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The Gray and Guilty Sea: An Oregon Coast Mystery (Garrison Gage Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,541 customer reviews

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Length: 269 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"It was a shrewd marketing move ... to entitle his first mystery novel The Gray and Guilty Sea. It makes it nearly irresistible for an old John D. MacDonald fan like me . . . Recommended." - Brandywine Books

"The Gray and Guilty Sea is quite an enjoyable novel that engages a reader on multiple levels." - Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews

"Outstanding debut crime novel set on the Oregon coast and starring a misanthropic former detective ... as much a fascinating character study as it is an original story." - Michael J. Totten, author of Resurrection

"Scott William Carter makes it look easy." - 

From the Author

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The Garrison Gage Mystery Series (in chronological order):
  • A Plunder By Pilgrims (short story prequel)
  • The Gray and Guilty Sea
  • A Desperate Place for Dying
  • The Lovely Wicked Rain
  • A Shroud of Tattered Sails

Product Details

  • File Size: 980 KB
  • Print Length: 269 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Flying Raven Press (October 26, 2010)
  • Publication Date: October 26, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049H92G8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The inhospitable Oregon coast is the perfect backdrop for Garrison Gage who goes through the motions of living but whose soul is as dry and battered as a hunk of driftwood. Gage carries the emotional and physical scars of his former private detective's life. His last case took a bad turn. The brutal murder of his wife was the result. Maimed both physically and emotionally, he retreats to the Oregon coast to lick his wounds and wallow in self-loathing and regret. Perhaps that's why discovering the body of a young girl washed up on the shore strikes deep within the heart of his hermit's existence and why he's drawn into solving her murder. The ensuing investigation stirs up the entrenched old guard community and pits him against dangerous enemies. Finding the girl's killers becomes his obsession - bringing them to justice resuscitates his damaged soul.

The Gray and Guilty Sea is hard-hitting crime novel - no namby-pamby dancing around the issues. Jack Nolte's prose is clean and uncluttered. He paints the elements of wind, sea, and the endless gray that permeates men's souls. The story builds and crashes like angry waves on a shore that can't escape ... and doesn't want to. A very good read. Hoping for more of the same!
Comment 74 of 78 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked "Ghost Detective" for an interesting and clever plot, so I tried this effort by the same author. Unfortunately, this suffers from poor writing, bad editing, hackneyed plot devices and more. Sorry, but I cannot recommend it at all. First, the editing looks more like a single pass from a spell-check rather than a genuine edit. "Their" used instead of "they're", gender pronouns mis-assigned, tense errors and the like pop up throughout. Minor plot devices show up and then seemingly are forgotten, left unresolved. At the end of the book, the author seems to have written the protagonist into a corner, and has to assign an esoteric skill to allow the hero's escape. Then the author has to go back a hundred pages and insert a single phrase referring to this odd skill with no other explanation or reference, kind of an afterthought resolution. This feels like something knocked out over a weekend with little or no review or rewriting. By the way, "Ghost Detective" had many of these same flaws to a lesser degree, but it was premised on a very clever concept which the author made work in spite of the minor glitches.
3 Comments 208 of 236 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The main character, Garrison Gage, is a wonderful blend of PI, caring person, and recluse with a past to forget. He is hampered by a bum knee which requires a cane to walk but this doesn't appear to slow him down. He finds a girl's body on the shore and decides to brush off his unused PI skills to find her killer.

This book is a nice blend of Garrison's self discovery and the discovery of the killer. The story holds your interest but I wouldn't call it edge of your seat thriller except in parts. The character development is outstanding extending to even the minor characters. In fact, the story is almost secondary to the characters but that doesn't in any way diminish the story.

The author has a tendency to repeat himself in small ways which I found annoying. An editor is needed badly. Two examples. He states within the same page that it is hot and humid for December. On one page he says he slept until noon saying he has never slept that late and on another page he sleeps until 8 saying he has never slept that late. This book should have 3 1/2 stars but I bumped it up because I truly liked Gage and will read the next book - I just hope someone proofreads it.
Comment 80 of 88 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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