Desolate Shores

Desolate Shores

by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Daryl Wood Gerber, the national bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, returns with a novel of gripping suspense . . .

A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff's department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she's soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . . .

Praise for the Suspense Novels of Daryl Wood Gerber:

"The frantic plot will keep readers on edge." —Kirkus Reviews

"The novel's plot is thick and the prose is more than rich enough to sustain it. Its shifting perspectives will give readers an even greater sense of excitement as the many pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Readers will be shocked by this exciting, fast-paced thriller's twists and turns." —Kirkus Reviews

"Daryl Wood Gerber has proven again to be a gifted storyteller and one to watch in this genre. An absolute must-read!" —Escape with Dollycas

"This completely entertaining thriller—with taut suspense, a timely plot, devastating secrets, and a touch of romance—will have you turning pages as fast as you can. Fans of Meg Gardiner and Melinda Leigh will devour this!" —Anthony, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan

"This is an edge-of-your-seat, can't-put-it-down thriller. If you like Dan Brown's thrillers you will want to read this!" —Goodreads

"An action-packed, suspense-filled, riveting book. I was glued to this story, could not put it down." —Goodreads

Product Details

BN ID: 2940161273289
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Series: An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 17,275
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), and stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

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Desolate Shores 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
bookwomen37 7 hours ago
I enjoyed reading this book. Aspen Adams has found the body of her best friend. At first she does not have a lot of confidence in the police. She is working for her aunt a private investigator so she does her own investigation. As the investigation continues she begins to work with the police. I liked that she started to share information with them. The mystery was good. There were plenty of suspects and the solution made sense. I was able to figure out the killer before the end. I liked the characters and the Lake Tahoe setting. It was a quick and easy read and the author does a good job with keeping the suspense going. I am looking for word to reading the next one in the series. Enjoy
BeagleGirl123 2 days ago
Daryl Wood Gerber has done it again with Desolate Shores, her 3rd standalone thriller novel. Aspen Adams, former psychologist and current PI, discovers her friend Vikki dead on the shores of Lake Tahoe, and embarks on an enlightening journey for justice, searching Vikki's past to discover who killed her in the present. The story was absolutely riveting, Ms. Gerber has a true knack for suspense, and I devoured this book as quickly as I could turn the pages. Desolate Shores has my highest recommendation for mystery lovers, and I'm giving it 5 stars and an A+! :-)
cresotko 3 days ago
Aspen Adams doesn't know it, but finding the body of her best friend is just the beginning of major changes in her life. This is Daryl Wood Gerber's first book in her Aspen Adams suspense series. I have been a big fan of Gerber's for a long time, and have read several of her suspense novels. This book follows Aspen and her new life working for her Aunt Max's detective agency, and the changes that happen when her work life collides with her niece moving in with her. As always, her characters are wonderfully written and fully realized. I love watching Aspen change from a process server to a detective hunting down the killer of her best friend. Her settings are also very well done. I feel like I could go to Tahoe and know where the different areas are located in relation to each other. The plot was nice and tight. I enjoyed the ride with Aspen through all the events that change her outlook. I didn't find it overly suspenseful, but I think that it will change in later books. A lot of information about the character and her friends and family had to be introduced, which slows down the action. It shouldn't be as much of an issue as the series continues. Overall, I really liked the book. I really recommend it for people that want a gentle transition from cozy mysteries into the suspense genre. All opinions in this review are my own.
momelaine 3 days ago
I'm never sorry when I pick up a book by this author! I found the story very interesting and complex. Aspen doesn't know why anyone would want to kill her friend Vikki. But then she uncovers so many secrets. And Aspen's niece Candace is dropped off to stay with her. Aspen has her work cut out for her! I will definitely be looking for more books in this series!
debforb56 4 days ago
Daryl Wood Gerber has a hit with her new Aspen Adams thriller. From the very start I was pulled into the story and it just got better and better. Aspen finds a friend murdered and she then has to wrestle with her past while trying to find who murdered her friend. She is a strong determined woman, who won't let anything get in her way to find the killer. This is a spine tingling page turner that has you wrapped up in the mystery right up to the end. It is just enough suspenceful tension that makes it a great read. I like the setting at Lake Tahoe and the characters are interesting and complex. Aspen grows as she unravels the mystery which appeals to me. If I found anything I didn't like it might be that there wasn't enough background on characters to start with but really as you continue to read you get the information. I really look forward to the next book in this series. I received an ARC copy to read for my honest opinion and review
