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The Hanging Tree

(Starvation Lake Mystery #2)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,236 ratings  ·  190 reviews
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 shock waves 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 deputy Darlene ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Gallery Books
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,236 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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James Thane
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bryan Gruley returns to Starvation Lake, a small Michigan town that's clearly seen better days, in the second Gus Carpenter novel, The Hanging Tree. As was apparent in Gruley's debut novel, Starvation Lake, Gus has seen better days as well. One of the great goalies ever to come out of a hockey-crazed town, Gus failed the team at a critical moment years earlier and neither the town nor Gus have ever forgotten. Gus once left Starvation Lake to become a hotshot reporter at a major Detroit newspaper ...more
Miss Kim
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of mystery, especially those familiar with Hockeytown, & Northern MI
Recommended to Miss Kim by: Fan of Author
I was excited to get back to Starvation Lake. We meet back up with Gus, who is now working at the small local newspaper. After his cousin commits apparent suicide (or is it?), he at first is not surprised, but then begins to have doubts about what really happened. Through a lot of nosing there and downstate, where he meets some interesting characters, he tries to unravel the mystery of his cousin who may not have been all she had seemed.

I really enjoyed this and the first book in this series, e
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping the second Gruley book would be more streamlined, but once again, I plowed through a convoluted story that half the time I didn't know what was going on or why. I read and re-read parts of the book so I could figure out how everyone was connected. I still don't.

Gus, the protagonist, has another mystery to solve. This time his second cousin, who he doesn't like, hangs herself, but did she really? It's suicide, no it's murder, no it's suicide. Why did she do it? I'm still questioning
Suspense Magazine
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
From the moment Gracie McBride tied her pretty, pink sneaker to that of her boyfriend’s black, football cleat and hung the mismatched pair over the branch of an old, oak tree, the majority of other teens from the small town of Starvation Lake, Michigan, adopted her action. Meant as a sign of childhood love, lust, lost virginity or even freedom, The Shoe Tree was born.

Now, twenty years later, The Shoe Tree is popular once again, but not for the hundreds of shoes adorning its sweeping branches. T
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
This is a terrific book! The best thing about this book is that there are no slow spots.

The book begins as Gracie McBride, a resident who had been away many years and finally returned, is found dead hanging in a tree with quite a history in the small town of Starvation Lake. Is it murder or is it suicide? The characters are very likeable and as you read, you find yourself really rooting for Gus Carpenter to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Although the book has a heavy emphasis on hockey, it do
Steve Taylor
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"The Hanging Tree" is the second book in Gruley's "Starvation Lake" series and it is even better than the first. It is a solid mystery novel with all of the typical conventions of that genre, but what is really interesting about "The Hanging Tree" is the way that Gruley uses small details about each of his characters to guide the reader away from the kinds of stereotypes that tend to infest stories of small-town life.
Gruley's Starvation Lake is a small town with a very dark side. The families
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
In Gruley's second Starvation Lake mystery we explore more of Gus's past when an old family friend is found dead in a near by shoe tree. Gus's tenacity and hunger for the truth are seriously put to the test as he uncovers some ugly truths about the people he loves and thinks he knows. The characters in this second novel are even more solid than the first and the mystery is way more complex. Gruley knows how to weave a story. In his first novel it is not difficult to divine what the outcome will ...more
Oct 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Hockey, suicide, kinky sex, hockey, Michigan, hockey.
Paul Edlund
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Twisty, intriguing, keeps you turning the pages. I recommend this author for a good old fun mystery.
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mysteries, ebooks
This is the second of the Gus Carpenter and Starvation Lake mystery series, and it's every bit as good as the first outing. The eponymous tree is the place just outside of town where lovers of all types express their commitment by pairing off shoes and boots and skates and whatnot and hanging them from various branches. And then, one night, a woman is found hanging along with the footwear. A woman who grew up in the area and who fled her checkered past, only to return to Starvation Lake shortly ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it liked it
I've heard it said that it takes a lifetime to write your first book and you only have six months to get the next one out, well that is exactly how this one felt after reading the first Starvation Lake mystery, waiting expectantly for this one and being disappointed in the slow pace and real lack of plot.

