town called starvation lake there are no murderers. Well that is what they thought. A series of burglaries during bingo nights started occurring in Starvation lake. They were attended mostly by the elder folk of the community, one turns ugly with a murder.

Past murders become revisited with question marks on the guilty.
Secrets that others want buried come to the surface and up in the communities faces.
One old soul believes the truth will not set you free.
Suspects some laughable and ha
Paul Pessolano
“The Skeleton Box” by Bryan Gruley, published by Touchstone Books.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

“The Skeleton Box” is the third box in the Starvation Lake series. If you are a reader who likes a good mystery with a little hockey thrown in, this will be a very satisfying read.

Starvation Lake is a small rural town in Michigan that has seen better days. The most exciting event in town is the local hockey team, the River Rats, except maybe for murder.

Houses in town are being broken into on Bingo Night
Gus Carpenter is the Jessica Fletcher of Starvation Lake. He moves back home after a failed journalism career in Detroit, and this sleepy northern Michigan town is suddenly a hotbed of crime and murder.

A big part of what I enjoyed about this book is that it reminds me of home. Northern Michigan isn't quite the same as northern Minnesota, but small-town life in the upper Midwest is fairly consistent no matter what state you're in, and I loved the little details and characters that made me homesic
Larry Page
Third and ostensibly final book in the "Starvation Lake series". In this one Gus investigates and solves the murder of his long time girlfriend's mother and solves a perplexing cold case murder as well. The story is based on the murder and cover-up of a nun that occurred in a church in the early 1900s at the then town of Isadore, Michigan, about twenty miles Northeast of Traverse City in Leelanau County. I myself live about four miles from there. The church is still active but the town has long ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Bryan Gruley is another new to me author. The Skeleton Box is the third book in Gruley's Starvation Lake series.

Starvation Lake is a quiet, small town in Michigan where nothing dangerous really ever happens, but a recent series of break-ins has the town worried. The break-ins are occurring on bingo nights - when most of the town's elderly residents are out. Nothing is ever taken, but their belonging are being rifled through. The pressure is on for the sheriff to solve these cases - it's a re-ele
Larry Hoffer
In his third novel featuring local newspaper editor Gus Carpenter, Bryan Gruley returns to Starvation Lake, Michigan. A number of homes have been burglarized while their residents were out playing bingo, but strangely, nothing was taken from any of the houses. And then one night, a break-in at the home of Gus' mother, Bea, results in the murder of her closest friend, Phyllis, who also happens to be the mother of Gus' ex-girlfriend, deputy sheriff Darlene. Bea, whose dementia has been getting wor ...more
The Skeleton Box: A Starvation Lake Mystery is the third book in the series and opens in March 2000 with somebody breaking into houses in Starvation Lake on bingo nights. Despite the break-ins, the victims report that nothing has been taken. The motive as well as the identity or identities of those involved remain a mystery. Pine County Sheriff Dingus has no suspects and the town is on edge.

Then, apparently in the course of a break-in, a murder happens and for Gus his life will change forever. T
The third and latest in a very good series set in tiny Starvation Lake, a town in northern Michigan. The editor of the local newspaper tells this story of corruption, local history, and sudden death. The characters are solid and real, the plotting careful, and the dialogue believable. I may be wrong, but I think it's accurate to say that as the editor/reporter tries to track down the truth about a death in his elderly mother's house, every single character lies to him at some point, including th ...more
A solid read, made immeasurably more pleasurable due to the fact it's set in a fictional town nearby in northern Michigan, and cribs from a famous murder case, the death of a nun, that happened a couple of miles from my home.

Bryan Gruley's writing occasionally reminds me of James Lee Burke's: the crusty characters, the place-based framework for the story, his own dispassionate re-telling of some fairly horrific facts. The "dying newspaper" subplot rang totally true, as did the greasy hide-the-e
What a delightful book! I am already attached to the characters from Bryan's first two this is a sweet homecoming. That said, I find Bryan's writing engaging as he manages to sidestep the formulaic approach that traps some authors with sequels. The story line pulled me in, took me along on twists and turns and happily landed me at the end wanting more.

I've already written friends recommending this book and it has been added to my gift giving list!

