Review by Gloria Lakritz
Review Chair, Paranormal Romance Guild
CJ Baty has written a series The Warfield Hotel Mysteries, and I read and reviewed Book #3 last week. Ms. Baty said Book #3 was a standalone when she sent this in for review submission. It was, but seeing hints of the people in book 3 made me want to read the first two even more. Since Drifting Sands and Crashing Waves must be read together, they deserved to not be separated for review.
Justin Warfield is the Manager and Owner of the Warfield Hotel. He has managed it alone since the death of his parents, and will alone until his younger brother Peter turns 26 and becomes co-owner. Justin’s whole life revolves around the guests and the staff, even living on property. He has let his ex wife live in the family home, allowing her to keep up the façade that they are married. The emptiness and lonliness of his life is felt more now that he is turning 40. His brother Peter shows up with his college buddy Marcus Drummond. Drummond is their guest for a little vacation and then to celebrate the festivities for Peter’s 26th Birthday Bash. Marcus has a secret; he is totally crushing on his best friend’s brother. Justin is in the closet, forced to marry Caroline and be the perfect husband. But the sparks between them…..yum
Very quickly bodies start piling up on the Hotel’s Beach. Men that Justin has been with over the years as lover’s are being shot and killed. Why are they here? What brought them to the Warfield? The town Sherriff Moses Lee is investigating and he is slowly putting the noose around Justin’s neck as the killer.. Our author has given us a fabulous mystery with great pacing and good supporting cast. Drifting Sands ends in a cliff hanger but Crashing Waves is one click available immediately.
We are still in who-dun-it mode, but better yet the intensity of this new relationship is front and center. Ms. Baty gives us the push and pull of love in first bloom with the angst of someone in the closet, fearing what the truth might do to he, his famly, his business, his livelihood….More over his world. Justin the dutiful son, forced into a loveless marriage, suffered horribly and yet Caroline probably suffered more. So much so that she appears unstable, as well as Moses Lee feeding the frenzy.
The body count has stopped, now the hotel and the owners and staff are finding various ‘things’ happening. Marcus and Justin are living separate lives, Marcus returning to Atlanta working his new PI business successfully, Justin returning from a long vacation, after running away from the relationship he wants desperately; afraid Marcus will be hurt in the crossfire. Peter calls Marcus to come back to the hotel and help look into these ‘happenings” ; hence bringing our two together again. I loved the series even though I read it backwards. It was nice that reading #3 made me want to learn more about the first two because Marcus and Justin are a couple in the third book and it was nice to see how they got there.
I can even see a 4,5,6….lol