Once again, the readers are back in Starvation Lake with Gus Carpenter, editor of the Pine County Pilot, where Gracie McBride, the girl who left town eighteen years earlier is found hanging from
Carla Ford
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this mystery, and really didn't see the ending coming. There were some great characters, and even though I have no knowledge of hockey whatsoever, I enjoyed the hockey action. Actually, I enjoyed the hockey and the way it was woven into the story quite a bit. Reading about the small town of Starvation Lake, and the close knit community, where everyone knew everyone felt kind of warm and fuzzy, and hockey added to the closeness. As Gus, the town reporter, tries
to get to the bottom of hi
Dear Goodreads,

First, let me just say, I love when you give me books to read and review. Not only is it incredibly generous of you, but it's kinda cool that you help expand my horizons and provide books I wouldn't normally choose. (I know, I entered the contest, but let's not kid ourselves...if it wasn't free, I probably never would have picked it up on my own.) With that being said, I wasn't entirely happy with this one. But to be honest, it was me...not you. I was a bit confused with a lot of
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
There was so much build up to the final 'who dunnit' and then it just kinda fizzled and ended. However, I do like how Gruley spins his tale and enjoy the characters. And the little turns in personalities is interesting (like I though Philo would be a complete douche but was pleasantly surprised). I did not like the premise of why Gracie died, or how she died for that matter - some people need to check their moral codes - but that's story telling I guess. I definitely like Gus as a main character ...more
Lori Tatar
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Hanging Tree is a most excellent suspense novel. It is great for readers who love mystery, murder and crime...and hockey! Take a walk on the dark side and, really, as The Hanging Tree illustrates, never judge a book by its cover. I would recommend this story to everyone, regardless of age, gender, hobby or profession.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: midwest, mystery
While this one may suffer from one too many plotlines as it is somewhat challenging to keep things straight in the middle going, Gruley does nice work with his Michigan setting and the contrast between upstate and down. He also has a gift for creating morally complex characters, particularly ones who make bad decisions for good reasons.
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010
This one kept me up part of the night and made me late to work, but it was worth it. I truly enjoyed STARVATION LAKE last year, and liked this one even more! Keep 'em coming, Bryan! I always welcome a read as good as this one!
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this just as much as the first book in the series, Starvation Lake. I loved the Michigan setting, and Gus is a great protagonist. A really solid mystery.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
2nd mystery book by Bryan, sequel to Starvation Lake and just as captivating... you don't have to read Starvation Lake to get this or the characters. I love when a writer has that ability
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Too much hockey!
Paige Turner
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
After reading the first book in this series and finding it boring, I had hoped the next two in the series would be better. Alas, this second one is just as boring as the first one. I am not sure where all the accolades for this author come from, because I just don't see it. The writing isn't bad, per se, but some people act like he is in the company of many great mystery writers and I can say that is definitely not true. This book not only bored me, I was irritated as well. What is with almost e ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is the second in Gruley's Starvation Lake mystery series and it was a good 4 star read. Journalist Gus Carpenter is on the case of the apparent suicide of his cousin Gracie, a former wild child who has returned home. Gus doesn't believe that Gracie would kill herself so starts to investigate where Gracie had been and what she had been doing. And he discovers a different side to her. Lots of hockey talk and skullduggery with a new hockey rink in town make an interesting read.
It's rare to find a sequel that's actually better than the original, but here we are. Starvation Lake continues to be fully realized as a town peopled with troubled and struggling characters, but the plot here is tighter, with a more complicated and ambiguous resolution, with dim and flickering light at the end of the tunnel.

tw: animal harm (skip all of the 3rd chapter, where Gracie's wondering about a deer).
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chandru CS
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Points out of a great 👍 I just watched it so much I thought

“You don’t really want her to see you here, do you?” I looked past him and saw Darlene and another deputy moving toward the ambulance. Dingus was right, I really didn’t want Darlene to see me, but I didn’t know how that could be avoided. “I’m just doing my job,” I said. “She’ll have to understand.”
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. I actually stopped reading this book to read two others, then I picked it up again...I NEVER do that. I made myself finish. It was okay. I love where it takes place, but it was just ok in my "book" 😂
Feb 08, 2019 added it
Comp Notebook
Borrowed from library.

Jackie McKeating
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great. Hope he keeps writing stories with these characters.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novel-mystery, z2018
Enough with the hockey!
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My claim in a movie review formerly featured on another website of how recent genres of fiction has treated the game of hockey, I held out the hope that someday someone would find the perfected formula to meld hockey and fiction. What it took was a new author Mr. Bryan Gruley to spotlight our sport in the way it was meant. As I re stacked my fantasy demon hunter paperbacks on the nightstand aside my bed, I became eager to delve into a more familiar world of journalism, hockey, and profound myste ...more
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Bryan Gruley is back. BLEAK HARBOR, his new standalone, will be published December 1 by Thomas & Mercer. It’s the story of the kidnapping of an autistic teenage boy whose parents have secrets that may have put him in danger.

Gillian Flynn says Bleak Harbor is “an electric bolt of suspense, packed with twists and surprises,” and “a masterful follow-up to his Starvation Lake trilogy.” Steve Hamil

Other books in the series

Starvation Lake Mystery (3 books)
  • Starvation Lake (Starvation Lake Mystery #1)
  • The Skeleton Box (Starvation Lake, #3)
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