Monday Book Review: The Gray and Guilty Sea: An Oregon Coast Mystery


The Gray and Guilty Sea: An Oregon Coast Mystery (Garrison Gage Series Book 1) by Scott William Carter

Book Description

October 26, 2010
“Carter’s writing is on target.” – Publishers Weekly

A curmudgeon. An iconoclast. A loner. That’s how people describe Garrison Gage, and that’s when they’re being charitable.

After his wife’s brutal murder in New York, and Gage himself is beaten nearly to death, the crippled private investigator retreats three thousand miles to the quaint coastal town of Barnacle Bluffs, Oregon. He spends the next five years in a convalescent stupor, content to bide his time filling out crossword puzzles and trying to forget that his wife’s death is his fault. But all that changes when he discovers the body of a young woman washed up on the beach, and his conscience draws him back into his old occupation – forcing him to confront the demons of his own guilt before he can hope to solve the girl’s murder.

My Take:
The cover picture caught my attention, the title drew me in. Reminiscent of “The Old Man and the Sea”, “Moby Dick” and other sea faring or sea side tales, the ebook was begging to be read. Toss in a free download and color me hooked!
The synopsis sums up the story nicely, so I won’t go into it here. Carter knows how to write, how to develop character, time and place without excess exposition or relying too heavily on any one theme. Carefully crafted, although I will air a minor gripe, that the title character is a bit overly melancholy, it parallels the Oregon coast perfectly. Weather matches mood in this retired detective novel, add in one dead girl with one live girl to even out the scales of justice.
Carter also levels the playing field with good guys, bad buys and even grey guys. Most of the book entails goose chases but doesn’t detract from the novel as a whole. I admire the clean, clear writing while the investigator nips to and fro to find out who this dead girl was. Carter writes time and place that aids the forward movement of the book, rather than make filler to elongate the word count, as some authors are want to do.  Carter writes with a purpose.
I give 5 stars.
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