In Some Like it Hawk by Donna Andrews, the former mayor of the small town in which Meg Landslow lives mortgaged all of the public buildings and absconded with the cash. Local records clerk, Phineas Throckmorton, barricaded himself in a basement and has been there for a year surreptitiously helped by a few faithful locals. When one of the “Evil Lender’s” employees is killed by a shot that seemed to have come from the barricade, no one can tell the “Evil Lender” that Phinny has an alibi without giving away the supply game that the lender had recently stepped up efforts to crack by bringing in a PI and a Hawk to kill the barricaded Clerk’s pigeons. Can the townsfolk prove Phinny’s innocence without losing the buildings?
In The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley, Gus Carpenter has been back in his hometown of Starvation Lake working for the local paper for a few years when a rash of robberies breaks out. It seems that the hits always happen on bingo night when the targets aren’t home and nothing is taken … until the night the burglar hits the home of Gus’s mother. Gus’s mom and her best friend have skipped bingo and the burglar surprises them and kills the friend. Gus’ mom has secrets about another murder she’s kept for years and is sure she’s next. Gus must find the killer before he or she strikes again.
This Flashback Review, originally posted on Amazon.com, takes us back to February 13, 2009. There have been times when I have been very lucky to receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy of a novel from an author. This novel was one of those very lucky times.
A friend had met the author at Boucheron in Washington D.C. and suggested that Gruley and I connect via e-mail. This friend knew that, as a Michigan native, I would love a novel set in Northern Michigan. She also thought that, as my very small daughter was playing hockey at the time, I would have a place to hang posters advertising the novel.
I remember very clearly reading the opening passage while watching my 7-year-old playing a Sunday morning game. No setting could have been better to start this book. I read obsessively until this end. I’ve been to northern Michigan many times, and while Starvation Lake is a fictional town, it’s painted so perfectly that I could picture it as any of the many small towns of the Upper Peninsula. Again, no worries about offending the author with a not so positive review, this was an awesome read.