Jack Blackburn, Starvation Lakeís legendary junior hockey coach, disappeared when his snowmobile fell through the ice on Starvation Lake; his body was never found. Ten years later, pieces of his snowmobile surfaced on another lake five miles away.
Gus Carpenter was the teamís star goalie until he left town in shame after blowing the one opportunity the team had to win the state hockey championship. He recently returned to Starvation Lake after a failed attempt at a career with a major Detroit, MI newspaper ended in scandal. He become the editor of the local newspaper.
Determined to solve the mysterious disappearance of his longtime hockey coach, Gus uses his investigative skills to sort through the myriad rumors, false leads, and taunts by those in town who have secrets of their own. The deeper he digs into the past the more obvious it is someone does not want him to succeed.
At the same time, he finds himself embroiled in a possible lawsuit and prison time when he will not reveal his source in a series of investigative stories he wrote while at the Detroit paper.
Bryan Gruley, award-winning Chicago bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, has written a highly entertaining first novel. His insider knowledge into the world of journalism is apparent in the vivid descriptions and attention to detail.
Starvation Lake is a violent novel of betrayal and pain, and an example of how far some people will go to bring a dying town back to life. Frequent flashbacks to hockey scenes of the past may bother some people, but they contain important information into the motives and behavior of the players and town people years later.
Starvation Lake is a haunting story of harsh reality in a small town. The well-developed characters make it easy for the reader to become embroiled in their lives. What becomes of the small town and its people in the aftermath of the scandal? Not only does one hope that there will be another Gus Carpenter tale, but that this is only the first of many fine Bryan Gruley novels.