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The Hanging Tree (Starvation Lake Mystery #2)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,056 Ratings  ·  180 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, 314 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Touchstone
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James Thane
Jul 30, 2012 James Thane 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 Miss Kim 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
Suspense Magazine
Oct 07, 2010 Suspense Magazine 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 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
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
Jun 02, 2012 Tabi34 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
Steve Taylor
Sep 10, 2010 Steve Taylor 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 Robert 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 Lauren rated it liked it
Hockey, suicide, kinky sex, hockey, Michigan, hockey.
Aug 20, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, ebooks, fiction
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 Nancy 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 Carla Ford 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 Shannon 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 Lori Tatar 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 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, midwest
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 Melodie 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 Claudia 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 Adam 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 Roberta rated it it was ok
Too much hockey!
Jun 06, 2013 Michael 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
Aug 24, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
My expectations for this book were sky-high; Gruley's debut would make my top ten of 2010 list if I made one. With a build up like that, I was bound to be disappointed.

Part of the disappointment is due to the book. A large part of the pleasure of Starvation Lake was what science fiction fans call worldbuilding. Life in Starvation Lake unfolded through the course of the book. The rich characters and detailed setting really set that book apart. The Hanging Tree has a problem common to sequels: the
Larry H
Write a review...For local reporter Gus Carpenter, the apparent suicide of Gracie McBride is more than just a news story that shakes up his sleepy hometown of Starvation Lake, MI. Gracie was Gus' second cousin, and while she had a wild past, and their relationship was fractious, she appeared to be on the verge of pulling her life together. But even many of those closest to Gracie think it could have been suicide, and Gus is dissuaded from pursuing the truth.

The Hanging Tree is Bryan Gruley's se
Jul 29, 2011 Lucinda rated it really liked it
Bryan Gruley
The Hanging Tree (2010) finds disgraced Detroit reporter Gus Carpenter determined to get some real reporting into the weekly Starvation Lake newspaper, to the dismay of Philo Beech, nephew of the new owner. Gus is sure there is something fishy about Laird Haskell’s offer to build a new hockey rink for the town’s beloved River Rats team, but neither the town nor Gus’s boss want to hear anything negative. Haskell relocated to Starvation Lake so that his son Taylor could become the star
I just found out today that I won this book via Goodreads First Read Program. I am excited to read this book as the author has great reviews and it sounds like a great mystery. I will update once I have completed the book. Did I mention it is an ARC? My very favorite!! Thank you Goodreads!!!

I started reading this yesterday. So far so good!
I received this book. I am finishing another book and will start this one as soon as possible. I am very excited to read this book. Stay tuned!

A good mystery u
Alison Hardtmann
Dec 09, 2016 Alison Hardtmann rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
The very best part of Bryan Gruley's crime series about journalist Gus Carpenter is the setting. The working class town of Starvation Lake is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where hockey, especially when it involves the local team, is the most important thing going on. So when a wealthy developer from Detroit moves into a big house on the lake and decides to build a new and better hockey arena, the town is enthusiastic enough to gloss over signs that something shady is going on. Enough to ...more
Sep 06, 2010 Grey853 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2011 Tahmeena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good thriller! Not as great as Sophie Hannah or Tana French, but definitely close.

The plot was interesting, not fantastic. But there were some unexpected twists....which is saying something since I have become somewhat jaded from excessive reading and TV-watching...nothing surprises me anymore! In this book, parts of the ending did manage to make me sit up!!!

The characters are not cookie cutter...very well-fleshed out. I think that is the part I liked the best in the book. I especially appreci
Linda Lipko
Apr 29, 2015 Linda Lipko rated it liked it
Shelves: acquired-in-2015
A well-written mystery with a good plot and character development. Set in a small Michigan rural lake front community called Starvation Lake, the town wild girl has returned after an 18-year abscence. Working at the local hockey rink, she lives in a small back room, sparsely decorated, sleeping on a cot. Her life seems to have come to a grinding halt and she has paid a very high price for some of her not-so-wise decision.

As the book opens, her body is found hanging from a tree. High up on the li
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Jun 13, 2012 Tess Mertens-Johnson rated it really liked it
We all have Gracies in our life.
Someone who had a bad home life and never really thrived. They were loners who society shunned because of where they came from and what they did not become.
This is the second Bryan Gruley novel I have read. It follows Gus, who after being let go at a Detroit newspaper, comes back to his hometown and works for the local gazette. His Gracie was a daughter of his mother’s friend who kept being sent to live with his family when her mother found a flavor of the month s
This is the second installment in the Starvation Lake mysteries, and it's even better than the first. Small town newspaperman Gus Carpenter is back and once again investigating something the townsfolk would rather he not. Gracie McBride, a malcontent for most of her rough youth, had left Starvation Lake years ago, but then came back, a quiet loner who lived on the fringes of the local community. Then one cold morning after a terrible snow storm, she was found hanging from what the locals call "T ...more
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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...

Other Books in the Series

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

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