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Shadows on the Sand: A Seaside Mystery

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    Murder and mystery in sleepy little Seaside, NJ - Grab this one!

    Author Gayle Roper returns to the New Jersey barrier island town of Seaside for “Shadows on the Sand.” Readers soon learn there are things happening here that sound more like major metropolis than sleepy little resort town in the off-season.

    Carrie Carter runs Carrie’s Café, one of the town’s year-round businesses. Her sister Lindsay, the talented cook of the restaurant, shares a comfortable life with Carrie. There’s only one little problem: Carrie loves former police officer Greg Barnes. He hasn’t got a clue that she is anything more someone to pour coffee. He’s too withdrawn to notice her as a woman. He’s still aching from the death of his wife and children and blaming himself for it.

    Carrie’s young dishwasher fails to report for work and starts an avalanche of events. When his body turns up, the evidence points to murder. Teen waitress Andi takes his death hard, even though she claims to love another young man. Her guardian Clooney (a supporting character in previous Seaside books) wants to protect her from the mistakes of young hormones, but she may be in danger from other sources. Can he protect her from those?

    While there are strong elements of romance in “Shadows on the Sand,” the book centers on a deep mystery. Roper has woven a tight thriller that includes cults, greed, child abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism and posttraumatic stress disorder. The town’s colorful characters aren’t above using Twitter to share suspicions and rumors.

    Roper is a Christian author, but don’t mistake that for “wimpy.” Her characters face gritty problems and dangerous situations. They just don’t face them alone. Roper lets her cast demonstrate their faith in small but meaningful ways throughout the riveting book.

    I was deeply engaged by “Shadows on the Sand.” Roper’s use of multiple voices makes the narrative compelling and she carries the strategy off in style. This book will appeal to mystery lovers, fans of Christian fiction and those who like romance that takes the high ground.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Good read!

    It was a little hard to get into at first but turned out to be a very good book!

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  • Posted January 20, 2012

    Good Mystery

    I haven’t read any of Gayle Roper’s other novels but I truly enjoyed reading this one; this book has it all: mystery, cults, suspense, murder, and romance. I enjoy reading mystery books by authors such as James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, but often have a hard time reading them because of the language and sexual content these novels sometimes contain. It’s always nice to find a mystery novel that tells the story without the use of such things. In Shadows on the Sand, Gayle Roper does a great job of telling an intriguing, captivating story that kept me guessing and turning pages. Just when I thought I had figured out the story, there was a twist that threw me for a loop and had me guessing again. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery story wrapped up with a little romance.



    I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Quick and decent read but light on the suspense

    Carrie ran away from home as a teenager. Carrie was a child but took on the responsibility of bringing her younger sister and raising her. Their mother was an alcoholic and her "boyfriends" were just a little too interested in Carrie. Fortunately, Carrie arrived at Seaside and was taken under the wing of some caring and loving people. She was given a job as a waitress in a local café and provided an apartment. Now Carrie owns the café and operates it with the help of her sister.

    Greg used to be a police officer but quit after his family was killed. Now he manages a local Seaside apartment complex and is simply taking life day by day. He has become a regular at Carrie's café but he isn't involved in life until one of Carrie's employees is murdered. Carrie is persuasive and entreats him to help figure out what is going on in their little town, especially after her waitress disappears shortly after the murder.

    If the drama of a murdered employee and a waitress that has vanished isn't enough to deal with, Carrie also has to deal with facing her mother for the first time in years. Greg is battling his own problems -- namely guilt over his family's deaths, but finds himself wanting to get closer to Carrie as they become more involved in the seemingly mysterious disappearance and murder.

    Shadows on the Sand is a light suspense story with a hint of romance and an overabundance of the inspirational aspect found in Carrie's thoughts, prayers, and scripture inclusions. The romance isn't front-and-center in the story but seems to hover in the background. The action is believable for the most part, but I had difficulty swallowing the inclusion of a cult and twisted cult leader. The characters are reasonably well-developed and the dialogue is realistic. Sorry but this story just didn't do anything for me as there was very little mystery or suspense to be found and the action, although believable, was a bit clichéd.

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Very Good Read!

    Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper was a wonderfully written book. I enjoyed every minute of it! The setting of this book takes place near a beach/ocean, which is my kind of perfect lifestyle! The characters are very believable and have significant backgrounds. Carrie, the main character owns a café. She and her sister ran away from their mother at young ages, because her mother was a drunk and brought home men who were less than ideal. However, they made a life for themselves and really turned things around. It is interesting to note that the man Carrie has fallen in love with is a widow and has baggage himself. In fact, he barely says two words and while Carrie is madly in love with him, it appears he has absolutely no interest or idea she is even alive, besides going to her café everyday. There is also a mystery involved with this story. You think and the characters think it is going to go one way, but it turns out to go completely different. However, about 2/3¿s or even ¾¿s of the way through, you start to figure it out. The only part I did not care for was the reference to the polygamist lifestyle. However, scripture and prayer was interwoven seamlessly to show that they author did not condone this, it simply added to the plot of the entire story.
    This was the first book that I have read by Gayle Roper and I would be very interested in reading more by her!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    Fast-Paced Read

    My Synopsis: A disappearance has upset the small town of Seaside, New Jersey, after a fight breaks out at a party, and everyone fears the worst. Jase, an escapee from a religious cult, is later found in the bay. Carrie Carter (owner of the restaurant Jase works for), and Greg Barnes (an ex-cop and daily customer at the restuarant) suspect the boyfriend of another employee, Andi, who picked the fight with Jase just days before. Andi and Jase were in the same cult's compound, and Andi has reason to believe the cult's leader (who claims to be the archangel Michael) and his right-hand man Harl is behind Jase's disappearance. Worse, she believes she may be next because of the secret she holds.

    My Reactions: Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper was hard to get into for the first few chapters. I had to trudge my way through it. But after those few chapters, I could NOT put the book down! This story has a lot of suspense and action (and a bit of romance) that left me curious for more. My only complaint was that some chapters were dedicated to the backstory of the characters. But some of that backstory was needed to move the story along.

    Overall, I would give this novel 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.

    FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. That in no way sways my opinion of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are honest and mine alone.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Story!

    I've read and enjoyed other books by Gayle Roper, and I'm happy to say 'Shadows on the Sand' was no exception! Once I actually started to read this book, I found it interesting almost from the beginning.

    Some of the character's stories in 'Shadows on the Sand' I found sad. Carrie Carter and her sister Lindsay ran away from home seventeen years ago because of horrible circumstances, and Greg Barnes' wife and kids are dead because of something that was meant to kill him!

    I, personally, really liked 'Shadows on the Sand'. While I normally prefer books that have a LOT of suspense, this book had a really great story and a nice amount of romance that, I found it very enjoyable.

    There are a couple of things that may not be suitable for young readers. One of them is there is a cult called 'The Pathway' that practices polygamy.

    Overall, 4 stars and I recommend 'Shadows on the Sand' if you enjoy a nice, cozy mystery with romance.

    *I received a complimentary copy for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion.*

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fun beachy read with mystery!

    This book starts out like a fun beachy book with romance brewing between two very damaged people and a fun supporting cast of secondary characters that all congregate at "Carrie's Cafe" in the mornings. Then an employee of the Cafe turns up missing and is then found dead, then while that is being investigated another young employee turns up missing. Carrie and Greg find themselves in the middle of it all but can the duplicity of the people around them be found out before anyone else dies? It turns out that Carrie and Greg aren't the only people in Seaside with baggage from their pasts and some people have enough baggage to get them (and those they love) killed.

    "Shadows on the Sand" have a couple really great veins in it - there is a whole thread about social networking that I got a total kick out of and one on cults that was pretty eye-opening. This was a really good book and I look forward to seeing where Gayle might take this series from here.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Mystery ,Romance,Murder

    A Fiction/ Suspense Novel witten by Gayle Roper in which Carrie Carter and her sister Lindsey had ran away to SeaSide NJ to get away from abuse. Carrie first worked at the cafe and later owned it. Carrie had a crush on an ex-cop Greg who had lost his family a few years before to an explosion and came into the cafe daily.
    When the dishwasher got killed and a waitress disappeared Carrie and Greg try to figure it all out.
    I enjoyed this book. I received the book free from Waterbrook multomah to read and review. The opinion expressed are my own.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    A GREAT SEASIDE MYSTERY! SHADOWS ON THE SAND BY GAYLE ROPER...REVIEW

