Bleak Harbor by Bryan Gruley


Bleak Harbor
Title : Bleak Harbor
Author :
Rating :
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 349

Their son is gone Deep down, they think they re to blame

Summertime in Bleak Harbor means tourists, overpriced restaurants, and the Dragonfly Festival One day before the much awaited and equally chaotic celebration, Danny Peters, the youngest member of the family that founded the town five generations ago, disappears.

When Danny s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst But there s also to the story Someone is sending them ominous texts and emails filled with information no one else should have Could the secrets they ve kept hidden even from one another have led to Danny s abduction

As pressure from the kidnapper mounts, Carey and Pete must face their own ugly mistakes to find their son before he s taken from them forever.


Bleak Harbor Reviews


  • James Thane

    Bleak Harbor marks the return of Bryan Gruley, and not a moment too soon I was a big fan of his Starvation Lake trilogy, but the last book in that series, The Skeleton Box, appeared in 2012, and I ve been eagerly awaiting his next book ever since It turns out, though, that the wait was well worth it Bleak Harbor is a fast paced, taut thriller that grabs the reader from the opening lines and refuses to let go until the final scenes have played out in the wake of a great climax.At the center of Bleak Harbor marks the return of Bryan Gruley, and not a moment too soon I was a big fan of his Starvation Lake trilogy, but the last book in that series, The Skeleton Box, appeared in 2012, and I ve been eagerly awaiting his next book ever since It turns out, though, that the wait was well worth it Bleak Harbor is a fast paced, taut thriller that grabs the reader from the opening lines and refuses to let go until the final scenes have played out in the wake of a great climax.At the center of the book is a troubled family living in Bleak Harbor, Michigan, a small town where the highlight of the summer tourist season is the annual Dragonfly Festival Carey Peters, the wife and mother, is descended from the town s founder Her mother, Serenity Bleak, lives in a huge home overlooking the town, isolated from the rest of the residents, both geographically and economically The Bleaks made a huge fortune from their various enterprises in the town, but the rest of the citizens have not done nearly as well, and many of them are experiencing hard times as several of the Bleaks businesses have closed, leaving their former employees high and dry Carey is employed by a firm in Chicago and commutes back and forth to Bleak Harbor two or three times a week to see her family She is estranged from her mother who has cut Carey out of her will.Carey s husband, Pete Peters, was once a high flying commodities trader in Chicago, but he hit a bad streak and lost his job He convinced Carey to move back to Bleak Harbor where he has opened a medical marijuana shop and is struggling to get the business up and running Both Carey and Pete have dark secrets that they are hiding from each other, and their relationship is strained for a variety of reasons.Carey s son Pete s stepson is fifteen year old Danny Danny is on the autism spectrum and, while brilliant in some respects, can also be a difficult child One thing that Carey and Pete do agree on is that they both love Danny very much Danny and Pete have an excellent relationship, centered on fishing and other activities that they do together.The book opens on the eve of Danny s sixteenth birthday as the annual Dragonfly Festival is about to begin Pete arrives home expecting to take Danny fishing He finds that Danny has prepared the sandwiches and drinks they will be taking with them, but the boy himself is nowhere to be found Shortly thereafter, Pete receives a photo of Danny bound to a chair with what appears to be a bruise on his cheek Accompanying the photo is a demand for a huge ransom and with that, the book is off and running.The plot is intricately designed the characters, even the minor ones, are sharply drawn, and the tension is palpable throughout as Carey and Pete and a variety of law enforcement officials work to save Danny from a particularly fiendish and clever antagonist In particular, as he demonstrated in the Starvation Lake series, Gruley excels at describing life in a small town like Bleak Harbor, where all sorts of secrets and machinations are at work beneath the surface The setting is expertly rendered and becomes a character in and of itself All in all, this is a very entertaining novel and the reader leaves the book very much hoping that it will not be another six years before we hear from Bryan Gruley again 4.5 stars rounded up to 5

