The Dark Gray Blanket is a fictionalized true crime novel that draws inspiration from a dark period of time that occurred in Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977. H. Burns crafts a story focused on detective Frank Pellegrini, a dedicated detective who works on cases connected to young children. When he is called in on the first case Frank finds himself having to contend with his past and a specter he never expected to confront.
A young child is found wrapped in a blanket on the side of the road, hidden in a snowbank, and with one bare hand raised in the air. Frank Pellegrini arrives at the scene of the crime and as the investigation begins slowly more murders are uncovered involving children within the Detroit area. Frank insists that while there are other cases only some of them are related and he fears that a serial killer is working under the cover of snow. After being confronted by his own department during the investigation Frank finds himself relating what has currently happened with a tragic moment from his past, which seems to have an eerie connection.
H. Burns uses the true events of The Baby Sitter Killer murders, which did occur in Detroit in the winters of 1976 and 1977, to inspire his story. As a fan of true crime I was curious to see how he would use these events to create a larger fictional story, especially because they currently have not charged anyone with these murders. Burns creates a full mystery arc for The Dark Gray Blanket and provides his readers with a solution to the case. The work he does to develop Frank Pellegrini’s character and weave together his past with the murderous events taking place in Detroit is fascinating to see. Burns also provides in depth historical examinations of Detroit and the city that it has evolved into. Beyond that he also explains which elements of his story were direct fact and which were fictional elements. While this is a fictional work I would recommend The Dark Gray Blanket to mystery lovers as well as true crime enthusiasts.
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