Wakes on the Alsea

We rated this book:


If you’ve been looking for the next great suspense and mystery novel, this is it. Wakes on the Alsea has all of the elements of a great book. This book carries an interesting and complex cast of characters who are easy to keep track of through a plot that keeps the reader motivated to read all the way through to the end. In fact, the style of writing reminds me a lot of one of my favorite suspense novelists, Kerry Wilkinson.

Set in a small town in Oregon along the Alsea River, a young boy named Skid goes to live with his grandparents. He loves living with his grandparents although he is quiet in school and definitely not one of the popular kids. Fast-forward a few years and we meet the main character, Grady Riker. Grady is a sixty-one-year-old man who is a wildlife researcher and writer. He hangs out with his friend Dave who is the local mechanic. One day, Grady stumbles upon a body being eaten by vultures on his neighbor’s property. Unknowingly, Grady gets sucked into the local mystery. The deceased is one of his neighbors and not the first casualty of what seems to be a serial killer.

The author does a great job of separating the two storylines only for the reader to wonder how they are connected. Are Skid and Grady related somehow? Do they meet up and solve the mystery together? As more people turn up dead, Grady becomes fearful of his own life as well as those of his friends and family. The local police have very little to go on and may actually think Grady is the serial killer.

This book has some great twists and turns in it and I’ll admit I did not guess the ending. Grady is a very likable character which was refreshing. Usually, the main character makes dumb decisions putting them in harm’s way. Grady is really level-headed despite all the beer that seemed to float around in this book. His best friend Dave is also a great character and I loved the part where Grady and Dave go to see Dave’s grandma to see if she knows what Skid’s birth name is. They have her use a recording device at a party she is going to to see if any of her friends know who Skid really is and it is adorable how she is ready to help out. Grady’s nephew, Spencer, also plays a great role in the story and the relationship between them is heartwarming. The whole crew in this cast of characters are written like real people. Wakes on the Alsea is a fast-paced whodunnit that will have you reading it in one sitting.

Reviewed By:

Author Greg Starypan
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 287 pages
Publisher Independently published
Publish Date 2019-05-03
ISBN 9781093535488
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue December 2019
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller

2 reviews for Wakes on the Alsea

  1. Connie Andrews

    This crime mystery novel is firmly grounded in the Pacific Northwest, and the twists and turns kept me guessing until the very end. The author has created a likeable community of local characters in a small coastal river town who help a nature writer turned reluctant sleuth solve a series of murders. There is plenty of suspense and momentum for an engaging read in a couple of days. What I enjoyed most is how the natural world was woven into the details of the plot while keeping the story entertaining.

  2. Sam Cangemi

    “Diabolical” is the only way to describe the murders in this mystery by Greg Starypan. As I read this book, I wondered not only who was going to get killed next, but by what method? And then I was curious of how the author come up with these gruesome techniques to do in these people? The book was a gift from neighbors who knew I had lived in the Pacific Northwest several years ago, and since the setting is the Oregon coast, thought I might like to read it. They were right. The author has a depth of knowledge about zoology that makes the book very interesting with accurate information regarding the wildlife of the area that is intertwined into the mysterious deaths. It’s definitely a good read, and one to reread, to see if there were any clues that the reader missed along the way to figure out who the murderer was.

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