Review: Drifting Sands (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries) by C. J. Baty

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 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.

I have a confession to make. This book has been on my review TBR pile for a while. I started it and then put it down. Started again and once more put it to one side... it took me a while to get into... but I think this was definitely a me thing. Sometimes I have to be in the right mood for a certain type of book. When I picked this up a third time, I couldn't put it down. Honestly, I loved it and can't wait to read the next in the series.

The Warfield Hotel and general setting of this story is as much part of the cast as any other character. CJ Baty has written a wonderful murder mystery in this setting. The thing is... I'm not sure it's solved yet. Sure, there was a conclusion, it seems wrapped up, but I'm really not convinced. And I LOVE this. I want more - but not in that horrible cliffhanger way where I felt I've only been fed half a story in order to line an authors pocket (I know that's not how it works, but we've all read those books which really are only half a book, none of the story solved until the second instalment. It's made me hate cliffhangers!).

Justin is not perfect, he tries hard, but he makes mistakes. His father's influence over his life - even though he's long gone - made me frustrated. I could understand (some) of Justin's reasoning, he was trying to keep what he loved. His brother, the hotel - and TBH, his father sounds like a completely manipulative bastard. The thing is, I felt Caroline ended up as a victim. While she could be seen as a hateful character, I have to admit I felt more than a little sorry for her. 

I liked the dynamics between Marcus and Justin. I can't wait to see how it moves on between them. It wasn't a sweet romance - I wouldn't have believed it if it was. It was hot and cold and horny and subdued. Frustrating at times - and sometimes Justin annoyed me. Sometimes I wanted to shake him. Sometimes his decisions pissed me off no end. Then other times I felt so bad for him. I ached for him to have the easy settled - open - life he craved.

Marcus was unendingly patient, I felt. I'd like to know more about him. He's nobody's fool, smart and savvy, his attraction to Justin wasn't sickeningly sweet. It was real, and I wanted for him to get an HEA so much!

Before I go, I just want to mention Moses. Now he seems a really hateful character. One of those with absolutely nothing to like about him - and yet he intrigues me. I feel there's more if we just get to dig deeper - he's part of the reason I want book 2 so much. 

This book is well worth reading, I'm just sorry it took me so long to get into it. Like I said, I honestly believe this was me and not the story! Recommended.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.


  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful review and I am so glad you enjoyed the book. Book will be coming soon!