ChewietheMouse 5 days ago
"Desolate Shores" by Daryl Wood Gerber is an absolutely amazing start to a new suspense series! This book has everything I look for in a reading experience: 1. Great characters! Aspen, our heroine, is wonderful. She simultaneously comes across as likable, intelligent, brave (but not stupidly so), and honorable. Her fledgling role as a PI-in-training at her aunt's detective agency fits perfectly with the story. Combined with her past career as a psychologist, Aspen has all the tools to unravel mysteries. I can't wait until she hones these skills in future books! Nick and Karen (police detectives), Max (the aforementioned aunt), and Candace (Aspen's niece) are also nicely drawn and intriguing in their own right. I especially hope to learn more about Max next time around! 2. The location! "Desolate Shores" is set in the Lake Tahoe area. The author describes the setting (and specific locations within that setting) so perfectly, I can see everything clearly in my mind's eye. I've added Lake Tahoe to the list of places I'd love to visit someday. The setting is distinctive enough to almost seem like a separate character in the story. Personally, I love it when a novel's setting is so vivid I actually remember the location after I've finished. This one will stay with me for a long time! 3. The mystery itself! Aspen takes the crime personally, as the victim was her best friend. Given that she works for a PI agency, it makes perfect sense that she would get involved. There are plenty of clues to follow, suspects to question, and personal knowledge and memories of the victim to wade through. Aspen does all this admirably, and I enjoyed following along and trying to guess the culprit. In the end, the killer was a surprise, but made perfect sense given all the information the reader (through Aspen) learned along the way. 4. The side-plots! In addition to trying to solve a murder, Aspen is dealing with one (possibly two) potential love interests. She is also hosting her niece for the week, and noticing some troubling signs about the teenager. Both of these side stories add to the strength of the overall story, without taking too much time or attention away from the suspense storyline. All in all, this is a wonderful book, and I can't say enough good things about it. Read will NOT be disappointed. Daryl Wood Gerber could write a telephone directory, and I'd read every page with interest....she is THAT good! Five out of five large chunks of my favorite sharp cheddar!
TarynLee 6 days ago
Aspen Adams has started her life over and is working as a P.I. for Aunt in Tahoe, she needed to make a change and so far things are looking up. While enjoying her morning job she comes across a body, the sad part is it turns out to be her best friend. Who would want to murder such a bright and sunny young woman and why? Aspen couldn't think of any enemies that her friend might have had and she is truly puzzled as to why someone would have hurt her much less kill her. Aspen doesn't have any faith in the police, they botched her own parents investigation, so why trust them when it comes to her friend. She decides that she is going to put her job to good use and figure out who killed her friend on her own. Aspen soon learns that her friend held many secrets and maybe she wasn't at all the person that she knew and loved. As more and more comes to light Aspen knows that she will have to put the pieces together to figure out who the killer is. Meanwhile her good for nothing sister has dropped off her niece, leaving Aspen alone with a young girl that she doesn't really know. Aspen soon starts seeing little things going on with her niece that makes her worry that she is hiding a secret herself. She wants so badly to bring justice to her friend but with this new obstacle in her way she doesn't know if she will be able to. She loves her niece and wants to do what's best for her but isn't quite sure what that is. Follow Aspen as she questions all the people in her friends life hoping that with all the information she is given she will be able to find a killer. Can she deal with the problems her niece is starting to present? Can she trust the cops and what they are telling her? This was a great read that had me looking at everyone as a suspect, it truly had me guessing all the way until the end!!!
BookloverUT 6 days ago
Private Investigator Aspen Adams finds the body of her best friend on the shore of Lake Tahoe. With resentment towards the police department, Aspen decides to investigate herself. But, what happens when she finds that her friend was hiding secrets? Being a fan of this author, I was hoping to be enchanted by this novel. But, sadly it wasn’t for me. I just wasn’t interested in the main character, and I found the story a little depressing. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
bluegreen91 6 days ago
My usual genre is cozy mysteries, and this was a nice change of pace! More suspense, a darker feel, and heavier themes made this book hard to put down! I liked main character Aspen, who, along with most of the other characters in the book, has some baggage she carries with her every day. When she finds her best friend murdered on the beach and her drug-addicted sister leaves her niece at her house for the week, Aspen suddenly has a lot more to deal with than she was ready for. The story moved at the perfect pace, and there seemed to be no shortage of suspects and dubious alibis to keep me guessing. While I enjoy Daryl Wood Gerber's Cookbook Nook Mysteries, I think I might like this series even more! Hoping for many more in this series. I received an advance copy of this book. The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
