I had just bought a Kindle and stumbled across "The Gray and Guilty Sea" while looking for John D. McDonald titles. The synopsis of the book was interesting, and the non budget-busting $2.99 price certainly sealed the deal. Fortunately, I would have felt good paying a regular price for this book (except maybe for one issue which I will get to later).
We are introduced to former private investigator Garrison Gage, a curmudgeonly recluse with a fascinating past. He lives in a tiny town somewhere on the Oregon coast, has few friends, and spends much of his time working crossword puzzles. Bits and pieces of said past are revealed throughout the story, and (in my opinion) would be fertile ground for prequels. I suppose it will be acceptable to learn Gage's back story piecemeal over a series of books, but I will be highly disappointed if Nolte fails to reveal more than just tantalizing glimpses of that history.
I won't bother summarizing the book here...that's been done. Much to my delight, this story proved to be one of the ones that grabs my interest in the first chapter and holds it throughout. The storytelling was crisp and economic without side trips and I never once felt like putting the book away to read something else. I tend to read for escapism and entertainment. I'm not always looking for a learning experience, and I didn't like my philosophy class in college. Therefore, a straightforward story without a huge cast of characters and multiple sub-plots is really welcome.
I confess I read other reviews of this book, so I was prepared for the apparent loss of editorial support somewhere midway through. After a reasonably error-free first half there appeared typos, odd word usage, pronoun changes ("her" to "him"), and a few other boo-boos that a competent editor would catch. Being prepared, I refused to let these lapses dampen my enjoyment of the story, which they did not.
I eagerly look forward to reading more stories by this author, hopefully with the same protagonist.