Bleak Harborby Published 01 Dec 2018
|Publisher||Thomas & Mercer|
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When Danny’s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst.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.
"Bleak Harbor" Reviews
Bleak Harbor is the epitome of a summer town, where wealthy families come to vacation and tourists are attracted to their unique Dragonfly Festival. The town is named after the Bleak family, who’s matriarch, Serenity, lives in a gated mansion in town, while her children choose to be estranged. Carey Peters is the daughter the daughter of Serenity. Along with her husband, Pete, and son, Danny, the Peters family have just returned to live in Bleak Harbor. They live a relatively quiet life here. Carey is still commuting to her old job in Chicago. Pete is running a marijuana dispensary. And Danny is trying to find a place to fit in.
One day while Carey is at work and Pete is nursing his business concerns over alcohol, Danny goes missing. Carey and Pete instantly fear the worst after receiving a photo of Danny tied to a chair, along with a ransom request. Danny is a brilliant boy, but Carey and Pete worry more than typical parents over the state of their son’s well-being in this kidnapping situation, as he is autistic and extremely socially withdrawn. Soon texts and emails come pouring into the couple revealing secrets they would rather leave buried. Who abducted Danny? How do they know so much about their private lives? Was Danny kidnapped because of something Carey or Pete did?
When Bryan Gruley reached out to be about reviewing his novel I instantly found the plot interesting and accepted. After reading this book, I am so happy Gruley reached out to me! BLEAK HARBOR was a book I thought I would enjoy going into it and it ended up being such a surprising, twisty ride of so much more than I was expecting.
BLEAK HARBOR on the surface is the story of a kidnapped teenage son, Danny, who happens to have autism, being held for ransom by an unknown person. The parents of Danny have much more happening in their lives than meets the surface and the secrets they are hiding leave both of them wondering if their actions lead to the abduction. Get ready for some serious drama! Carey and Pete are all over the place with their pasts, presents, and the next moves they choose to make during the abduction. I couldn’t stop second guessing whether or not I liked either parent and certainly didn’t trust what they were revealing about themselves.
The best part of this book is that there are actually a lot more characters involved in the plot than you initially go into the book thinking there will be. Gruley casts these characters each with their own unique backstory that truly helps the reader become more connected to them. While they may not be the main focus of the book, each secondary character has an important role or function within the story and the end result. While we’re talking end results...I loved the ending of BLEAK HARBOR! I definitely still have some questions for several characters and am curious about where their lives will take them, but overall I was satisfied with the way things wrapped up. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller that will really make you think and contemplate character’s actions I highly recommend giving BLEAK HARBOR a shot!
While rating this on Goodreads I realized there is going to be a second book in the series (currently slated for 2020), but then also saw a comment from Gruley saying it won’t focus on advancing this story. I can definitely see this town having more secrets up its sleeve, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next installment.
Had potential but didn’t work for me unfortunately
This book had so much promise and the premise sounded so dang good however, it just wasn’t for me. It started off slow and sadly never really picked up. It took around 100 pages for me to get into the story for it to hold my attention enough to continue, but by the end I was disappointed. The reveal wasn’t all that surprising, I never cared for any of the characters, the motives were unclear, and overall I was left frustrated. What I did like though was that each character that was introduced played a vital part to the story. I liked that each clue that came about sort of pulled the cast together while secrets could have been tearing them all apart. I can’t say that I expected it to turn out the way it did but I could see how this easily came together. I just wish I had connected more with the characters, that it was a bit quicker paced, and the why’s were more clear at the end.
I really wanted to like this but it just wasn't for me.
When Carey and Pete's autistic son, Danny, goes missing, both start to panic as they assume their own sordid secrets could be to blame. Already at a breaking point, where can their relationship go from here... and most importantly, how are they going to come up with this ridiculous amount of strange dollar amount to get him back?!
It takes about 65 pages in for the story to ramp up. Even at this point I'm unsure where the plot it going.... but I'm super intrigued and need to find out what's going to happen. We get introduced to a variety of characters, their back stories and how they may or may not be complicit in what is happening to Danny. What I loved was how everyone was integrated and that we don't have one or three particular characters as part of the main plot line - really each character brings their own part.
I'll be honest though -the reveal just did not work for me. I wasn't particularly surprised about the main part and the reasoning behind it seems a tad bit ... elementary. Maybe that's fitting for that particular character and I've certainly read and seen people do far worse things for a lot smaller reasons... however, this one just didn't quite push my AHA button. Instead I was left a bit disappointed and wanting.
I do think those who like a more complicated plot that involves several characters and are more into the slower suspense will like this novel. I think my timing was a bit off for this one and in the vast amount of thrillers that I read, this one just fell a bit subpar for what I typically prefer.
Thank you Thomas & Mercer and Kaye Publicity for this copy.