    SHADOWS ON THE SAND by Gale Roper is a interesting suspense set in Seaside,New Jersey. It is "A Seaside Mystery". It has faith, love, romance,mystery,some suspense,family connections,sadness,tragedy,murder,forgiveness,second chances,secrets and love. This is a heart warming story with an emotional ride that will stay with you long after the last page. A great story. Received for review from Library Thing and the publisher.Details can be found at Waterbrook Multnomah and My Book Addiciton Reviews.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2011

    Great Mystery & Romance

    Carrie Carter, owner of a small cafe in Seaside, New Jersey has fallen for a man who doesn't seem to notice her. Greg Barnes is an ex-cop who is recovering from a vicious crime that took the lives of his wife and children three years ago.

    Things between Carrie and Greg begin to change when Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears. Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries. Then Carrie's own painful past comes back to haunt her and her carefully constructed world begins to sink. Can their new relationship survive with so much to overcome from their pasts?

    Shadows in the Sand is a great mix of romance and mystery. I loved the romance part of the story and Carrie and Greg's struggles with their pasts was very realistic. The mystery part of the story was also well done. I was able to figure out who the killer was but Gayle Roper did have me thinking it was a few other people before I figured it out about halfway through the book.

    The part of the story that I didn't like was how Jase and Andi both ended up at Carrie's Cafe about the same time. I think this was a little too convenient but it was the only part of the story that I didn't find believable.

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    This book started out a 4 and ended a 5 so I rounded it to a 4 1/2. There is a lot going on in this book!
    -A love story.
    -Two different runaways - one years later now grown up, the other just 16, both ran for their lives. Now their lives have intersected, can one help the other?
    -A murder mystery
    -Long lost family reconnection
    -Sadness, love, suspense, mystery, and coffee!
    You would think that with all this going on it would get confusing, but it doesn't at all! The story flows very nicely, weaving in and out of each aspect of the story line, connecting each one to each other. Every bit of this story is just as interesting as the other. I wouldn't take anything out or add anything to it.
    The character development is excellent. There are a lot of characters but again, it is very to keep everyone straight. I rally felt very connected and attached to each of the misfits that have come together at Carrie's diner. Each one has his place and each personality is executed perfectly.
    And... this is all happening around a diner. Which you all know by now I love! It is all about the owners, the employees, and the customers. Whatever happens it all comes back to the diner. I love it because this is always the constant in the book. It becomes a comfort zone.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    From the back cover of the book... "She serves him breakfast at her cafe every morning...but he never seems to notice her. Carrie Carter's small cafe in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals...although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He's recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children -- and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her. When Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries...and into her life. But when Carrie's own painful past becomes all too present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink." My Thoughts on the book... While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it started out a tad slow in the beginning. Not slow enough to make me want to abandon it, but just not at a pace that I couldn't put it down. After a chapter or two, the pace started to pick up, and I was becoming hooked! It's not until you are well in to the book do you come to understand Carrie's full background from her growing up years. She always seems to have a secret about her, a hidden past. The same can be said for Greg, he shares little information of the family he once had. While I enjoyed reading of their story, at times I felt as if they weren't the main characters of the book. Almost more exciting or interesting, is the story of Andi, a young girl with a troubled past, including a link to "The Way", a religious cult of sorts, run by "Michael, the arch angel". Just what does this young lady know of the dishwashers death, and is her rough boyfriend involved more than she cares to admit? By the way, in case your wondering, I give this book 4 stars, and would highly recommend it! **I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group and was not required to post a positive review.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Summer Mystery

    I enjoyed this book. It has romance and mystery...along with a murder. Things keep changing and keeps you guessing. Most of the Characters have a strong faith in God..it's what keeps them facing life challenges. There is also a Cult thrown in...and you see how easy it is to be deceived.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery!

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    GAYLE ROPER "SHADOWS ON THE SAND" (REVIEW)

    GAYLE ROPER'S "SHADOWS ON THE SAND" (REVIEW)

    This book was really good, with just enough romance and suspense to keep you turning the page. The ending was gripping and the love story was intense. It keeps you guessing at who the murderer is and there's heightened emotion as you get drawn into both Carrie and Greg's stories. Gayle Roper writes with intelligence and grace.

    I would recommend this book to fans of romance and suspense alike.

    -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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