Books, Coffee, m/m, Mystery, Romance

[Book Review] Stranger On The Shore By Josh Lanyon & Starbucks Gold Coast Blend

Stranger On The Shore By Josh LanyonTitle: Stranger On The Shore
Series: Standalone
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: May 5th 2014
Page Count: 236 pages
Age Rating: Adult (explicit sexual scenes, language, and violence)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: Stranger On The Shore

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…

My Review

Stranger On The Shore is first and foremost a mystery, but the romance unfolding within feels anything but secondary, instead both aspects blend seamlessly together in this intriguing and compelling read.

Griff Hadley, crime beat reporter for a small town paper, gets his big break when the head of the Arlington family, Jarrett Arlington,  gives his permission for Griff to write a book about the kidnapping of Jarrett’s four year old grandson –  an unsolved crime that made headlines twenty years ago.  Not only does Jarrett give Griff permission, he invites the reporter to stay in the guest house of his sprawling estate, the scene of the kidnapping, and instructs the family and staff to give Griff their full cooperation. Pierce Mather, the family’s lawyer, is firmly against the book and makes his stance well known. Griff is attracted to the extremely handsome and well-put together lawyer from the beginning, but Pierce’s prickly and distrustful nature quickly puts him off (though the two do give in to their attraction briefly). When someone shows up claiming to be Brian, the long lost grandson, Griff and Pierce team up to discover the truth and find themselves growing closer in the process as stunning secrets and devastating lies are uncovered.

This was one of those mysteries that just can’t be put down. It starts out a little slow, put quickly becomes engrossing. Griff as the small time reporter researching an unsolved, big time case came off as smart and charming, an everyman swimming in a world of the very rich, treading water and feeling a little out of his depth. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through this character’s eyes, the details he observed and way he put two and two together was really interesting to follow along with.

The romance between Griff and Pierce starts out very subtle. The two don’t get along, but there’s something there. Pierce is brusque and professional to Griff, especially around others, but there are times when the two are alone that there seems to be an extra something, an underlying current, in their interactions. When the two do give in to their attraction, it appears to be a one off kind of thing, but people and events seem to conspire against the two to bring them more firmly together. While the story is unfolding, the two men seem like an odd pair to be getting together, but by the end it feels like they were meant to be together all along.

All in all, I really loved this book. The descriptions were fantastically detailed, painting a picturesque setting in my mind, and the clues given gave just enough away to lead the reader in the right direction, without giving too much away and leading to a too predictable conclusion.  This was my first time reading this author’s work and I won’t hesitate to snap up books by Josh Lanyon in the future, especially if they’re all this absorbing.

In Stranger On The Shore, Griff Hadley’s favorite book is The Great Gatsby and it’s his obsession with the book that he feels leads him to become interested in the Brian Arlington kidnapping since, similar to The Great Gatsby, the kidnapping takes place in an opulent estate on Long Island’s Gold Coast, so named for the high concentration of wealth in one place.  I can’t hear the words “Gold Coast” and not think of Starbucks Gold Coast Blend, one of my very favorite coffee blends they sell.  Though Starbucks Gold Coast Blend is named for a neighborhood in Chicago, I still feel it embodies the feeling of Gatsby’s (and the Arlington’s) Gold Coast – rich, opulent, bold and refined. The packaging has a Gatsby feel to it as well ;).


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