Shadows on the Sand: A Seaside Mystery

Shadows on the Sand: A Seaside Mystery

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by Gayle Roper

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She serves him breakfast at her café every morning … but he never seems to notice her.
Carrie Carter’s small café 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


She serves him breakfast at her café every morning … but he never seems to notice her.
Carrie Carter’s small café 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 to present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.
Will the fragile relationship she’s building with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific fiction author Roper begins a new adult fiction series. In the sleepy little New Jersey town of Seaside, lots of dangerous undercurrents are swelling among its inhabitants. Carrie Carter, a single, 30-ish victim of childhood abuse, runs a cafe with her younger sister, Lindsay. Carrie also does a mental "happy dance" in her head every time widower Greg Barnes comes in for breakfast. Barnes, a former police officer, is tending his own emotional wounds, trying to get past the guilt of not being able to save his wife and children from a violent death. When Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her waitress disappears, Carrie and Greg begin to put their heads (and hearts) together in earnest to solve the mystery. Working alongside each other, the couple work hard to face their individual pasts with grace and grit, creating a satisfactory story line with enough emotional charge to keep readers' attention. (July)
From the Publisher
Praise for Shadows on the Sand

“Gayle Roper’s mysteries get deeper and develop more tangled threads with each book. The characters and setting are so real I wanted to run out and help them. Happily ever after was in serious doubt. Very well done.”
—Lauraine Snelling, author of the Daughters of Blessing Series and the Red River of the North Series

“There’s nothing quite like a long-awaited vacation, especially when it’s served up with a Gayle Roper novel. Shadows on the Sand, a tale of faith, forgiveness, and fresh starts all wrapped in a captivating mystery, was just what I needed to return to the real world refreshed and inspired.”
—Tamara Leigh, author of Nowhere, Carolina and Restless in Carolina

“With vivid, realistic characters and a tightly woven plot, Shadows on the Sand is a novel I couldn’t put down. The emotional ride stayed with me long after the last page. Highly recommend!”
—Robin Caroll, author of In the Shadow of Evil

Shadows on the Sand is a rare mix of love story, spiritual warfare, and crime drama all rolled into one fabulous tale. Gayle Roper has once again created fascinating characters and a rich story that kept me up well into the night.”
—Mark Mynheir, homicide detective and author of The Corruptible

Library Journal
Abuse survivor Carrie Carters and her younger sister run a small café in a seaside town in New Jersey. Though Carrie has many friends, she has eyes only for former policeman Greg Barnes. Unfortunately, Greg is still struggling to recover from the deaths of his wife and children three years ago, and doesn't even seem to notice Carrie. Then Carrie's dishwasher is murdered, and Greg works with her to solve the case. VERDICT A tightly woven plot and realistic characters make this fifth entry in the "Seaside" series (after Winter Winds) a worthwhile read. Recommend it to readers of Liz Johnson's novels, which also combine romance and suspense.

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Read an Excerpt

“The usual?” I asked, my voice oh-so-casual.

He gave a nod, barely glancing my way, and opened his copy of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Press of Atlantic City waited.

I turned to place his order, but there was no need. Lindsay, my sister, partner, and the café’s baker, had been listening to Andi’s story through the serving window. She waved her acknowledgment before I said a word. She
passed the order to Ricky, our short-order cook, who had stayed with us longer than I expected, long enough that he had become almost as much of an asset to Carrie’s as Lindsay was.

My sister gave me a sly smile, then called, “Hi, Greg.”

He looked up from his paper and gave Lindsay a very nice smile, far nicer than he ever gave me.

“The sticky buns are all gone,” he said in mild accusation, nodding toward the glass case where we kept Lindsay’s masterpieces.

She grinned. “Sorry. You’ve got to get here earlier.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Or you could make more.”

“I’ll take the suggestion under advisement,” she said agreeably.

“Haven’t you heard the adage about making your customers happy?”

“Yeah. So?”

He laughed and turned a page in the paper. I brought him a glass of OJ and a cup of my special blend.

“How’re you doing?” I asked, just as I did every morning.

He gave me a vague smile. “Fine.” Just as he said every morning.

But he wasn’t. Oh, he was better than, say, a year ago, definitely better than two years ago, but he wasn’t well. Even three years after the tragedy that had altered his life, he was far from his self-proclaimed fine. If you looked closely—as I did—you could see the strain never completely left his eyes, and the purple stains under them were too deep and dark, a sure sign that a good night’s sleep was still little more than a vague memory for him.

But he was sober. More than two years and counting.

