Three people find themselves drawn to a historic house where secrets from their past lurk.
An unlikely trio of investors has purchased a dilapidated historic mansion with land on each side in Maryland, 39 Bayshore. Splitting the waterfront property into thirds, the owners each hope for resolution to past problems. Taking over the mansion are Carolyn Reynolds and her three “aunts,” friends of her mother who helped raise her and have now whisked her away from stressful Los Angeles. They want to give Carolyn time to heal after a failed business and the death of her mother, which she still believes involved foul play. Meanwhile, the lot to the right of the house has been taken by a construction company composed of reformed ex-cons, ready to prove they can still contribute to society, especially Shealds Jackson, a man covertly seeking the evidence to prove that his scheming, and unfortunately dead, stepbrother had set him up to take the fall in a smuggling operation. Finally, on the lot to the left, is Pastor Peter Allred, who has come to Bayshore to confront deep psychological scars left by his father, a cult leader who was taken down in a bloody FBI raid and media firestorm. Unfortunately for them all, Bayshore will not be an escape from these troubles, as someone hides in the shadows, trying to sabotage each group’s every move. With so much back story in the novel, it is no wonder that Grisanti (Paths of Promise, 2012, etc.) labels this the first of a series. Consequently the book never finds its own rhythm outside of clunky exposition. Carolyn and her “aunts” announce their shared histories to one another as if they had never met before, and Shealds’ extensive inner monologues feel rushed and unbelievable. Despite the sometimes-awkward prose, the stories are nevertheless engrossing and inventive, taking readers from homes for unwed mothers to dangerous cults before the real action has even begun and creating some characters with potential to truly shine in future installments.
An exposition-heavy mystery that holds its intriguing characters back but sets the stage for more enthralling sequels.