Desolate Shores

Desolate Shores

by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Overview

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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781950461202
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Series: An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense , #1
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 264,007
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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. 27 reviews.
ToniN 3 months ago
I've been a fan of Daryl Wood Gerber for quite a while now and must say this is a departure for her. It was darker than her "cozies" but I absolutely loved it. Could not put it down. Aspen Adams is working for here Aunt's detective agency after leaving her previous job, town and ex-husband. One morning she finds her best friend murdered on the shore line near her home. She tries to help with the investigation. Aspen's parents were killed and she doesn't think the police did all they could and she doesn't want that for her friend. At the same time her unstable sister drops her niece off for her to take care off. As the facts unfold Aspen is torn in all different directions. Ms Gerber keeps us on track and well informed as things get darker and more complicated. I loved this book and can't wait for the next one.
ChewietheMouse 3 months 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 it...you 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!
P-Lopez 3 months 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.
perriknows 19 days ago
I’ve been a fan of Ms. Gerber’s ‘Cozy mysteries’ for a while and I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out there was a ‘real’ mystery in the offing! This book did not disappoint! I was hooked from the first page. After leaving her career as a psychologist, Aspen Adams has begun working for her aunt’s detective agency as a process server. She’s made some friends in the Lake Tahoe area and is building her life. On her early morning jog, she sees something on the lake shore, it’s her friend Vikki and she’s dead. THIS IS THE FIRST PAGE!! The book continues to pull you in, and you think you know the person responsible, but no…it’s not! I didn’t even guess ‘who done it’ until near the end of the book when the clues made it obvious! On top of her friend being murdered, Aspen has her teen niece foisted upon her and must make time for her niece and the issues she faces. Add in a bit of romance…and well you have a great book. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in this series and can’t wait to see what’s in the offing for Aspen!
Amgrassi 21 days ago
This was a page turning, keep you wondering, easy read kinda book. From the first page it took you on a twist and turn story making you question who you thought may have done it. Aspen, the therapist turned P.I., does a better job than the cops in solving the case of who murdered her best friend, all the while dealing with a personal family dilemma. The characters are believable and relatable. The story is not a surface story and gives you some depth into the who and why. I also liked the last chapter. It wasn’t necessarily needed, but it tied everything up nicely.
DanieleK 26 days ago
DESOLATE SHORES is a nice departure from Daryl Wood Gerber’s cozy mysteries, meatier than the typical cozy but not as dark and heavy as many thrillers. Complicated characters and a complex murder mystery come together to make a really satisfactory read. Aspen Adams has had more than her share of heartache. Upon leaving her psychology practice after a patient’s death, she relocates to Lake Tahoe to work for her aunt’s PI firm. When she finds the body of her best friend Vikki on the lake shore, with the unsolved murder of her parents still weighing heavy on her, she does not trust the police to solve Vikki’s murder and sets out to find the killer on her own. She soon realizes that Vikki had a lot of secrets and that perhaps she did not know her friend as well as she thought. To complicate matters, Aspen’s somewhat estranged drug addict sister leaves her daughter Candace with Aspen for the week, and Candace has secrets of her own. Gerber weaves an intricate puzzle for Aspen to solve. With so many secrets and plenty of suspects, I did not figure out whodunit until well into the story. Even then, I was surprised by how it all unraveled. Aspen definitely has some issues, and, at times, it felt like she had an unrealistically large amount of baggage. However, I admire her tenacity, loyalty, and intelligence. I appreciate that despite her misgivings about the police she openly shares any information she uncovered with the police. All of the characters have pasts that haunt them, and some are better able to deal with their ghosts than others. These are not feel good characters, but they are compelling. I enjoyed DESOLATE SHORES and recommend it to Gerber’s existing fans and readers looking for a well thought out, engaging mystery. I received an ARC of this title from Beyond the Page publishers through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my opinions here.
dmhalvers 28 days ago
Desolate Shores is the newest book from one of my favorite cozy mystery writers, Daryl Wood Gerber. Though a little darker than her cozy mysteries, Desolate Shores is still written in the engaging and suspense-filled style that I’ve come to know and appreciate from Daryl Wood Gerber. She always does an exceptional job creating personable characters, a fast-paced plot, a believable mystery, and all with surprise endings that succinctly tie everything together. The protagonist in her new book is Aspen Adams, an intriguing and complex character who is fighting old ghosts from her past as she tries to make a new life for herself working as a process server at her aunt’s private investigation office in Lake Tahoe. After finding her good friends dead body on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen decides to investigate her murder using her skills as a psychologist and the resources of her aunt’s office to bring the killer to justice. With her emotions raw as she begins her own investigation, Aspen’s dead-beat sister arrives unexpectedly to drop off Aspen’s niece, Candace, for the week while she gets cozy with her newest in a string of boyfriends. As she gets more involved with tracking a killer, Aspen starts to uncover the secrets of those closest to her, and as the situation becomes more dangerous, she has to unravel all of them in order to save her own life and the life of her young niece. As with all of Daryl Wood Gerber’s books, Desolate Shores is truly a superbly written mystery with an engaging plot, mysterious twists and turns, and good suspects to keep me guessing until the end. If this is the first book in a new series, then I will be anxiously waiting for the release of book number two! Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author and voluntarily reviewed it here. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Mamam00ngrrlie 30 days ago
