Bleak Harbor by Bryan Gruley is about a teenage boy called Daniel who lives with his Mum Carey and Step Dad Pete. The book starts with an introduction to their lives and daily interactions, with Pete taking Daniel fishing while Carey works multiple days away in Chicago. Everything seems to be idyllic until Daniel disappears one day while Pete is at a bar and his mum is on her way back.
Through the various backstories of multiple characters, we learn about the town and how everyone fits in or doesn’t, especially Daniel since he is on the spectrum of autism. We learn that his parents built soundproof walls to dampen his screams when he has an episode which leads to people thinking that his parents mistreat him.
As the reader is exposed to more and more characters, each one beginning to be linked in new and exciting new ways keeps you guessing to the very end on who had kidnapped Daniel and what their motive possibly was. You are introduced very early on to a wide range of characters who would have a motive.
I enjoyed that even though the book jumped from person to person it always helps build up the picture as you went along. There are a few flashbacks as well, which are formatted so it is easy to tell when you are in the past and they are always preceded with what they will potentially show.
Once Danny does go missing Gruley leaves a breadcrumb trail and constantly throws you off the path of the kidnapper, one minute it is clear who the kidnapper may be, the next the rest of the characters become suspects.
The only downside to this book is that the parents, close family members and neighbours were never prime suspects they were just let go, even when Pete’s business is not as legal as he leads his wife, Carey, to believe.
The other negative I can think of is that most the characters unbelievable seem to be linked somehow, which is very unlikely. But it does provide many suprises, some that cannot be foreseen.
Well I do think this book deserves a 5/5 and will be reading the future books to see where the world Bleak Harbor goes next. I’ve seen that it doesn’t follow Danny’s life so will be interesting to see. I would recomend this book to anyone who loves to keep guessing the potential kidnapper and also readers who enjoy the tech aspect of crime.