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

Scott William Carter , Jack Nolte
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,168 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"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. 

Publisher's Note:  A newly revised edition of The Gray and Guilty Sea was published in June 2014, correcting minor typos and formatting errors.

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 832 KB
  • Print Length: 269 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Flying Raven Press (October 26, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049H92G8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #920 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
151 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I want more... May 2, 2011
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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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Plot December 5, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down... it kept me on edge all the way through. It was a fantastic whodunnit even I was baffled and couldn't figure out who and why till almost the end.

Very good and easy reading, can't wait for more Gage novels.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner! June 29, 2011
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!
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story in need of Editor May 16, 2011
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.
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157 of 183 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written & edited May 14, 2014
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars None
similar background as gage. also live on or coast. still trying toguess the town. haha. great writing.suspensful amd keeps you tryng to figure out suspect.
Published 14 hours ago by Billie Oregon Coast
5.0 out of 5 stars well paced, interesting and some plot twists. will ...
well paced, interesting and some plot twists. will be reading the rest of the series and will look at authors other novels. Read more
Published 18 hours ago by Janice D Lispi
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Appeals to the sleuth in all of us.
Good book. I was surprised, because it was free. I like his style, even though he used similes a little too much for my taste.
Published 18 hours ago by eyelikewords
4.0 out of 5 stars an awesome read...
A hard book to put down. Exciting tale that kept you guessing during the whole ride. Mixed up with both mystery and romance, but well balanced.
Published 1 day ago by Shirley Farnsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you feel you are there
Hard to put down and sorry to reach the end. Isn't that what one wants in a good book? While believability was a stretch in places,it was enjoyable to read.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective Novel Worth Reading
A gritty detective novel and lead character. People almost real enough to come alve on the pages.
Published 1 day ago by Richard Bone
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Looking forward to the next books.
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
Good book. Not a lot about shooting and killing, but very entertaining any weay. I enjoyed it.
Published 2 days ago by Linda McWhite
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Was a good read.
Published 2 days ago by Jerry Rhude
4.0 out of 5 stars Writing style
Very well written hoping more of the same from Mr Carter.
It was a romance and murder mystery rolled into one. Great read
Published 3 days ago by Headley
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