Review: Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon

.Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Stranger on the Shore coverWhen investigative journalist Griffin Hadley is hired by the patriarch of the wealthy Arlington family to write an account of a long ago family tragedy, Griffin had little idea of the danger he is about to encounter.  Twenty years ago young Brian Arlington, heir to Arlington fortune, was kidnapped for ransom.  Although a man was charged with the kidnapping and jailed, young Brian was never found and is presumed dead.  Brian’s grandfather wants closure before he dies and hires Griffin Hadley to renew the search for answers about his grandson once and for all.

Blocking Griffin’s investigation and efforts to write the story is Pierce Mather, the Arlington family lawyer.  Pierce Mather, cold, handsome, and resolute in his determination that Griffin leave the estate and Arlington tragedy in the past.  Pierce also administers and controls the Arlington billions.But he is not the only one unhappy that Griffin Hadley is about to dig up questions about the decades-old mystery.

As more and more factions line up against Griffin, he begins to wonder if he can figure out what really happened all those years ago.  And when Pierce begins to show that he is attracted to Griffin, Griffin wonders if it is due to passion or something more ominous….

 Stranger on the Shore a welcome return to writing for this author as well as demonstrating just why Josh Lanyon is on so many  readers TBR lists.  A story that is both a romance and a mystery is one of the favorite ploys of this author’s and one he does so well.  For me as a reader, one element I appreciate and look forward to in each of Josh Lanyon’s novels is the  unsettled atmosphere and haunting settings he evokes with his sensual imagery and vivid descriptions of his locations.  In Stranger on the Shore it is the old palatial Arlington estate whose very name conjures up mysteries, secrets, and opulence, that is the setting for the investigation into a young boy’s kidnapping and murder.

Ah, the mystery….well to be honest…the one mystery that looms the largest is also the most easily guessed at.  So it’s not so much the who,  but the why and how that defines the mystery and the investigation.  That is one of the pleasures of this story.  All the threads that have to be pulled together to figure out the larger picture and persons behind it all, and there is a myriad of plot threads to follow.  In Stranger on the Shore it’s the journey not the destination that is the true joy.  It’s the miasma off the waters, the perfectly manicured gardens that beg one to peer behind the hedges,  and the walkways that beckon as they lead into the darkness. It’s the indolent feeling of the old privileged powerful families and the weight of their wealth that slowly gives over to one of suspense and dread. A bubbling up of a malodorous past that Lanyon brings forth so precisely, fraught with clues that the reader cannot help but follow that makes this story sing. the Arlington estate and gardens  comes alive here, so much so it is as much a main character as Griffin and the Arlington family. In Stranger on the Shore we get ambiance, mystery and an alluring location.  All that and the romance too.

Lust in the heat, impulsive sex between lovers who don’t trust or perhaps even like one another, that’s sexy sizzle of desire is another great element of this story.  Pierce Mather, cold, calculating, and what exactly?  Is he loyal family retainer?  Part of the puzzle behind young Brian Arlington’s disappearance?  Controlled yet passionate lover?  He is all that and more as the story unfolds and Griffin Hadley is pulled deeper into the Arlington family history and current scramble for the family fortune. And then there is Griffin.  I wish I had a sense of Griffin as an investigative reporter, that seemed a little lacking here.  A writer yes, reporter no. But so much about Griffin is appealing.  He is vulnerable, unsettled and perhaps too trusting for the role he is to play here.  But he will engage your feelings as he goes about tumbling into the past  and present dangers of the situation he finds himself in.  Griffin and Pierce were perfect foils for each other and I loved their intense arguments as much as their love scenes.

I’m not sure why exactly Josh Lanyon has such a diverse and/or opposite effect on readers.  They absolutely adore him or his writing doesn’t engage them.  It seems to fall one way or the other.  I happen to love him.  I admire his stories even if I find I can predict the outcome or part of the plot before the resolution. His characters have always been able to reach me with their foibles and faults as well as their intelligence.  And as I have stated, his descriptions and imagery is captivating in its ability to pull you into a scene or situation smoothly and decidedly.  I love the emotions he brings forth and the  depth of love and believability he is able to create for his characters.  No, this story’s not perfect, but I found myself still thinking about the plot and characters days later.  That ability to resonate is aspect of good storytelling I require and I found that here.

Josh Lanyon took a sabbatical from writing for over a year and his voice was missed by many.  Now he has returned and I look forward to the stories and characters his inventive mind will create.  Stranger on the Shore is a terrific start.  I loved it and think you will too.   If you are new to Josh Lanyon, there is a huge backlist awaiting you, including many of my favorites such as Fair Game, Come Unto These Yellow Sands , and the Adrien English Mysteries.  Start here and work your way backward.  You have a wonderful journey ahead, get going!  Those of you who are Josh Lanyon fans, well, you probably have already picked this up and started reading.

Josh Lanyon and Stranger on the Shore are recommended author and novel at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.

Happy Reading.

Buy Links:   Carina Press         ARe           Amazon


Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages
Published May 5th 2014 by Carina Press
original titleStranger on the Shore
edition languageEnglish

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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