“I didn’t approve of murder on general principles. Not even of people who seemed to go around begging for it.” – Josh Lanyon
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages/Word Count: 226 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Twenty years ago, little Brian Arlington was kidnapped from his family’s Long Island estate and was never seen again.
The trail went cold, but investigative journalist Griff Hadley has always thought there was more to the story—much more. When the Arlingtons’ patriarch invites him to stay at their estate to research his true crime book, Griff can’t say no. It’s the story of a lifetime.
But not everyone is happy about Griff’s presence. Relatives and staff alike regard him coldly, including Pierce Mather, the Arlingtons’ attractive lawyer, who is more than a little wary of Griff’s motives.
When a stranger shows up claiming to be the long-lost Brian, Griff and Pierce are united in their suspicions. Startled to have found an ally in the buttoned-up lawyer, Griff soon realizes it’s hard to keep a professional distance. Even in the midst of a groundbreaking investigation, even in the face of a shocking family secret…
Review: Riding on what could be the biggest break of his career, Griff Hadley delves into the past of the near reclusive Arlington Family and the tragic kidnapping of one of their own, little four year old Brian Arlington. However, despite being welcomed by the patriarch of the family, Griff is uneasy at the family estate, where strange music and potentially near fatal accidents leave him uneasy and cautious. A growing infatuation with the family lawyer, Pierce Mather, only complicates the picture and Griff finds himself being thrust into situation after situation that sees him falling back into childhood practices that include everything from crippling anxiety attacks to nighttime terrors.
The key to all his uneasiness is the mystery surrounding young Brian’s disappearance, but will Griff have time to finally unravel the actual events of that night so long ago, or will he be forced to abandon the truth and his growing affections for Pierce?
It is no secret that I am a hard-core mystery fan. I love nothing more than a well-written, intricately woven plot that twists and turns and leaves me in the dark till the every end. I savor novels where the story is the focus, the characters are fully fleshed out and believable, and the romantic angle is present but carefully developed so as not to overwhelm the plot with obligatory bedroom scenes. I particularly enjoy a story where the hero is inherently strong while, at the same time, realistically flawed and unashamedly refuses to bury those same quirks and secrets beneath an uncharacteristic bravado. I want an “everyman” as my hero, someone keenly aware that he walks to the beat of a different drum but stoically pursues the truth despite how brutal the revelation may be.
In a nutshell, the paragraph above has just described Stranger On The Shore. A good mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat and has you silently rooting for its heroes. Griff, while reluctant to wear the mantle, is every bit a hero. He settles down amidst a company of players and an opulent world that is both so familiar yet so foreign to him and his rather strange and humble upbringing. So many things about little Brian Arlington’s disappearance haunt Griff. He feels driven to find out what happened to the boy so keenly that when “Brian” suddenly reappears, Griff fears he has immersed himself so completely in the pursuit of answers that he has tricked himself into believing he is somehow a part of the very mystery he is investigating. With every turn of the card, Josh Lanyon pulls us more deeply into Griff’s psyche and, in doing so, invests us emotionally in Griff’s well being.
With an amazing cast of secondary characters and the coolly aloof yet intensely smoldering love interest, Pierce Mathers, Mr. Lanyon once again produces an intricately woven plot with mayhem and murder afoot that captures your imagination and leaves you breathlessly racing toward the finish. There is a reason that Josh Lanyon is an award winning writer and Stranger On The Shore serves only to solidify this author’s place among the mystery writing greats. I highly recommend Mr. Lanyon’s latest masterful work to you!