Release Date: 
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

HFC mentioned in Pulitzer prize-winner's latest thriller

Event Date: 
Gruley and his new book cover

CAPTION: HFC is mentioned in Detroit native/author Bryan Gruley's latest novel, Bleak Harbor.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/Anthony Award-wining novelist Bryan Gruley has always liked Dearborn.

“I like Dearborn, I played hockey and lacrosse there, so I wanted to put (Dearborn) in my book,” said Gruley, of Chicago.

An alumnus of Detroit Catholic Central High School and the University of Notre Dame, Gruley is a reporter for Bloomberg News and was the Chicago bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. In addition to being a journalist, he’s the author of four mystery-thrillers, including his latest, Bleak Harbor.

HFC is mentioned in Bleak Harbor, which takes place in the fictional title town set in the southwest side of Michigan, near Berrien County. At the very bottom of page 179 in Bleak Harbor, it’s revealed that one of the characters, Dulcina “Dulcy” Pérez graduated from HFC. “Pérez got an associate’s in computer science three years ago from Henry Ford Community College,” the single sentence reads.

Gruley will be forgiven for using the College's former name in this context.

Thriller plot with dark secrets

text excerpt from the book

In Bleak Harbor, Danny Peters, an autistic yet brilliant teenager and the scion of the family that founded the town five generations earlier, is kidnapped. His parents, Carey and Pete, are sent disturbing photos of Danny – who’s been beaten, as well as bound and gagged – demanding $5 million. And that ransom amount keeps growing.

Fearing the worst, Carey has no choice but to ask her dying, estranged mother, Serenity, for the ransom money. Serenity refuses. To heighten the stakes, an anonymous person is sending Carey and Pete ominous texts and emails filled with information about them that nobody else knows. Forced to reveal the darkest secrets Carey and Pete have hidden from each other – her extramarital affair with her boss, his illegal activities in his medical marijuana business – they come to the sobering realization that their actions might have led to Danny’s abduction.

Other characters come into play:

  • Officer Katya Malone, the lead investigator on the case who’s consumed by guilt after the death of her daughter;
  • Journalist Michele Higgins (who debuted in Gruley’s The Hanging Tree – in the Dearborn scene, no less) who’s hoping Danny’s story will get her out of Bleak Harbor;
  • FBI Agent Locke, who has his own agenda in this case;
  • The enigmatic hitman known only as Quartz, a suspect in Danny’s abduction.

High praise

Bleak Harbor isn’t a detective story or a police procedural. Nor is it a murder mystery or a kidnapping story, per se. Gruley combines elements from each of these sub-genres into a compelling read that has elicited praise from Gillian Flynn, the No. 1 New York best-selling author of Gone Girl (which was made into a 2014 blockbuster movie starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris).

“Bryan Gruley’s Bleak Harbor is a lightning bolt of suspense, packed with twists and surprises. Gruley’s plot races along, powered by characters – big and small – who truly crackle. "'A masterful follow-up to his Starvation Lake trilogy,' said Flynn."

Even fellow author and Detroit native Steve Hamilton, whose latest novel, Dead Man Running, mentioned that his long-running protagonist Alex McKnight played baseball for HFC, praised Gruley.

“The best book Gruley has ever written, and unlike any crime book I’ve ever read,” said Hamilton.

Upcoming Signings:

Gruley will speak about and sign copies of Bleak Harbor locally on the following dates:
• Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:00 p.m.: My Little Paris Café & Bookstore, located at 141 E. Main St. in Northville. Call 248-465-0010.
• Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2:00 p.m.: Commerce Township Community Library, located at 180 E. Commerce Street in Commerce Township. Call 248-669-8108.

Learn more about Gruley at