Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
For the first time it occurred to him that if Brian’s kidnapping had been an inside job, that insider might still be alive. Alive and well and living on the estate.
I want to start by saying if I could give this story more than five stars, I would. This story is so beautifully written and so engaging. I had a hard time putting it down. I didn’t want to put it down. This story is so rich and involved. The mystery and romance blend so fluidly. Part of me wanted to finish the story so I could sleep. Another part of me wanted it to never end. Here. Let me tell you about it so you can draw your own conclusions.
Griff Hadley traveled from Wisconsin to Long Island for one reason and one reason only: to write the story of Brian Arlington, the boy who disappeared. Twenty years ago, Brian Arlington was taken from his own bed in the middle of the night while his family hosted a party on the estate. One of the staff was convicted of the murder of young Brian, but the body was never found.
Griff is the only person who has been allowed by the Arlington family to write the story that may reopen the case. When he arrives, Griff expects animosity from the family members, excluding the patriarch who supports Griff’s cause. He even expects the immediate dislike from the family attorney, Pierce. What he doesn’t expect is for someone to try and kill him. And he certainly doesn’t expect the strange attraction he has to Pierce. There is more to the Arlington family than meets the eye. Skeletons fill their closets, but Griff isn’t sure if it’s enough for them to want to get rid of him.
When a stranger shows up claiming to be Brian, the Arlingtons flock. But instead of being met with skepticism, the Arlingtons immediately believe the stranger without question and without physical proof. But Griff isn’t fooled and neither is Pierce. Once on different sides of the subject, Griff and Pierce join forces to discover who this “Brian” is and what he’s after, other than the Arlington fortune.
Digging into the past of others is not always profitable. Some secrets are meant to be kept in the dark. And some are too difficult to face.
I’ve already said how much I love this book, and I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to do this story justice. I’m not sure it’s possible from my amateur thought process, but I’ll try.
There’s a poetic and classic quality to Lanyon’s writing that I love. It draws me in, painting a world and a story so rich that it’s hard to disengage and place myself into reality without thinking about the story constantly. What I love so much about this author’s writing is the vast array of subjects and variety of storylines he takes on. It never ceases to amaze me how very different each storyline is. And I’ll be honest, Stranger on the Shore is one of my favorites. It’s meticulously plotted and beautifully written. I wanted more. I still want more even though the story ended perfectly.
Stranger on the Shore is what is best known as a cozy mystery. It’s set in the picturesque location of the Arlington Estate situated on Long Island. The blood and gore of the mystery is kept to a minimum. There’s a whodunit quality involving a certain group of people—in this case, the Arlington family and staff. The mystery—or mysteries, as it may be—within this story is tight, intriguing, and captivating.
Lanyon has the ability of writing the most fascinating characters. Griff is a mystery, even to readers. He holds his cards close to the vest. In the beginning, Griff is at the Arlington Estate to write a book about the abduction and investigation that followed, with maybe a little hope that he might find something new or get the case reopened. But there’s more to Griff than anyone knows, even himself. Then we meet Pierce. Even as the asshole attorney, I liked Pierce. He’s the kind of guy to do any and everything to protect those he cares for. And he goes above and beyond whether merited or not. He turns out to be his knight in shining armor, even though he’s presumptuous and high handed. He’s the perfect match for Griff. I love their tug-of-war relationship. It makes for sparks that light a blazing fire.
The incorporation of The Great Gatsby into this story is ingenious. I first read Gatsby in high school, and I’ve come to learn it’s one of those stories you love or hate. I happen to love it, maybe not as much as Griff, but we can’t all be that obsessive. There are many similarities between this story and the Fitzgerald classic. The stranger pretending to be someone he’s not is perfectly mirrored in this story, but also given a new definition. The differences in class—the rich and the not as rich—is a big part of both stories. Morality, or the lack thereof, of the rich and famous plays a role in this story, not by Griff but by the people he observes. There are many similarities, and we’d be here all day if I listed them all. Just know Lanyon made a classic into his own mystery/romance so flawlessly that I dare to say Stranger on the Shore will one day be as much of a classic to those who love this genre.
So, as you can see, I loved this story. I want more, which isn’t uncommon for me when I finish a Josh Lanyon book. I am forever in awe of this Lanyon’s storytelling ability and can’t for more. So until next time, I highly recommend you read Stranger on the Shore.