Noah is a townie of Cliff Harbor, Maine, and likely to be a permanent resident of his parents’ home if he can’t find a real job. He’s got an associate’s degree in auto repair and mechanics, yet his community is more of a tourist destination and the prospects for employment are slim. While driving home from yet another failed interview, Noah stops to aid a wealthy stranded motorist. Lloyd Peterson is inclined to give Noah a job and a new home at his mansion Cliff House, if he’ll serve as driver and chaperone of Lloyd’s adult son, Tristan—who will not drive anymore.
Tristan Peterson has had a serious trauma; a year ago his car accident killed his lover, Martin, and he’s haunted by guilt. As Noah soon discovers, Tristan is also haunted by Martin’s spirit. Strange things are happening at Cliff House, and between fires and car incidents, Noah seems to be the target of some serious danger.
This was a good “haunting” read. I liked Noah a lot, and even Tristan was a good character. We have lots of people involved in Tristan’s care, including a shady psychiatrist and twin childhood friends who are both enamored with Tristan. Noah keeps an even keel throughout and does solve the mystery of the departed Martin’s hauntings.
I was pretty tight on Noah’s tail, suspecting more than an apparition. This part of the book was really well-told with proper misdirection and convincing red herrings. What was less digestible was the rapidity with which Tristan and Noah became lovers. Surprisingly, this contemporary book has this almost-gothic sensibility, and at times I felt touchstones to Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Still, I could have done with a bit more time between Noah moving in to Cliff House and the physical relationship that developed between him and Tristan. I guess I wanted to be sure that there was a real relationship developing and not a reactionary tryst based on Tristan’s rebelliousness. That was my biggest complaint, and the rest was an interesting read. The mystery unravels at a good pace and with progressive clues. Expect scheming, double-crossing, and a bit of sexytimes.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.