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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…
Oh, Josh Lanyon, how I miss thee.
Sure, in 2013, he released a few shorts and a novella (Kick Start from the Dangerous Ground Series, which I didn’t like) but it has been awhile since Mr. Lanyon released a full-length novel. So I was excited when I saw this being listed for publication.
Did I love it? I most certainly did!
What made this a winner for me was the “Josh Lanyon” formula. When Griff first came to the estate, Pierce (the family lawyer) didn’t exactly welcome him with open arms; Pierce kept questioning Griff’s motives and he acted briskly around Griff. Sound familiar? If you read so many of Josh Lanyon’s most notable contemporary romance stories, I am sure it does.
However, it was this familiarity that was comfortable for me as a reader. So yes, the relationship took a little while to build – ALTHOUGH, timeline wise, it actually happened within a week. But it was everything that happened within that week that made it like it wasn’t instant love.
The mystery itself had a ‘noir’ feel to it. Maybe it was the fact that Griff came to this huge estate, and he seemed to do more on the research side by asking questions and reading a journal – instead of using the Internet *lol* — which made it felt rather ‘old and classic’. I must admit though, I felt quite a jolt of shock when I realized that the kidnapping happened in the early 1990s – somehow I couldn’t imagine the 1990s being TWENTY years ago. It didn’t feel that long for me. Man, I felt old!!
Josh offered few clues and red herrings along the way, but I could figure out where he wanted to go with the answer to the mystery of the missing Brian. So while the twist was good, it didn’t completely surprise me. Still, it was an interesting case and resolution. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it.
I did wish that there were more times committed to Griff and Pierce in regard to the romance build-up. Since the story was narrated from Griff’s perspective, it was easier for me to see the gradual change of feeling. However, I missed Pierce’s version of the story and his change of heart until that final scene. The ending was also more HFN rather than HEA – although being familiar with Josh Lanyon’s stories, it didn’t really bother me much.
All in all, the classic formula worked and I was happy.