Again, the standards of hockey, myste
Another highly enjoyable mystery in the Starvation Lake series from Gruley. The characters are well-developed and the writing, especially the dialogue, is always spot-on. The mystery takes a bit of time to develop and play itself out but the denouement is satisfying and, for fans of the series, a bit sad. Highly recommended.
Each of these three books is fantastic. I can't recommend them enough, although I'd recommend waiting to start each one until you've got little else to do with your time, because they're impossible to put down. Can't wait for Gruley's next one.
Jena R
In the book The Skeleton Box By Bryan Gruley, There are a series of crimes on bingo night and they started calling it Bingo Night Break-ins. Gus started writing about them in the Pilot newspaper he worked at. On the way to his moms house when he sees police lights and people standing outside of her house. So Gus rushes into his moms house to see his mom sitting at the kitchen table with the sheriff asking her questions. Than he sees an ambulance and heres Darlene his girlfriend crying from the b ...more
Good yarn to complete the trilogy and I like the way the Gus Carpenter character has evolved and matured, but I find myself wishing for a final/final wrap-up...a novel length epilogue if you would.
Probably my least favorite of the Starvation Lake series. It's actually got the most engaging plot since the first book, but it's such a thin book, written so brusquely it's a bit like being wheeled through the story at warp speed. The reader doesn't have time to really sink their teeth into it or to get immersed in the setting and characters again.

This is supposedly the final book Gruley's going to be writing about Starvation Lake, and by the time I finished it I wondered if maybe he was so ti
This was more of a 4.5 even though I figured out the mystery & surprises at the end. Usually, I hate when that happens but I didn't mind it so much this time. That's probably because this book was much less about the mystery and more about some really wonderfully written characters.

I didn't find out until after I finished that this was the last book (though I'm assuming never say never) in what is a trilogy. And though I'd happily read another installment, any more would probably ruin the m
Katharine Ott
"4th Bingo Break-In Strikes Fear Into Town Of Starvation Lake." The character who is doing these break-ins turns out to be a leading player in the mystery which begins as a murder and develops into a confusing bundle of family history, the Catholic Church, and deceits & lies. The setting in a northern Michigan hockey town would be instantly recognizable to anyone raised in such an environment and the common link of hockey fever unites the fans.

The premise was interesting, with a forgetful mo
As I have said before, if you combine hockey and murder, then the book is guaranteed to be an ideal fit for me. There is just something about small town hockey that draws me in. Now granted, the murder part and the history that got us there is not kid stuff. So in your mind, you will have to separate the two. If you are easily offended by the wrong doings of certain members of the Catholic Church, you might want to avoid this book altogether. Just a bit of forewarning.

Weekly bingo night has tak
Kari Anderson
Someone is breaking into homes in Starvation Lake. At first nothing was taken, and no one was hurt. The bandit was dubbed the Bingo Night Burglar. Everyone is a little on edge, not sure who is a target and why, but everyone gets scared when the burglary becomes a murder at one home.

And it’s the home of Gus Carpenter’s mother. Gus is the chief of the local paper. His mother wasn’t the victim in the burglary, but her best friend and a woman who helped raise Gus was. Plus, she was the mother of Gus
Ray Palen
Bryan Gruley’s Starvation Lake mystery series continues with the release of THE SKELETON BOX. Even though the title may conjure up supernatural or grisly imagery, the resulting novel is far tamer than the title suggests.

With characters named Sherriff Dingus, Whistler and Gus, THE SKELETON BOX plays more like Lake Wobegon than hard-boiled crime noir. I find the comparisons to Steve Hamilton’s brilliant Alex McKnight series a tad premature and unwarranted. This novel is far more soft-boiled.

It see
Loved it, bk 3 is just as good as the first two if not better. Good to be back in the small town of Starvation with Gus and crew. The mystery takes center stage this time around with less hockey, but the River Rats still have a place in this story. Same players are back with a few new names. Always hoping Soupy will find his way and straighten up, but not in this story. Focus here is on Darlene’s Mom, Phyllis/Mrs. B. Starts out a bit slow but quickly ramps up. Deep story intertwined with past ev ...more
The final book in the Starvation Lake trilogy. It's rather sad to know the people of Starvation Lake will not be having more adventures, but Gruley wrote three terrific books.

