Dan Green finds himself at the beach near St. Augustine, Florida to track sea turtles for DeLynn college. While on the beach in the middle of the night looking for turtle tracks, Dan is joined by lifeguard Jay Altera who decides to keep Dan company for a spell, flirts a bit, and shares the ancient tale of the Marie Louise and its doomed crew.
Jay turns out to be more than just a lifeguard, he is also from a long line of demon hunters, protecting the beach from the evil forces that decimated the crew of the Marie Louise. On Dan’s second night, he is taken surprise by a vicious storm that blinds him with blowing sand, and while trying to orient himself, Dan feels that his foot is grabbed, and he falls right onto something dead lying on the beach The experience leaves Dan shaken and with a mysterious burn that morphs into a symbol, more specifically a filigreed cross.
Jay’s behavior becomes odd when he recognizes the image of the cross, but when he refuses to answer any questions, Dan decides to visit the historical society for answers. The curator, Joseph, who sees the image imprinted on Dan’s hand also reacts strangely. When Dan confronts Jay, he admits that he knows something, but that Joseph would be better at explaining the history of the mark. All Dan wanted was to do was tag sea turtles. Demon possession and a romantic interlude were never a part of the plan.
I did know what I was choosing with this book, really! What I was not expecting was the depth that Moore went to regarding the possession, the demon, and its actions throughout the years. This was definitely the focus of Jay and Dan’s story, to the point that their only sexual encounter was fade to black (too bad because Jay sounded hot).
Although I liked the various characters in the story on their own, Jay and Dan’s budding relationship felt rushed and left me wondering how they got from “A” to “C” without really addressing “B” along the way. The secondary characters, Eloise and Joseph, were nicely developed and added some backstory and humor into a grim tale. I did feel at times that the entire town was populated with believers, although I know from hints dropped during the tale that that was not in fact the case, it just felt like it.
So I did notice a few oddities in regards to the continuity, such as why would Joseph have Jay drive the Gas Roots if they were all going together? I also could not figure out why would Eloise flip the “closed” sign after they got back (should that not have been done before they left the store?).
Beach Patrol was a story about good and evil, forgiveness, and budding love under the most unusual circumstances. I mean demon possession, gruesome murders, and love. How much more unusual can you get?