Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: Drifting Sands
SERIES: The Warfield Hotel Mysteries Book 1
AUTHOR: C.J. Baty
LENGTH: 167 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 12, 2017
As he approaches his fortieth birthday, Justin Warfield feels alone, drifting like the sand that blows along the beach near his family’s hotel. He has done exactly as his father wanted. Married the right girl and carried on the family tradition of running the Warfield Hotel. On paper things seem perfect, but happiness hasn’t been a part of his life for a very long time.
Marcus Drummond once spent a summer with his best friend Peter at the Warfield Hotel and fell hard for Peter’s much older brother. Five years later he’s back, and this time he hopes that Justin will see him as more than his kid brother’s friend.
Sparks fly when the two meet again, but there are a few things standing in their way. The closet that Justin has himself buried in and someone on a killing spree, dumping bodies on the Warfield beach . . . victims that indicate Justin may be involved in some way.
OK so this story just did not work for me. I am giving this one 2.5 stars because I can see value in the premise and there were some parts of this that I know others will like. However for me, the execution left me feeling bewildered and annoyed.
For me, this story felt like a hugely melodramatic, over the top, soap opera on crack. The characters reacted with full emotion for every little thing. The over reactions to every minor slight, perceived or real, had me gritting my teeth after a while because my eyes dried out from all the rolling they were doing. For a story set in modern times, things did not add up. The cliches were abundant and the racism was out in full force. I mean, you don’t need too remind me in every sentence that the cop is black and angry because he’s black and pissed at the white folks because he’s black. And then to make him the bad guy and keep the rationale for book 2? Nope, not cool. You can’t just base an entire story on reverse racism and then leave me hanging.
And the ex wife with the untreated and never specified mental disorder? She was portrayed as a raging harpy who was so in love that she refused to leave her cheating husband and go find happiness? Sorry, this didn’t compute to me as to why she just didn’t leave. It was never made clear to me why she behaved as she did other than the convenient mental disorder.
And OMG the black servants called the white homeowners “master.” This was published in 2015 and was not set up as historical so this bothered me a lot. Maybe that’s the way things are still done in South Carolina, but it felt too out of time for me. Like this was originally meant to be pre-civil war and was just converted over.
I also really struggled with the way Justin’s sexuality was handled. The author kept saying he was in the closet but he acted like it was well known and all the major character knew and most of the secondary characters knew. it just felt fake and over blown.
I do have to admit I enjoyed the mystery. I mean I pretty much knew who the bad guys were, though I was really hoping that it wouldn’t be so obviously cliched. But I did not and still do not know what the motivation was. I wanted to know and that is what kept me reading to the end.
But then the end was this abrupt cliffhanger that did not resolve anything of note. I am honestly not sure why this needed to be a cliffhanger instead of cutting out the completely unnecessary romance and just making this one book focused on the mystery. I mean the romance was totally unexplained and it just fell flat to be continued in book 2 I guess. But for me this was a long book of nothing because it is incomplete. You are forced to read book 2 to get any kind of closure.
I will read book 2 because I have received a review copy, but if I had to purchase it, I would pass. Make of this review what you will, but I am not sure I can recommend this to anyone. Maybe my viewpoint will change after I read book 2.