c2br2 6 days ago
Very Suspenseful! In this new suspense novel by Daryl Wood Gerber, readers meet Aspen Adams, a former family therapist now working as a process server for her aunt's detective agency. After finding her murdered friend's body, Aspen "branches out" to investigating in hopes of finding why and by whom the crime was committed. Along the way there are many twists and turns, some of which will leave readers holding their breath in fear of what the outcome may be. While working out the puzzle of who the murderer may be, Aspen also takes on the task of caring for her teen-aged niece who is struggling with troubles of her own. Aspen provides for her niece Candace an opportunity to help herself make life choices that may make her future brighter. Readers who are already fans of the author's cozy mysteries who also enjoy suspense novels should certainly want to read this one. The language is "clean" and there are no explicit sexual episodes. There are some moments of high drama and danger, but if you are not already a suspense novel reader, this could be "the one" to try if you want to broaden your reading choices. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the author in exchange for an "honest review". The opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.
Kuzlin 6 days ago
If you are a fan of the cozy mystery series of Daryl Wood Gerber/Avery Aames, this is not a cozy, but a more gritty mystery story. The main character, Aspen Adams, left her therapy practice and returned to Lake Tahoe to work with her aunt as a process server. When she finds her best friend murdered, she realizes she has to help solve this crime. But then family problems intervene, and she finds herself the unexpected caretaker of her niece. Feeling like her life is spiraling out of control, Aspen continues to search for clues, but she may have just put herself in the path of a killer. This was an interesting mystery and a good start for a new series. The main character initially appeared to be a bit of a milksop, not really standing up for herself, like with her sister, or even in her friendship with Karen, detective for the Placer County Sheriff's Office. One other negative for me was in the beginning, the sentence structure was short and choppy and oftentimes overly detailed, such as "for the seventh time in an hour", or "turned on the radio for the twelfth time." But as the story progressed, the flow was better. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, to see how this experience has changed Aspen for the better. Disclosure: I am voluntarily reviewing this book received from NetGalley and all opinions are strictly my own.
P-Lopez 6 days ago
Desolate Shores is a great start to a new series by Daryl Wood Gerber. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, their stories, and the troubles they face or have faced in their lives, which makes for relatable characters and storyline. I liked the interactions with Aspen and Nick and the tension and snarkiness between them. The author does a good job with scene descriptions, and I can see myself in the settings.   The characters were well developed and likable, and the setting and premise of the book were done well by the author. I especially liked Aspen’s niece, Candace, and I hope she will be a recurring character in future books.   I liked that Aspen was a former therapist reinventing herself and her career, as this is the same as me!!   Overall, Desolate Shores is a good mystery full of suspects, which kept me reading to find out what happened. I am looking forward to more stories and adventures with these characters.
CozyOnUp 6 days ago
Aspen Adams left behind a bad marriage and her career as a psychologist working with young people and moved to work for her Aunt in Tahoe. Building a new life and making friends was helping her move forward. When she finds her best friend murdered, she’s willing to offer up her services and step back into her previous role as she works her first case a private investigator. With a large list of potential suspects, sometimes the answer ends up having been right in front of you the whole time. Now Aspen needs time on her side to solve the murder before she and her niece end up being the next victims. I adore Daryl Wood Gerber’s writing and was thrilled to find that this was her first book ever. She rewrote it and found that her voice had changed significantly over the years and what a voice she has! The list of characters are relatable and you find yourself devouring the book and looking forward to your next visit to Tahoe with Aspen and thew gang.
ganderson523 6 days ago
This is a page turning mystery that held my interest and kept me guessing from the beginning to the end. Aspen Adams is on her morning run when she discovers her best friend's body on the shore of Lake Tahoe. Upset and determined to find the killer, she uses her instinct and resources working at her her aunt's investigation agency to check out all of the possible suspects and clues that she uncovers. Handsome and interesting Detective Sergeant Shaper is always around as she works-sometimes frustrated with her meddling but yet admiring of her abilities. She is on the right track because her vehicle is messed with twice and she is the target of a shooter. Added to her responsibilities, her irresponsible sister left her young daughter Candace in her care and she has issues that are disturbing. This is a well written mystery that had me thinking the killer is first one person, then another. Ending in a way that I didn't see coming, this is a great mystery and I am excited that this is the first in a new series. I received a complimentary ARC from Beyond The Page Publishing through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine only.
