Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
In the end, I think it was all of the above.
Casey North escaped his small home town of Land’s End as soon as he could. He went to New York City, became a chef, and opened a successful restaurant in Los Angeles. Cooking was his passion, and the restaurant was his life, so when it burned down, he had nothing. When his girlfriend left him taking pretty much all of his possessions, he ran away to the only place he knew to go. Back to Land’s End.
He rented a house on the beach – a beautiful place, with an amazing view, to the point that he was surprised to get it so cheaply. What he didn’t know at the time was that the previous renter had died in a surfing accident only a month before.
Myles Taylor had a fantastic life – he was a professional surfer, getting paid to do what he loved, and had the ring all ready to propose to his boyfriend. They went out surfing in the morning, Myles got caught in a riptide, and next thing he knew, he was on the beach, alone. Until his beloved but long-dead uncle came up to explain to him that he wasn’t alive, but wasn’t in “the Beyond” yet either, and was stuck to this place until it was time to leave. No explanations, no purpose, no timeframes. Myles could only go so far from the house before he was thrown back to the beach again. Only animals could see or hear him. He had absolutely no clue what he was supposed to do, and wandered around the house and beach perpetually angry at his fate. When someone moved into the house that he had started thinking of as his, he had a place to channel that anger.
Casey planned to hole up in his rented house, avoid everyone but his sister and her family who still lived there, and hope to recover enough to go on with his life. He was severely depressed, but the medications and the therapist hadn’t made much of a difference so far. When things started getting thrown around in his kitchen, he couldn’t decide if it was a ghost, or if he was hallucinating, but he was scared. Because he had nowhere else to go, he decided to try to make peace with the ghost (as well as taking medications to stop hallucinations). After his initial anger, Myles realized that Casey was the only human he had been able to actually make contact with, and so he actively looked for ways to communicate better with Casey.
So what began as mutual fear and anger gradually became cooperation, then trust and friendship, and ultimately desire. But how can a human and a ghost find anything permanent? Especially when that ghost knows sometime he will have to go Beyond?
Initially I was really caught up in the book, enjoyed how Myles and Casey danced around each other, and wondered how the would get together. About halfway through, maybe a little before, I figured out what was really going on, and then I just wondered how the author was going to get from here to there. The way she did it was what made me drop stars from the book. It’s funny how I have no problem suspending my disbelief for the ghost part of things, but as Myles became more corporeal…. well, no. And the mystery aspect of the story, which really was a very little part, was unnecessary, especially the final wrap up of that sub-plot. It was, in a word, stupid, and made for a terrible ending to what had been a really enjoyable book up to that point. And after such a good start, too! Oh well….
Cover art by Brooke Albrecht is actually quite pretty, though it didn’t convey much about the story.
ebook, 220 pages
Published May 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitlePast the Breakers
ISBN 1635333997 (ISBN13: 9781635333992)