“Keep talking, Andi,” Lindsay said as Ricky beat Greg’s eggs and inserted his wheat bread in the toaster. “This is better than reality TV. It’s really real.” She walked out of the kitchen into the café proper. “Bill bopped Jase,” she prompted.

“Our Jase,” I clarified.

Greg looked up. “Your dishwasher?”

I nodded.

“Hmm.” And he went back to his paper.

“And Jase went down for the count.” Andi’s chest swelled with pride at her beloved’s prowess.

I flinched. “Don’t you think knocking a guy out for talking to you is a bit much?”

Andi thought for almost half a second, then shook her head. “It wasn’t for just Saturday. He knows Jase and I work together, and he was staking his claim.”

I’d seen Jase and Andi talking in the kitchen, but there never seemed to be any romantic overtones. “Jase is a nice guy and a good worker. I don’t want to lose him because of your boyfriend.”

“He is, and I don’t want him to go either,” Andi agreed. “I like talking to him.”

“Me too.” Lindsay rested an elbow on the counter and propped her chin in her palm. “I think he’s sad.”

“What do you mean, sad?” But I’d sensed he was weighed down with something too.

“He’s funny and open most of the time,” Lindsay said, “but sometimes when no one’s talking to him, I see this look of sorrow on his face.”

I nodded. “All the more reason to hate that he got punched.”

“Yeah.” Lindsay got a dreamy look in her dark brown eyes. “But there’s something about a guy defending you, even if what he’s defending you from isn’t really a threat.” She sighed.

“Lindsay!” I was appalled. “Get a grip.” Though if Greg ever wanted to defend me, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t mind. Of course, that presupposed he’d notice I was in trouble. I glanced at him bent over his paper. Not likely to happen. I bit back a sigh.

“Tell me, Andi. Does Bill plan to punch out any male who talks to you?”

“Come on, Carrie,” Andi said. “Don’t be mad at Bill. You know how guys can be when they’ve had a few beers.”

I did know how guys could be, beers or no beers. “What were you doing at a party where there was drinking?”

She became all prim and prissy. “I did not drink.”

“I should hope not, but you shouldn’t have been there.” Good grief. I was sounding more and more like her mother—or how her mother would have sounded if she weren’t missing in action somewhere. Part of that history I didn’t know.

“Order up,” Ricky announced as he walked to the pass-through. “The food is never better than when I plate it.”

You’d have thought he was Emeril or Wolfgang Puck or one of Paula Deen’s sons, not a stopgap cook who couldn’t find any other job after graduating from college with a psychology degree and who stayed around because he had a crush on the baker.

I grabbed Greg’s scrambled eggs and wheat toast and served them. He accepted them with a nod and a grunt.

“So what happened to Jase?” I asked Andi. I found myself hoping Bill had bruised a knuckle or two in his violence, though I was pretty sure it meant I was a terrible person too. I didn’t wish for a broken hand or anything that extreme, just something to remind him that punching wasn’t the way to handle a perceived rival.

Andi waved her hand vaguely. “Bill and a buddy carried Jase to his car. They only dropped him once.”

I imagined the thunk of poor Jase’s head hitting the ground and flinched in sympathy. No such thought bothered Andi. She was too busy being thrilled by Bill, who rode in like her shining knight, laying waste to the enemy with knuckles instead of the more traditional lance.

“How much older than you is Bill?” Lindsay asked.

Good question, Linds.

Andi studied the cuticle of her index finger. “He’s nineteen.”

Lindsay and I exchanged a glance. Those three years from sixteen to nineteen were huge.

I couldn’t keep quiet. “So he shouldn’t have been drinking at this party either.”

Andi slid off her stool. If looks killed, Lindsay’d be sprinkling my ashes in the ocean tomorrow morning.

“What does Clooney think of you and Bill?” Lindsay asked. Clooney was Andi’s great-uncle, and she lived with him.

Andi cleared her throat. “We don’t talk about Bill.”

“Does he know about Bill?” Lindsay’s concern was obvious.

Andi stared through long bangs that hung over her hazel eyes. The silky hair sometimes caught in her lashes in a way that made me blink but didn’t seem to bother her. “Of course Clooney knows. Do you think I’d keep a secret from him?”

“I didn’t think you would.” Lindsay smiled. “I’m glad to know I was right.”

So was I. Sixteen could go in so many different directions, and I’d hate for this pixie to make wrong choices—or more wrong choices. “Is he going to college?” I asked. “Bill?”

“He was, but not now.” Her fingernail became even more absorbing. “He dropped out of Rutgers at the end of his freshman year.”

