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Extended Audio Sample The Hanging Tree Audiobook, by Bryan Gruley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.86 out of 53.86 out of 53.86 out of 53.86 out of 53.86 out of 5 3.86 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bryan Gruley Narrator: Rich Orlow Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Starvation Lake Mysteries Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781449867652
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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 Esper. As Gus and Darlene investigate, they can’t help but question if Gracie’s troubled life really ended in suicide or if the suspicious crime-scene evidence adds up to murder.

But in such a small town it’s impossible to be an impartial investigator—Gracie was Gus’ second cousin, Darlene’s best friend, and the lover of Gus’ oldest pal, Soupy Campbell. Yet with all the bad blood between Gus and Gracie over the years, Gus is easily distracted by other problems. His employer is trying to push him out, the locals are annoyed that his stories have halted construction on a new hockey rink, and Darlene’s estranged husband has returned to reclaim his wife.

When Gus tries to retrace Gracie’s steps to discover what happened to her in the eighteen years she was away from Starvation Lake, he’s forced to return to Detroit, the scene of his humiliating past. And though he’s determined to find out what drove Gracie back home, Gus is unprepared for the terrible secrets he uncovers.

The second book in Bryan Gruley’s irresistible Starvation Lake series, The Hanging Tree is a compelling story about family and friendship, sex and violence, and the failure of love to make everything right.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Hanging Tree is a terrific story, a dark-hearted mystery entwined in a bullet-fast thriller. Gruley is one of the good ones.”

    John Sandford

  • “Haunting, observant, and filled with complex characters that will remind you just how much you don’t trust your neighbors. The Hanging Tree will pry its way into your imagination. And it won’t leave.”

    Brad Meltzer

  • The Hanging Tree is an engrossing, sure-footed mystery that manages to be both suspenseful and deeply touching.”

    Gillian Flynn, New York Times bestselling author

  • “As with Starvation Lake before it, The Hanging Tree is an exceptionally well-written novel by an author who has mastered the conventions of his genre.”

    Associated Press

  • “Absorbing...Gruley vividly evokes the frigid Michigan winters and the even chillier atmosphere of an insular community determined to keep its secrets.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Regardless of your level of hockey interest, you’ll relish Rich Orlow’s subtle vocal technique, his unflagging attention, and persuasive performance.”

    AudioFile

  • “Gruley captures the hardscrabble life of a recession-rocked small town and the deep interrelationships of the inhabitants while delivering complex, intriguing characters caught up in trouble. His take on contemporary journalism is Evelyn Waugh–worthy. Another winner.”

    Booklist

  • “[The Hanging Tree] has it all—suspense, mystery, romance, detection, [and] clear-eyed hometown nostalgia.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Selected for the August 2010 Indie Next List
  • One of the 2010 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Mysteries
  • A 2011 Barry Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original
  • A 2011 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 2/6/2014

    " 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 be, but the way it all unfolds makes the journey worthwhile. In this sequel the mystery remained quite hidden until the final moments (to me at least) and packed the double punch of being both a satisfying read and a twisted mystery. After two books set in a small town in Northern Michigan I feel like I know these characters, like I could drive an hour south and run into Gus or Soupy on the streets of Starvation Lake. I already eagerly await the next chapter of Gus's life! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Casey Mead | 1/15/2014

    " This was my first first-reads that I done. I enjoyed the book, even though mystery is my genre of choice, this is probably one I wouldn't have picked on my own. The main character Gus Carpenter is the executive editor of the Pine County Pilot, the local newspaper in the small town of Starvation Lake. The trouble begins when Gracie McBride is found hanging from the town's "Hanging Tree", after her return to Starvation Lake after being away for 18 years. Although everyone assumes it is suicide, Gus and Darlene, Gus' girlfriend and sheriff deputy, believe there is foul play. Gus must dig into Gracie's years living in Detroit, and discovers secrets he doesn't expect. I liked the small town setting, and the jaded former big city reporter character of Gus. This is the second book in the series, but I had no problems jumping into it without reading the first. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dottie | 1/4/2014

    " Reasonable mystery.....not as much about hockey in this book, but it didn't add anything to the story for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherri | 1/3/2014

    " Once again, I really liked this book. I read the first book in the series last week and I loved it! This one did not disappoint either. I highly recommend reading this whole series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/31/2013

    " Not bad! The writer know and loves hockey, Michigan, journalism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad | 12/24/2013