Abby-F 6 days ago
Aspen has been through the ringer. Her parents were murdered when she was barely an adult, her sister is a drug addict, she recently left her career as a psychologist, she lost a patient at the previously mentioned job, and now, to top it all off, her best friend has been murdered too. That's enough to make anyone go a little nuts. Yet, Aspen is tenacious and caring and wants justice. She is one of those characters that you can't help but admire. Sure she falls apart sometimes, but she gets up and keeps going. She doesn't create an impenetrable wall around her heart but instead fights for those she loves. She is currently working for her Aunt, the owner of a private investigation firm, by serving papers. Her Aunt agrees to supervise her as she looks into the murder of her best friend, Vikki. The day of Vikki's murder, Aspen also agrees to take care of her thirteen year old niece Candace for a week. Initially, it looks as though Aspen will be butting heads with the detective assigned to Vikki's case; however, as time goes on, it seems as though there might be something between Aspen and Detective Shaper. As Aspen investigates, she discovers there were certainly aspects of Vikki's life she hadn't known about. In spite of this, she maintains her desire for justice for her friend. Her thirst for justice and lack of annoyance with Vikki for not telling her every detail of her life was great. Nobody knows everything about anybody's life but their own and it was refreshing to see Aspen acknowledge this and not let it deter her. The scene's between Aspen and Candace, her niece, were some of the best in the book. They displayed Aspen's caring nature and also provided more background information in a relaxed way. The scenes between Aspen and Detective Shaper also rank pretty high up there. Their banter and growing attraction to each other flitter off the pages. The characters felt as if they existed before the events taking place in the story. It didn't feel like they were imagined up and given backstories ,but rather, as if they had lived out their past. That's what makes the story stand out and make you read another chapter. The feeling that they existed before now. I also immensely enjoyed the Lake Tahoe setting. Interesting tidbits were interwoven throughout the story and the scenery played the perfect backdrop to the rest of the plot. The mystery certainly was a puzzle. I didn't untangle the threads before they were unraveled on the page. It was marvelously done and played out well. I wasn't even close to guessing. I received an ARC of this book. I am voluntarily leaving a review. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
jjthor 6 days ago
Desolate shores is the first book in a new series by this author. It is very well written with good characters that draw you into their lives and problems. It is a smooth and interesting read with a well designed mystery I found that I had to keep reading to find out what would happen.! Aspen finds her friends body and tries to investigate her murder as she doesn't trust the police to get it right. she finds that her friend isn't the person she thought she was as secrets come to light.I will look forward to reading more of this series. Well worth reading.
KrisAnderson_TAR 6 days ago
Desolate Shores is the first novel in An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense. I enjoy Daryl Wood Gerber’s engaging writing style and the story proceeded at a peppy pace. Aspen Adams does not trust police after they failed to catch the man who killed her parents. She trained to become a licensed therapist and worked with teens until one of them took his own life. This caused Aspen emotional distress and led to her decision to make a big change. Aspen has been working at her aunt’s PI firm for the last eighteen months where she is learning the business. When Aspen finds her friend dead while jogging, she is determined to unearth the killer. With her Aunt Max’s guidance, Aspen begins digging into Vikki’s life. She is surprised by the number of secrets that Vikki kept from her. The mystery had several suspects, misdirection and good clues. There is suspense as the killer tries to stop Aspen from investigating. The takedown scene is fraught with tension. I like that all the details of who, what, when and why were answered at the end (no speculation or supposition). I would have liked a good twist because the killer was not a surprise to me. I knew the identity of the killer by the time I was a quarter of the way through the book. Aspen needs to work on her questioning technique because she is blunt and pushy. I liked how she shared case details with the police, and, to my surprise, they shared information with her. DS Nick Shaper is the lead detective on the case and the romantic interest for Aspen. Sparks fly between Aspen and Nick from the start. She does not feel he is giving the case his all in the beginning, but he grows on her. He helps that he is quite handsome. Aspen’s niece, Candace comes to stay with Aspen while Rosie, Aspen’s sister, spends time with degenerate boyfriend. I liked that Candace was not a picture perfect teen. She has issues and needs Aspen’s love, care and guidance. The author took the time to develop the main characters and provided lovely descriptions of Lake Tahoe. Desolate Shores is an intriguing romantic suspense with a deceased friend, a dangerous killer, shady suspects, a captivating cop, killer clues, and an unseasoned detective.