Uh-oh. Dropped out or failed out? “Does he plan to go back? Try again?”

She shrugged. “He doesn’t know. Right now he’s happy just being. And going to parties. And taking me.” By the time she was finished, she was bouncing at the excitement of it all, her strawberry blond ponytail leaping about her shoulders.

Greg looked up from his newspaper. “So this guy took you, a very underage girl, to a party where there was lots of drinking?”

Andi looked at him, eyes wide, acting as if he’d missed the whole point of her story. “Don’t worry about me, Mr. Barnes. Or any of you.” She included Lindsay and me with a nod of her head. “I can handle any problems that might develop at a party. Believe me, I’ve dealt with far worse.”

I was intrigued. I’d stared down plenty of problems in my time too, and I wondered how her stare downs compared to mine.

She grinned and waved a hand as if she were wiping away her momentary seriousness. “But I’d rather talk about how great Bill is.”

“So how great is he?” Lindsay asked. “Tell me all.” At twenty-seven, she was an incurable romantic. I wasn’t sure how this had come to pass, since she had every reason to be as cynical as I, but there you are.

I frowned at her. “Stop encouraging the girl.”

Lindsay just grinned.

I looked at Andi’s happy face and had to smile too. “So what’s this wonderful guy doing if he’s not in school?” Besides being and partying.

“Uh, you mean like a job or something?”

“Yeah.” Lindsay and I exchanged another glance. Greg looked up again at Andi’s reluctant tone.

“Well, he was a lifeguard over the summer. He’s got this fabulous tan, and it makes him so handsome.”

Soul mate stuff if I ever heard it. I half expected her to swoon like a nineteenth-century Southern belle with her stays laced too tightly. “What about now? Postseason?”

“And he was the quarterback on the high school football team two years ago when they won the state championship.”

“Very impressive. What about now?”

“He was named Most Valuable Player.”

“Even more impressive. What about now?”

She began making sure the little stacks of sugar and sweetener packets in the holders on the counter were straight. “Right now he’s just trying to figure it all out.”

Being. Figuring. And punching guys out while he thought. “You mean he’s trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up?”

She glared at me. In her mind he was grown up. She turned her back with a little sniff and went to clean off a dirty table.

Lindsay swallowed a laugh. “Your sarcastic streak is showing, Carrie.”

Mr. Perkins, another regular at Carrie’s Café and at eighty in better health than the rest of us put together, rapped his cup on the pink marble counter. He’d been sitting for several minutes with his eyes wide behind his glasses as he listened to Andi.

“No daughter of mine that age would ever have gone to a party where there was drinking,” he said. “It’s just flat out wrong.”

Since I agreed, I didn’t mention that he was a lifelong bachelor and had no daughters.

He rapped his cup again.

“Refill?” I asked, not because I didn’t know the answer but because the old man liked to think he was calling the shots.

He nodded. “Regular too. None of that wimpy decaf. I got to keep my blood flowing, keep it pumping.”

I smiled with affection as I topped off his cup. He gave the same line every day. “Mr. Perkins, you have more energy than people half your age.”

He pointed his dripping spoon at me. “And don’t you forget it.”

“Watch it,” I said in a mock scold. “You’re getting coffee all over my counter.”

“And a fine counter it is.” He patted the pink-veined marble slab. It was way too classy and way too pricey for a place like the café. “Did I ever tell you that I remember when it was the registration counter at Seaside’s Grand Hotel? And let me tell you, it was a grand hotel in every sense of the word. People used to come from as far as Pittsburgh, even the president of U.S. Steel. Too bad it burned down. The hotel, not U.S. Steel.”

“Too bad,” I agreed. And yes, he’d told us the story many times.

“It was in 1943,” he said with a faraway look in his eyes. “I was thirteen.”

He blinked back to the present. “It was during World War II, you know, and people said it was sabotage. Not that I ever believed that. I mean, why would the Germans burn down a resort hotel? But I’ll tell you, my father, who was an air-raid warden, about had a seizure.”

“I bet he was convinced that the flames, visible for miles up and down the coast, would bring the German subs patrolling offshore right up on our beaches,” Lindsay said with a straight face. “They might have attacked us.” I glared at her as she repeated word for word Mr. Perkins’s line from the story. She winked unrepentantly.

Mr. Perkins nodded, delighted she was listening. “People kept their curtains drawn at night, and even the boardwalk was blacked out for the duration, the lights all covered except for the tiniest slit on the land side, so the flames from the fire seemed extra bright. All that wood, you know. Voom! ” He threw his hands up in the air.