    " Full of twists and turns, turns the reader inside out, kinda like a winger head-manning a defenseman. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 12/16/2013

    " Words are not enough for me to describe this book! I am from Michigan, love sports, and a good story. This book hit a grand slam in my opinion! Wonderful sequel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janet | 12/16/2013

    " Never finished it, just could not get into it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharaa | 12/1/2013

    " This book took the reader through the main character's journey of understanding a family member he never quite felt close to, a cousin (second cousin?). After her death, this reporter delves into her past and learns that many aspects/people/ideas of his life were not as they appeared. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 11/22/2013

    " I love this man and is writing. It's hockey, Michigan and mystery. What's not to adore? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 9/22/2013

    " Terrific book by a newspaper writer about a newspaper writer in a small Michigan town. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KayLee | 8/7/2013

    " (3.5-4). Not as awesome as the first one, but still good, and I will definately read the next one, if there is one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peg | 2/13/2013

    " Great sequel to Starvation Lake. And rumor has it that a trilogy is in the making. Mr.Gruley's fans would be thrilled! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Sanders | 12/16/2012

    " If you like a mystery that keeps you on your toes, this is it. Small town intrigue along with shady secrets. If you like hockey, you will be thrilled with this title. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ConnieK | 11/16/2012

    " When is Gus coming back for Book 3?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 9/3/2012

    " Good mystery book. Second in a series, but you do not have to have read the first book to read this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 judy | 8/12/2012

    " Didn't quite equal his first, IMHO, but I certainly will keep reading him. He is a rising star. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 4/28/2012

    " Hockey, suicide, kinky sex, hockey, Michigan, hockey. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Radovich | 4/12/2012

    " Gruley's follow-up to STARVATION LAKE confirms he can write a great thriller. His characters are believable as are the plots. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Sullivan | 4/11/2012

    " very good, mix of mystery, human drama and suprises "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret Dee | 2/24/2012

    " This is a well written series exploring complex issues. I urge you to give it a try. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue Nelson | 1/25/2012

    " Kept the Starvation Lake characters going through a new crime. It continued the side theme of interspersing the plot with hockey stuff. In all an easy read about average people trying to figure things out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Levine | 12/26/2011

    " Complex realistic characters.No one wins but everyone because everyone is imperfect.Good story ,moves along with some twists.But some information withheld to help create tension "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debby | 9/25/2011

    " second in series of Starvation Lake series. A good mystery but didn't like all the foul mouths even though it fit the characters. ok for a quick, don't have to think too much read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 9/5/2011

    " not as good as Starvation Lake, but still really engrossing. Looking forward to the next one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen | 7/13/2011

    " A hockey mystery. . .more anon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 5/27/2011

    " Good mystery. Really like the main character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 5/22/2011

    " During a snowstorm, Gus' cousin is found hanging in a tree. Suicide? Or murder? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/19/2011

    " A wonderful follow-up to Gruley's debut novel. The characters and town feel so very real. The towns people could be your neighbors. Never thought I would enjoy mystery the surrounds the building of hockey rink. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 4/28/2011

    " Started out good, but I am not sure about the resolution of the story. Not a very strong ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 4/17/2011

    " Complex realistic characters.No one wins but everyone because everyone is imperfect.Good story ,moves along with some twists.But some information withheld to help create tension "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 3/31/2011

    " This series is new to me. Enjoyable enough that I'll look for others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 3/22/2011

    " I loved this book. Just wish that I had read the first in the series before reading the second. The characters are very interesting and I wish I could give it more then five stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 2/8/2011

    " 3.5 I guess. I like the writing and the setting which is different (northern Michigan, hockey, small town newspaper) but I wish there was more hockey and less of a certain kind of crime (no spoiler). will read the next one for sure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 2/6/2011

    " This is a well written series exploring complex issues. I urge you to give it a try. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 2/4/2011

    " Good mystery book. Second in a series, but you do not have to have read the first book to read this one. "

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About the Author
Author Bryan Gruley

Bryan Gruley is reporter at large for Bloomberg News and the former Pulitzer Prize–winning Chicago bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. He has won the Anthony, Barry, and Strand Awards and was nominated for an Edgar Award for best first novel. He lives with his wife in Chicago.

About the Narrator

Rich Orlow is a film, television, and voice actor. Among his audiobook narrations are The Outsider by Jimmy Connors, House Rules by Jodi Picoult, and Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.