  • Erin

    I was immediately drawn to this book by this cover so moody, so mysterious And the name Bleak Harbor is a tip off that maybe this coastal town has some secrets that aren t all sunshine and rainbows Perfect for that beginning of fall read, where summer is waning and the leaves are just starting to turn, and instead of beach reads, you want something a little darker.At first, this book seems pretty straight forward a boy goes missing, and his family is desperate to find him But then, lit I was immediately drawn to this book by this cover so moody, so mysterious And the name Bleak Harbor is a tip off that maybe this coastal town has some secrets that aren t all sunshine and rainbows Perfect for that beginning of fall read, where summer is waning and the leaves are just starting to turn, and instead of beach reads, you want something a little darker.At first, this book seems pretty straight forward a boy goes missing, and his family is desperate to find him But then, little by little, all these secrets spill out, there are twists and turns, all woven together so well that the reader never sees them coming And you never feel like something just came out of left field it all masterfully falls into place, and the reader is drawn to finish the book as fast as possible, just to see what the heck happens next And the characters were perfect in that perfectly human way not without flaws, this was not a glossy magazine type family despite that their connections to the town founders This is a family with secrets.As a Michigander, I love that Gruley is a Detroit native and that the setting is a small town on the water in southwest Michigan Everyone loves to find bits and pieces of places and things that they know and are familiar with in a story, and it was neat to see references dropped in to cities I have visited I especially liked the addition of a Mexican restaurant named Xochilmilco I am only guessing but perhaps named for one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Detroit I also liked how Gruley wrote Danny He didn t stick to a stereotyped version of someone who has autism, and in fact, addresses these stereotypes a few times within the book itself, and challenges the reader to change their perception of what they think autism is I am not personally very familiar with the diagnosis, so I can t speak to the accuracy of Gruley s depiction, but I do like how he writes the character of Danny.Overall, I loved this book I found it exciting, and I couldn t wait to see what would come next It was chock full of mystery and surprise, and it was exactly the type of book I have been craving

  • Dan Radovich

    Back in 2008 2009, an advance reader edition of a little novel was given to me by Wendy Sheanin at Simon Schuster with a note saying I think you will like this one, and the author lives in Chicago That novel is STARVATION LAKE, and it was like a smack to the back of the head, in a good way A very good way Gruley s debut was lauded with good reason, it is filled with a great story peopled with believable characters Two novels followed, continuing the story of Gus Carpenter and the pe Back in 2008 2009, an advance reader edition of a little novel was given to me by Wendy Sheanin at Simon Schuster with a note saying I think you will like this one, and the author lives in Chicago That novel is STARVATION LAKE, and it was like a smack to the back of the head, in a good way A very good way Gruley s debut was lauded with good reason, it is filled with a great story peopled with believable characters Two novels followed, continuing the story of Gus Carpenter and the people of Starvation Lake, Michigan 2012 was the last time I read fiction from Gruley, being teased with email and social media comments of a fourth novel coming AT LAST I got another smack to the back of the head from BLEAK HARBOR Gruley knows small town Michigan and his writing takes you into the small corner bar and lakeside homes HIs characters are everyday people, like your neighbors only with some major problems Carey is the offspring of the founding family of Bleak Harbor, and her relationship with her Mother is strained to say the least Her son Danny is a brilliant, gifted loner suffering from autism Her husband Pete is, well Pete runs a medicinal marijuana shop in Bleak Harbor and he too has problems When Danny is abducted, Cary and Pete s problems rear up to haunt them Will their secrets destroy any chance of finding Danny Enter a cast of characters, local police force, FBI agents, drug lord thugs and the locals of normally peaceful Bleak Harbor The writing flows from the start at a smooth pace, revealing bits and pieces of the character s pasts for you, but when Gruley steps on the pedal you are in for a thrill ride I suspected the twist and it was delivered wonderfully These are people that you want to know about, even the bad guys , and Gruley knows how to write and deliver them I was getting very antsy, waiting for this one, but damn it was worth it A special THANK YOU to Bryan for writing this one I look forward to the next one Maybe a return to Bleak Harbor

  • Paul

    I was offered an advance copy of Bleak Harbor in exchange for a review I agreed on the strength of the book s description, though I did not know the author, Bryan Gruley Bleak Harbor is a tightly plotted mystery set in a small Michigan town, and you know what they say about small towns there s going on beneath their placid surfaces than anyone will ever know I don t know Michigan and am not qualified to say whether Gruley captures some of its essence, but his descriptions have the I was offered an advance copy of Bleak Harbor in exchange for a review I agreed on the strength of the book s description, though I did not know the author, Bryan Gruley Bleak Harbor is a tightly plotted mystery set in a small Michigan town, and you know what they say about small towns there s going on beneath their placid surfaces than anyone will ever know I don t know Michigan and am not qualified to say whether Gruley captures some of its essence, but his descriptions have the feel of authenticity If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act Gruley clearly takes Chekhov to heart, wasting not a single word on irrelevant detail Every house, street, dock, and bar in Bleak Harbor, no matter how casually inserted into an opening chapter, is sure to come back into play later More importantly, the ever expanding cast of characters just three to start with, but by the end a couple of dozen are pistols hanging on the wall as well, with secrets, hidden motivations, and surprises in store.As each new plot development unfolds, the mystery deepens, the list of possible culprits expands, and the suspense increases I was pulled along by a string of surprising because unexpected revelations, but never once felt played Even though the mystery is complex and multi layered, it doesn t feel contrived The characters flaws make them human Are some details of the mystery stretches Sure Danny remaining undiscovered in the attic of an abandoned house despite searchers combing through it multiple times, for example , but in general the twists and turns Gruley throws at us are believable At the end, over the course of three or four very short chapters, Gruley ties up loose ends in a very satisfactory manner.One thing my advance copy is labeled an uncorrected proof I didn t see anything that needed correcting No typos, no mistakes I wish my uncorrected proofs were half as good.I don t always say this about authors who are new to me, but now that I know Bryan Gruley, I plan to read his earlier work