The series is set in a fictional town in the northern part of lower Michigan - nearby places like Traverse City are real enough, but the actual title town isn't. Gruley took a real life story the death of a nun in 1909 and turned it into a mystery that began in the 30s with a pregnancy and moves into the 50s with the murde
Gloria Feit
A very old and deep-seated secret brings to an end the Starvation Lake trilogy. It begins with a series of home invasions in the quaint Michigan town on Bingo Night, when inhabitants are obviously away from their houses. The only mystery, however, is that nothing seems to be missing and the sheriff’s inability to solve the crimes is affecting his reelection efforts.

Then the home of Gus Carpenter’s mother, who appears to be in the early throes of dementia, is invaded on a night she chooses to go
Pamela Kramer
In “The Skeleton Box,” the third of the "Starvation Lake" mysteries, author Bryan Gruley pulls off a rather remarkable triple play. First, he writes a suspenseful mystery that is virtually guaranteed to capture and solidly hold its mystery readers’ attention. Second, he creates characters who reek of realistic human faults and foibles, their dialogue so natural and authentic that we don’t even have to think about whether it’s natural and authentic. And third, Gruley so effectively draws the nove ...more
Starvation Lake is seeing a series of break-ins in the homes of people when they are away from home playing bingo. Gus Carpenter, the editor of the small town newspaper has put the link between the two events. The police are puzzled because nothing of value has been taken, although files and papers in the homes have been disturbed. That changes when Phyllis, the next door neighbor and long time friend of Bea Carpenter, Gus's mother is killed in Bea's home. Bea suffers from early dementia so reme ...more
Rabid Readers Reviews
I don’t believe the point of Starvation Lake is the actual plot. We’re not rocketing from Point A to Z. We’re enjoying the ride hitting all of the letters in between and savouring them. In typical cozy fashion, the wind up was maybe a bit convenient but by the time we reach the end, we know these people well enough to know that this is what would happen in their world.

One of Gruley’s great strengths is the flavor of the past. Strohs and Ernie Harwell on the radio, what Michigan kid didn’t see th
Gus Carpenter is enjoying a beer with Soupy his fellow hockey team mate after their win at the bar, when there is a knock on the door. It is the police. Something has happened. Gus is escorted to his mother's house where the cops and an ambulance are. It seems that Mrs. B. a good friend of Gus's mother was found dead in Gus's mother's kitchen. It appears to be a break in. The worse part is that Mrs. B. is Gus's ex, Darlene's mother. Gus has a vested interest in solving Mrs. B.'s death.

The Skelet
THE SKELETON BOX by Bryan Gruley is a good mystery. In addition to the main story, a few others are going on. Several possibilities exist, and more and more clues throughout the book keep the reader guessing and reguessing. Eventually, all the stories come together.

This book is the third in a series about the inhabitants of Starvation Lake, Michigan, a small town "up north," as we in the Detroit area say. Gruely gets great reviews and has won awards for the first two books in the series. But I
Starvation Lake is a small community in upper Michigan. Someone has been breaking into the homes of some elderly residents while they were at Monday night bingo. Nothing seemed to have been taken but it made people nervous.

Then, Gus Carpenter, editor of the "Pilot" is asked to accompany a police officer to Gus's mother's home. Her home had been broken into and her friend and next door neighbor, who was there taking care of her, was killed.

The only clue is the name of a former priest who had been
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Bryan Gruley is the critically acclaimed author of Starvation Lake: A Mystery, The Hanging Tree, and the fortchoming sequel, The Skeleton Box.

The Hanging Tree is nominated for Anthony and Barry Awards to be awarded in September at the Bouchercon mystery/thriller convention. Writer/director John Gray has optioned the book for a feature film.

Starvation Lake, now in its eleventh printing, was nominat
More about Bryan Gruley...
Starvation Lake The Hanging Tree (Starvation Lake, #2) Paper Losses: A Modern Epic of Greed and Betrayal at America's Two Largest Newspaper Companies Bryan Gruley's Starvation Lake Mystery Series 2-Book Boxed Set: Starvation Lake and The Hanging Tree Inherit the Dead

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