Lindsay and I shook our heads at the imagined devastation, and I thought I saw Greg’s lips twitch. He’d heard the story almost as many times as we had.

Mr. Perkins stirred his coffee. “After the war some investor bought the property.”

“I bet all that remained of the Grand was the little corner where the pink marble registration counter sat.” Lindsay pointed where I leaned. “That counter.”

Again she spoke his line with a straight face, and this time Greg definitely bit back a grin.

Mr. Perkins added another pink packet to his coffee. “That’s right. The buyer decided to open a restaurant around the counter and build a smaller, more practical hotel on the rest of the property.”

Even that hotel was gone now, replaced many years ago by private homes rented each summer to pay the exorbitant taxes on resort property. I walked to Greg with my coffeepot. “Refill?”

He slid his mug in my direction, eyes never leaving his paper. Be still my heart.

Meet the Author

GAYLE ROPER, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, is the multiaward-winning, best-selling author of Fatal Deduction and more than forty other books. She teaches and leads mentoring clinics at writers conferences across the country. Gayle lives in eastern Pennsylvania.

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Shadows on the Sand 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Shadows on the Sand, by Gayle Roper. As someone who doesn't usually read mystery stories, I've got to say, I enjoyed this thoroughly! It has just the right mix of mystery, romance, tragedy and recovery. The Christian characteristics are powerful, yet meld into the story very nicely. I've no doubt non-Christians could enjoy this book as much as I did. I enjoyed getting to know the primary characters, and the secondary characters were introduced just enough to keep things rolling smoothly. I cared about what happened and was satisfied with how the story closed. At a very young age, Carrie Carter had seen enough abuse, neglect, and ugliness in the world to last a lifetime. She finally gains the courage (and means) to escape, taking her little sister, Lindsay, in tow. They start a new life in Seaside, New Jersey, working at, and eventually owning, a successful café. The regular café patrons are both charming and flawed, many of them reminding me of people I know. Whether willing participants or not - their lives become entangled by mystery, murder, loss, and love. I can't really say if the romance or the mystery played the biggest part of this story, but they were both equally developed and kept me interested to the very last page. If there was a sequel to this book I'd certainly read it. I'd label this book as an easy read, a compelling storyline, and a satisfying end!
MaryBethWrites More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FANTASTIC BOOK!!!! Its so good and warms my heart! I recommend this book to everyone!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a little hard to get into at first but turned out to be a very good book!
jzluvs2read More than 1 year ago
Gayle Roper is a truely fine writer, she will keep your interest from start to finnish. An About the time you think you have the story all figured out as to who killed whom and who did what they did, for whatever reason, she sends you in another direction and you have to finish the book only to findout it wasn't who you thought it was or why. Not a hard read but will keep your interest. I've read several of her books and always enjoy looking forward to a new book. You will too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book from one of my favorite authors.
DaughterOfTheKing89 More than 1 year ago
Synopsis: She serves him breakfast at her café every morning…but he never seems to notice her. About: Carrie Carter, the owner of a hopping small cafe in Seaside, New Jersey, is in for more than just taking care of her amusing and yet hair brained cafe patrons, serving tons of coffee and watching out for her little sister Lindsay. Her story becomes entangled with Greg Barnes, a widower and ex cop, the one who makes her heart do a fierce snoopy dance at the sight of him in her cafe. Alongside Carrie's pitter pattering heart, a very much so pieced together family, and an interesting past there is a deep mystery ready to be uncovered. When Carrie finds out that her dishwasher has been murdered and that her young waitress, named Andi, has disappeared she finds that Greg is ready and willing to be on-the-case alongside her. But Carrie will have to deal with her own past, with a little help from Greg and God of course, before they can solve anything, mystery or otherwise. Final Thoughts: I might have just been converted to Suspense Literature by Ms. Roper. I've never been one who's enjoyed Suspense or Mystery novels all that much, but this book changed my mind about halfway through it's 309 pages. While the constant drum of the word Tweet/Twitter was sprinkled about throughout the story a little more often than I would have liked, and the snoopy dance analogy that was used to describe Carrie's fluttering feelings for Greg Barnes drove me a little batty at times, these things all ended up helping the story and aided in tying things up nicely in the very end, to my shock. (I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review of my own words and freely expressed opinions.)
JamieLittle More than 1 year ago
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.
The_Book_Diva More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kellie4 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
whatever_is_lovely More than 1 year ago