  • B Lynn

    Manipulation Creates MayhemExcessive manipulation Kidnapping Disappearance combined with threats What lengths will a person go to in order to extort money And why The motives will surprise you in Bryan Gruley newest book, Bleak Harbor.When 16 year old Danny not Daniel disappears, and a picture of him tied to a chair turns up on the household computers, his parents are horrified Baffled by the requests for money they obsess about getting the ransom They can t go to Danny s wealthy grandmo Manipulation Creates MayhemExcessive manipulation Kidnapping Disappearance combined with threats What lengths will a person go to in order to extort money And why The motives will surprise you in Bryan Gruley newest book, Bleak Harbor.When 16 year old Danny not Daniel disappears, and a picture of him tied to a chair turns up on the household computers, his parents are horrified Baffled by the requests for money they obsess about getting the ransom They can t go to Danny s wealthy grandmother, who dislikes the boy because he is emotionally immature and obsessive, as children with autism often are Poor Danny still grieves for his dog, Paddle, who was put down months earlier.His parents, a dad who sells legal pot and a mom who is the daughter of the manipulative woman, are drowning in guilt about Danny s problems In addition the mom, Carey, has a guilty secret of her own She s been seduced and by the less than honest man she works for Will this come out when the perpetrator requests ransom Who is behind this plot, and will any of it work And what is really wrong with Danny s grandmother, a descendant of the town s founding fathers who has money to burn Author Bryan Gruley is a life long journalist who is proud to have shared in the Putlitzer Prize awarded to the staff of the Wall Street Journal for their coverage of the 9 11 attacks in New York City His complex mystery is full of shady characters and a twisted yearning to be noticed and accepted There are lots of characters but this is a page turner and worth the time of those who have a family member who has autism as well as those who love a thriller As my husband would say, Follow the dollar, but there is a lot here

  • Tyson Adams

    If you received a dollar for everytime someone said X business is a license to print money you d have the first instance of that statement being true.On the day before the Dragonfly Festival in Bleak Harbor, Danny Peters goes missing Pete Peters, his stepdad, is having a quick beer after work at his medicinal marijuana shop before he and Danny go fishing when he receives a strange text message Carey Peters is halfway through her long commute, thinking of her work problems, when she receives If you received a dollar for everytime someone said X business is a license to print money you d have the first instance of that statement being true.On the day before the Dragonfly Festival in Bleak Harbor, Danny Peters goes missing Pete Peters, his stepdad, is having a quick beer after work at his medicinal marijuana shop before he and Danny go fishing when he receives a strange text message Carey Peters is halfway through her long commute, thinking of her work problems, when she receives the message At first, they aren t sure if Danny has run off again or if something sinister has happened until they receive the photo But which of their secrets has gotten Danny in trouble From the very start, we see that this mystery will be built upon the layers of secrets Danny s parents have been keeping The twists and turns this gives us are tightly woven together Pete and Carey feel like painfully human characters stumbling through life and now stumbling through the disappearance of their son Danny is a refreshing and interesting portrayal of someone with autism, steering clear of the usual cliches and errors.But I really did find it hard to engage with this novel I liked Danny, but Pete and Carey weren t particularly interesting or charismatic It is hard to follow along with their trials and tribulations when you just want to slap them and tell them to talk to one another As a result, it was hard to give this than three stars despite how well the mystery was structured and the book was written.I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review