I don't read a lot of suspense, but I loved this book. Aspen is a great character for me. She is a die hard friend, smart and resourceful woman, and also is human. After finding her best friend murdered she is determined to find the killer. After her parents murder investigation was botched, she doesn't fully trust the police so she decides to see what she can find out on her own. Unfortunately, she is hampered by her drug addicted sister dropping off her teenage niece for a week unexpectedly. It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the book. Watching her get to know Candace and take care of her while trying to do what's right by her friend and find the killer was a great addition to the story. She also ends up working closely with Nick, the detective in charge of the case, and Karen, and friend who is trying to further her police career. The characters in this book were very well developed and I cannot wait to see what happens further in this series. It was a book I couldn't put down but was well worth the lack of sleep. I did receive a book with the hopes I would review it, but all opinions are my own.
carol223CS 3 months ago
Daryl Wood Gerber’s Desolate Shores Desolate Shores takes the reader to the Lake Tahoe region. Description is deftly woven into the story. The reader will feel as if they are right there in the midst of the action. Aspen Adams is living in Lake Tahoe. She had been a psychology therapist but has given up that job to work for in her Aunt’s detective agency as a process server. Aspen goes out for her morning jog. As she hits the beach, she finds a dead body laying there. It is the body of her best friend. Under her Aunt’s tutelage to become a private investigator, Aspen begins to investigate her friends death. Aspen is surprised to undercover some very interesting and intriguing backstories of the suspects plus of the murder victim she thought she knew so well. In the midst of her investigation, Aspen’s sister shows up at her house to leave her teenage daughter with Aspen. The sister is a drug addict with lots of issues. Aspen will discover how the sister’s behavior is harming the teenage daughter. The characters are all multifaceted with interesting pasts, secrets, very colorful and each comes with a distinct personality. Tension, drama, suspense with plenty of chills, thrills, twist and turns to keep you on the edge of the seat from the first to the last word. Writing that is captivating, power packed with emotion make this a book to read. I volunteered to read Desolate Shores. Thanks to the Review Crew for the opportunity. My opinion is voluntary and my own.
Cozyfan75 3 months ago
I was a little worried that something labeled as more of a suspense than a cozy would be darker and more violent than I like, since I'm a cozy mystery reader. But since this author is primarily a cozy author and I'd read a good review of the book, I wanted to give it a chance. And I'm really glad that I did! It's more like a "cozy with an edge" and I'm used to reading those types of books. I loved the characters of Aspen, her niece Candace, and Aunt Max. This was a great suspense story meaning I just couldn't put it down (and didn't lose any sleep due to nightmares lol) because I cared what happened to the characters. I didn't guess the killer and thought the showdown was awesome. I'm anxious to see Aspen and Det. Shaper's friendship develop into something and I thought it was great how Candace's issue was addressed and taken care of so well by her aunt. I'm definitely up for reading the next book if there will be one! I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
DixieJudy 3 months ago
Desolate shores is a great "who dunnit" mystery. As you read you think you know who the murderer is only to find out it couldn't be this one. There is a depth to this mystery which shows the amazing talent of the author. There are a variety of characters and each one has a story of their own. So many twists and turns that keeps you excitedly reading on and also a bit of romance and devotion to loved ones.                        I received this ebook digital download from the author and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.
SimplySusan 3 months ago
The worst thing I can say about this book is that I don't like the main character's name. She sounds like the girl in high school who would have perfectly feathered hair, the newest Guess jeans and glittery eye makeup. Thankfully, I am well out of school and Ms. Adams is nothing like my visual assumption! Aspen is a former therapist turned process server and private investigator in training, who likes to take care of those around her, which includes solving the murder mystery of a friend. I liked that we don't learn all of Aspen's background. Sounds like there will be plenty of that to pop up in future installments in the series. I also liked the series being set in the Lake Tahoe area. As a frequent visitor, I can't guarantee that all the places named actually exist, but the major ones do and I could easily visualize the scenes in the book taking place. Even if someone isn't familiar with the location, the author does a terrific job of describing the beautiful surroundings. I look forward to more of Ms. Adams' adventures and interactions with the characters introduced in this first book. Thanks to the Cozy Mystery Review Crew for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.
bookwomen37 3 months 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 3 months 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 months 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 months 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 3 months 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
TarynLee 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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.
CozyOnUp 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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.