It’s the nature of an accusation: once tossed out, the stain remains. It’s unfair. It’s infuriating. And it’s human nature to judge, and judge easily. Eli Landon, a man deemed guilty in the court of public opinion, knows he is innocent of any crime other than plain foolishness. But proving it and wiping free the ugly smudge of guilt? It’s next to impossible.
Plot Overview: Family, Suspicion and Faith
Eli, a blue-blooded Boston criminal attorney, was preparing for a bitter divorce with his cheating wife, Lindsay; the battle he got, however, was entirely unexpected. Coming home hours after a vicious confrontation, Eli found Lindsay murdered, her head bashed in with a fireplace poker. He quickly became the prime suspect, and though the circumstantial evidence was strong, Eli was never charged.
One year later, he slinks back to the family home, battered and wounded, a soldier returning from a war he never wanted to fight. Bluff House is a balm on his wounds, as is the housekeeper, Abra. Despite his best efforts, Eli continues to fight for his innocence, even as he struggles to reconstruct his shattered life. No one, it seems, is safe around him, at least until he and Abra come up with a plan to snare the man determined to take Eli down.
Criticisms and Compliments
At first glance, Whiskey Beach doesn’t seem that interesting; a scarred man escapes to the beautiful family home on the beach to lick his wounds and recover. Naturally, he falls in love with the dusky, exotic and vulnerable housekeeper. The end. Judging a book by its cover, however, is absolutely the wrong way to go with Whiskey Beach. Yes, it has the typical and expected elements of a romance novel, but such is the nature of the genre. Eli Landon is also surprisingly complex, and while it’s not the first time Roberts has created a character who is a writer (just check out Grayson Thane in Born in Ice), Eli’s emotional journey is reflected in his own novel’s development. It’s a nice parallel.
The only disappointing part of Whiskey Beach is that Roberts doesn’t hold back the identity of private investigator Duncan’s murderer, though Lindsay’s murderer is left to be exposed at the end. The problem, aside from the killer(s) being predictable, is that Roberts is so skilled at surprising the reader with the antagonist (Montana Sky is a great example) that the reader can’t help but feel a little let down that she didn’t wait to reveal the whodunit in spectacular, shocking fashion.
Whiskey Beach is a good read, but it could have been better. Still, the pacing and writing is excellent, and Eli and Abra make for a believable couple.
- Roberts, Nora. Whiskey Beach. Putnam Adult, 2013 ISBN 9780399159893