Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review: BAYLIN HOUSE by LJ Parker

Synopsis (from Amazon)

It was supposed to be a quick-fix editing job to uncover an old secret from the past, but Cassie’s involvement has uncovered more, including a connection to her own family.

Native of Las Vegas, Cassandra Crowley has been hired to complete an autobiography for cancer stricken Rosalie Baylin on the south Texas Gulf Coast. But word of Rosalie’s illness has put her beloved Baylin House under attack, and Cassie must deal with disappearing funds, a witch hunt by the county Health Department, and now even the police who suspect one of Rosalie’s mentally challenged clients in a Homicide.

Cassandra - Cassie - Crowley is broke, out of a job, and leaving her home in Vegas one way or the other. Headstrung, domineering Dorothy needs someone to edit a book - and find out a secret - and happens to know Cassie's grandmother. The money is good, the job is only for 3 weeks, and satchel and computer, Cassie arrives in Cordell Bay, Texas. 

The assignment is Rosalie's autobiography focusing on Baylin House.  Baylin House was a "home" for men who were challenged, but some were placed there because they were orphans and Rosalie worked with these men to give them skills to live independently. Some still live or work with her at Baylin House.

The "catch" (other than Dorothy) to the job is that Rosalie is dying and the book needs to be done before.  On top of that, Baylin House is having financial and licensing problems, and no one seems to know why all these problems are happening when there are large donations coming in. Cassie looks to find answers as forces are trying to close Baylin House even as Rosalie and some of her charges still live there. In the process, Cassie "kicks an anthill" or two. Even when hunky Detective "Cowboy Rob" Baxter tries to keep her safe, Cassie needs to keep asking questions and making connections. It's only a matter of time before the "villain" makes his final move.

Parker reels the reader in early, and then lets the story simmer.  Then Cassie goes in search of more information and pushes the wrong buttons reigniting the suspense. This creates a natural rhythm throughout the book. There are some predictable turns, but also surprises as the secrets are revealed. Scenes are described down to the scents, sounds, and emotions. A good read when you don't need to go anywhere for a bit!  You'll want to see how it all unravels. I'll be looking for more about Cordell Bay, Cassie, and Cowboy Rob for sure.

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