  • Jool

    I chose this from the monthly free offerings from Danny, a 15 yr old autistic boy, his mom and stepdad move from Chicago to Bleak Harbor, a small tourist town that lives up to its name Danny s mother has a high powered job in Chicago which she commutes to and his stepdad excitedly starts a new legalized marijuana shop in Bleak Harbor which does not make the quick riches he thought it would He starts running his shop in the most unscrupulous ways The mother, in her job, sleeps with her I chose this from the monthly free offerings from Danny, a 15 yr old autistic boy, his mom and stepdad move from Chicago to Bleak Harbor, a small tourist town that lives up to its name Danny s mother has a high powered job in Chicago which she commutes to and his stepdad excitedly starts a new legalized marijuana shop in Bleak Harbor which does not make the quick riches he thought it would He starts running his shop in the most unscrupulous ways The mother, in her job, sleeps with her boss and steals valuable records that the FBI would love to find out about The most awesome character in this book is of course Danny When Danny is kidnapped and held for millions of ransom, Each parent, unbeknownst to the other, tries to blackmail their criminal associates to get Danny back Okay, let me admit in the middle of the book there were so many people, so many plans, computers and burner phones I got so damn confused I wanted to throw the book across the room However you can t afford to miss what s going on because you HAVE to find out about Danny The last third of the book gets so twisted, so nail biting and so suspenseful you read faster and faster That is why I gave this book 4 stars instead of three Any author who can think up a plot like this deserves 4 stars or even 5 Whew I can t even get to sleep after reading this, my heart is still racing

  • Mark Hornbeck

    Fortunate to receive an advance copy what a thriller If you enjoy mystery novels with a great payoff, this book is for you Superbly written, replete with interesting characters my favorite was Quartz the fixer , intricate plotting and vivid detail that places the reader in every scene And best of all, a surprise twist that will leave mystery aficionados satisfied.

  • George Lichman

    Carey Bleak Peters should be the Princess of Bleak Harbor, Michigan The City, after all, was founded by her family during the boon of the steel industry and made them rich, wealth that continued beyond the closing of the steel and timber mills and shipping in the harbor as Bleak Harbor transformed into a summer vacation destination for the wealthy But Carey s mother, Serenity Bleak, sole heir of the fortune estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars, has other plans And they don t Carey Bleak Peters should be the Princess of Bleak Harbor, Michigan The City, after all, was founded by her family during the boon of the steel industry and made them rich, wealth that continued beyond the closing of the steel and timber mills and shipping in the harbor as Bleak Harbor transformed into a summer vacation destination for the wealthy But Carey s mother, Serenity Bleak, sole heir of the fortune estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars, has other plans And they don t include Carey, her autistic son Danny, or her brother Jonah, the mayor of Bleak Harbor When Danny is kidnapped and held for an ever increasing multi million dollar ransom, there is no shortage of suspects with strong motives Danny s biological father, an ex con with a violent history his step father, a struggling medical marijuana dealer with business problems of his own his mother, looking for her share of the Bleak fortune Carey s boss, looking for leverage against her to protect his business As the search for Danny advances, it seems like every lead opens a door on a new suspect, and everyone has something to hide Even the police and FBI agents investigating the crime and looking for the missing boy have their own agendas, and finding Danny seems secondary to them Bryan Gruley has created in Danny a complex boy with interests that provide meaning to the book In contemplating Danny s near obsession with a poem by Wallace Stevens, Carey remembers And he would tell her that the palm in the opening line, the one Carey mistook for a hand instead of the tree it was, is forever out of reach She always heard his declaration as defeatist, as if Danny had given up on whatever dreams swirled in his mind It crushed her Now, his observation strikes her as realistic, mature, even liberating Danny wasn t saying people couldn t have what they yearned for He was saying that the yearning would never cease, no matter what was gained or gathered It was enough to embrace the yearning, then let it go She wishes she d listened harder Danny has a similar obsession with dragonflies and is known to stand and watch them for hours, seeming to see then when others can t He wonders, whether any of the people actually know what the dragonfly is about, how its flitting beauty, wings aglint in sun, masks the bloodless killer within Probably not In a book full of secrets and masked motives, even the victim has a side that is underestimated Bleak Harbor is a thriller that increases the pressure with every chapter like pealing layers of an onion it slowly exposes the complex crime and possible complicity of each character with every page turn

  • Pamela S Eveland

    Many twists and surprisesI was pleasantly surprised by the plot twists that kept continuing throughout this novel While I was not compelled, as some other reviewers were, to read the book in one sitting, it is a far satisfying read than most other suspense novels I ve read lately No, you won t fall in love with the characters except Danny they are, however, complex and well developed with believable motives I was a little puzzled as to why we have the history we do on the cop, and a Many twists and surprisesI was pleasantly surprised by the plot twists that kept continuing throughout this novel While I was not compelled, as some other reviewers were, to read the book in one sitting, it is a far satisfying read than most other suspense novels I ve read lately No, you won t fall in love with the characters except Danny they are, however, complex and well developed with believable motives I was a little puzzled as to why we have the history we do on the cop, and as much of it as we do, but it isn t that intrusive And, once again everything wraps up into everything else, which I usually find unrealistic, but Gruley actually gets away with it through the use of varied actors and a complex storyline I really enjoyed this book and will try another by this author