“The Gray and Guilty Sea” by Scott William Carter, is a sort of modern-day noir detective novel that pits an embittered private investigator’s desire for privacy against his innate goodness.
Garrison Gage has seen it all. He becomes a recluse after a near-death beating that prevented him from saving his wife from being brutally murdered. Five years have gone by, but the memory and constant pain in his shattered knee are fresh in his mind. He thought leaving everything behind and moving to the rugged Oregon coast would bring escape and anonymity. And it has. He has limited his contacts to a few people he trusts. Crossword puzzles are all that capture his attention. Strolls along the beach listening to the sounds of the ocean cleanse his soul. And then he finds the dead girl washed up on the shore.
A determined iconoclast he has no home phone and no cell phone. He calls his discovery in to the local police and soon regrets he didn’t make it an anonymous call. Giving his name opens doors he may not be ready to go through.
Still, he can’t help wondering about the girl. Who is she? Why hasn’t anyone reported her missing? Injuries to her wrists and ankles speak of something more than drowning. He finds the suggestion that she committed suicide to be preposterous. Gage’s instinct to right a wrong kicks in. He quickly finds that Barnacle Bluffs isn’t the sleepy tourist community it seems on the surface.
Gage, a retired New York PI, starts asking questions, and experiences push back from unknown quarters. A mysterious message left in his driveway gives him reason to believe the Jane Doe on the beach isn’t the only one. There may be others.
Gage doesn’t trust local law enforcement. His emotional roller coaster of a life creates barriers to moving forward. His good friend is dying of cancer. To complicate his life, she asks the impossible. Add in an unexpected attraction to a beautiful newspaper publisher and you have the ingredients for a tale you want to read to the end at one sitting. So get your favorite glass of whatever, find a cozy spot, and open “The Gray and Guilty Sea.” Follow the clues as the mystery unravels at a breathtaking pace.
Publisher’s Weekly called Carter’s first novel, “The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys,” published in 2010, a touching and impressive debut. The book won the Oregon Book Award that same year. Since then Carter has published ten novels and more than 50 short stories in a wide range of genres. He lives in Oregon with his wife and children. For more information about Carter, go to www.scottwilliamcarter.com. His books are available at most online retailers and from his website.
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