cover image Bleak Harbor

Bleak Harbor

Bryan Gruley. Thomas & Mercer, $24.95 (378p) ISBN 978-1-5039-0468-2

This standalone mystery falls short of the high standard set by Edgar finalist Gruley’s Starvation Lake trilogy. Fifteen-year-old Danny Peters disappears from his family’s cottage on Michigan’s Bleak Harbor Bay, and his kidnapper later demands the unusual sum of $5.145 million for his safe return. The abduction leads Danny’s stepfather, Pete Peters, and his mother, Carey, to fear that the crime was triggered by events in their own lives. Pete, who was once a successful agricultural futures trader, has been trying to make a go of a new business selling medical marijuana, a venture that has involved him with people on the wrong side of the law. And Carey, who’s descended from the family who founded Bleak Harbor, is in the midst of extorting her boss at a Chicago logistics firm for $10 million in exchange for keeping quiet about the business’s shady dealings. Gruley’s characters are less developed than those in his other novels, and the major plot twist will strike some readers as implausible. Fans will hope for a return to form next time. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Dec.)