December 29, 2018

#BookReview: Bleak Harbor (Bleak Harbor #1) by Bryan Gruley

Title: Bleak Harbor 
Series: Bleak Harbor #1
Author: Bryan Gruley 
Genres: Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: Hardcover, 378
Pub Date: December 1st 2018
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Book Source: Publisher
My Rating: 3 Stars
Add to Goodreads | Buy from Amazon

Synopsis: 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When Danny’s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst.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 more 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.

About the Author: Bryan Gruley is the award-winning author of the Starvation Lake trilogy of novels. He is also a lifelong journalist who is proud to have shared in the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the staff of the Wall Street Journal for their coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Gruley lives in Chicago with his wife, Pam. You can learn more by visiting his website at

From the Editor - Liz Pearsons, Editor

Bleak Harbor is a fictional city, but I know it very well. I grew up in a town that closely resembles the small tourist destination. This similarity ends, however, with the sinister history hidden just beneath the surface of the seemingly idyllic haven. Imagine a picturesque beach on Lake Michigan, a charming downtown with shops and restaurants, and entirely too many tourists. Add in the Memorial Day influx of summer residents, and the locals are quickly eclipsed. This leads to a certain amount of low-grade animosity simmering between the locals and the summer people.

For Bleak Harbor, the Dragonfly Festival is when those tensions become most apparent—especially when you throw thousands of additional tourists, a carnival, and beer tents into the mix. So when Danny Peters, an autistic teenager, is kidnapped for a large ransom on the first day of the festival, all hell breaks loose. You see, Danny’s grandmother is Serenity Bleak. Her family founded the city—and has lorded over it ever since.

Edgar nominee and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Bryan Gruley has expertly pulled together all the threads of this conflicted town—from the unsung locals to Carey Bleak Peters and her husband, Pete, who reluctantly returned to Bleak Harbor after years in Chicago, to their son, Danny, who they will do anything to bring home. Except tell each other the truth about what they may have done to cause the kidnapping in the first place.

I devoured Bleak Harbor in nearly one sitting. In part due to nostalgia and a yearning for the Lake Michigan shore of my youth. I am just thankful my hometown is nowhere near as troubled as Bleak Harbor. Or, perhaps, simply better disguised by its beaches, quaint shops, and cobblestone streets…

My Review: I love a good thriller and this cover really drew me in. But I have to say that for the most part the first few chapters were very choppy and didn't feel that well connected.  And I felt like the big reveal was kind of weird becuase I just couldn't see this person being this smart to get this done.  It left me wondering a lot about the story. The characters were pretty well formed and there and the story was ok.  


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FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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