Shadows on the Sand is a sweet romance laced with mystery written by Gayle Roper and published by Waterbrook Multnomah. The author's ease of character development quickly drew me into the developing story-line. This book includes a variety of well developed characters that add to the drama and suspense of the book. The detailed scene descriptions draw the reader into the story's seaside setting. I found this book to be a work of fiction with a hint of reality as the budding romance strives to overcome many obstacles both past and present. The mystery part of this story-line is laced with various forms of crime and cult activity. While nothing is described explicitly, readers sensitive to such topics may not find it enjoyable. This is the first of Gayle Roper's many books that I have read. This book was not quite the emotional roller-coaster ride that I often find myself on while reading books from some of my favorite authors such as Kristen Heitzmann or Nicholas Sparks. Even without the dramatic emotional swings I found it to be an enjoyable, pleasant, clean and easy read. It kept me awake and turning the pages throughout the book. I will consider reading other Gayle Roper books in the future. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-Melanie- More than 1 year ago
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.*
Lilibet_King More than 1 year ago
"Shadows on the Sand" by Gayle Roper is set in the small resort community of Seaside, New Jersey. Our hero, Greg Barnes, is an ex-cop who has gone through a traumatic three years since his family was brutally killed. Our heroine, Carrie Carter, runs the local café and has issues involving her own past to work through. When one of Carrie's dishwashers is killed, the two work together to save another employee and solve the crime. Greg, Carrie, and the other main characters have some of the best-drawn, in-depth characterizations that I've read in a long time. These are three-dimensional people with problems and emotions that I can relate to. Nothing is simple in their world, but they come together to help each other cope with their problems and grow in faith. This novel has the subtitle "A Seaside Mystery". I'm not sure if this book is a romantic mystery or a contemporary romance with mysterious twists, but regardless of which genre you prefer, this book is a quick, enjoyable read. Don't start it before bedtime, or you may be up all night reading. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
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.
JN45 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AAR More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bookhimdanno More than 1 year ago
I had a bit of trouble getting into this book, I found there to be way too much dialog in the beginning. Talking and discussions in the café really brought the flow to a halt. Once the characters moved away from the café the conversations were less and the book flowed better and the story started to take shape. I like the characters and the little seaside village they live in. The residence of the village are sweet and each have their own little quirks. The main characters are flawed and need help from each other to find their way and I think that is the way with everyone on the planet. We all need someone to help gets us through the day and love us for us. Greg had lost everything and Carrie had never had anything, the two were meant for each other. The pacing improved after the first few chapter, and the book calls itself a Seaside Mystery, but it really is a Christian romance with scripture verses and loads of pray. I liked the story and I think the author went a bit over board in God portions. Yes he leads our lives and his time is his.but enoughs enough. I have read several Christian romances and this one pushed it a bit more than the others I have really enjoyed, not to mention it said it was a mystery and there was not much in the mystery department. A religious cult gone bad, really? Which ones are good? The mystery was pushed to the far side of the story and it is mainly a romance with Christian under tones. The story was sweet and fast to read. The stuff about Twitter and other Social Media Sites was funny and I enjoyed that bit quite a lot. If you enjoy Christian romance then you will enjoy this book.
harmonyturtle More than 1 year ago
Sometimes a book will very appealing from the outside, and then you begin to read and find that the story is very flat. That is what happened with Shadows on the Sand. I had read several other reviews and was expecting the book to be interesting, but instead it turned out otherwise. Carrie works in a diner in the city of, Seaside, and she has a crush on a frequent visitor, Greg. He is still grieving the loss of the family, but after a string of missing locals they begin to grow closer as they investigate. I want to mention the two leads have absolutely no chemistry, and the dialogue is very cheesy between them sometimes. The minor characters were slightly stronger, but the people who were victims were difficult to feel anything for because they weren't well developed. Another thing I thought was terrible were the villains. They seemed like stereotypical dunces you would see in a movie. This book also included social networking more than any other book I've read in the plot, and it was not well included atall. If someone isn't familiar with Twitter, they will have no idea what the author is referring to when she says "tweeter" to describe someone. She had to use Twitter to advance her plot, but in reality the networking site is not nearly popularized as it is in her book, and for someone her lack of knowledge about the site seemed obvious. Why was there reason to like this book? The story still kept my interest, though it was difficult for me to continue reading because of the bad character development. Depending on what your favorite part about reading is you might like the story. There are some interesting scenarios explored, which had potential to be more interesting than they were. This book had potential to be better than it was, but it was lacking in how it read, and the characters. They didn't feel very deep, and sometimes the way they acted was tacky. This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
itsJUSTme-wendy More than 1 year ago
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.