The Skeleton Box
Touchstone Books, June 2012
There are so many books where buried secrets are revealed directly or indirectly related to murder. Gruley brings another type of these stories in The Skeleton Box. With a plethora of memorable characters and a puzzle written on torn pieces of paper, Gruley delivers up another fine mystery novel.
A series of break-ins has left the people of Starvation Lake, Michigan, wary and a little fearful. The latest intrusion results in a dead body. The house is owned by the mother of reporter Gus Carpenter and the victim was a close friend. When Gus starts investigating, the case cracks open the seal on a box of secrets kept hidden for decades. Gus tries to find the connection between the recent murder, the disappearance of a nun from the 1940s, why a mysterious entity is buying up land in town, and the odd behavior of a group of religious folks on the outskirts of town. The case turns even more personal when Gus’ mother is arrested and evidence links her to the nun.
I enjoy puzzlers with secrets people try to keep hidden. I found myself moving through this one, almost exhausted with the number of new characters in nearly every chapter, but eager to find the next clue. Gruley doesn’t disappoint with this one. The Skeleton Box is one worth keeping.
Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, June 2012.
Author of Night Shadows and Beta.