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 too 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?
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“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?”
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?”
“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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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!
I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were realistically portrayed in what they said and their actions. Only complaint is that the two lead characters needed filling out. I wanted to know more about their background and how they had interacted before they suddenly seemed to fall in love. I also would have liked to know details of how Carrie resolved her relationship with her mother and where her sister fit into all of that. Overall, very enjoyable read.
I enjoyed this book very much. The characters were people I wanted to read about. The story kept moving and I finished it quickly because I wanted to find out what was going to happen. It might be a stretch to call it a "mystery" but I would definitly call it a good read.
Carrie Carter's crush on ex-cop Greg Barnes is no secret to anyone except the object of her affection. As she serves him coffee every day, she yearns for him to notice her. After the untimely death of his family, Greg quit his job and closed himself off from the world around him. Hence, Carrie is no stranger to his indifference. When Jase, the dishwasher at Carrie's café, goes missing, Greg and Carrie are drawn into the case and into each other's lives. As they grow closer, secrets buried in their pasts threaten their new found friendship. Will the emotional baggage of their lives prevent them from finding love? Can they both lay the past aside and step into a new time of life?Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper combines sand, sun, and mystery as the backdrop for a contemporary love story. While I loved the small-town, homey feel of the story, the plot never really hooked me. I started reading and then put it down without returning to it for several days. This is unusual for me. I love to read and usually once a story hooks me, I return to it whenever I have a spare moment. In the beginning Carrie seemed kinda pathetic. However, I liked her more as she progressed and developed through the book. Supporting characters such as Mary P and Mr. Perkins added a wonderful depth. I recommend this book to fans of Christian fiction.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multnomah Publishers via FIRST Wild Card Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission¿s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
GAYLE ROPER'S "SHADOWS ON THE SAND" (REVIEW)This book was really good, with just enough romance and suspense to keep you turning the page. The ending was gripping and the love story was intense. It keeps you guessing at who the murderer is and there's heightened emotion as you get drawn into both Carrie and Greg's stories. Gayle Roper writes with intelligence and grace.I would recommend this book to fans of romance and suspense alike.-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
The plot was excellent but the style of writing didn't match it - I read about these horrible things that had happened to the main characters but I didn't feel anything for them. This is the first book by Roper I've read and judging from this one, I won't seek out anymore. I didn't like the fact that the author used her characters to speak disparagingly about social network sites, especially Twitter. I couldn't find her on Twitter, so if she is not using the site, how can she pass judgement on it like that? I think Christian authors can get lazy in their writing - as long as they have a plot that includes crazy cults, they will continue to have readers that share their point of view. I wish they would work harder to write something that's emotionally satisfying.
Carrie Carter runs Carrie's Cafe with her sister, Lindsey, in Seaside, New Jersey. Greg Barnes is an ex-cop, now property manager, who comes into the cafe everyday to eat. He pretty much keeps to himself, still hurting from the loss of his wife and children three years ago. Carrie is very drawn to Greg but he doesn't seem to notice she exists. Then her dishwasher is found dead and her waitress disappears. Greg finds himself wanting to help her and in the process also notices how very attracted he is to her. Carrie has some real trust issues and Greg doesn't know if he can ever love again. Will they be able to confront their fears and find love or will it be too late?This was a story that caught me by surprise. The cover and title led me to think this was a cozy-type mystery. But it was oh-so-much-more than that. It's written in a first person POV which I must admit is not my favorite viewpoint. However, I found myself really drawn into the story and caring about the characters. The main characters have moments of reflection which tell their background story. I felt like all the characters, villains included, were very well drawn and realistic. This author tackled the subjects of love, loss, child abuse, cults, murder, alcoholism, PTSD and second chances. The seriousness of the subjects was not at all what I expected when I began reading the book but it had a depth to it that really surprised me. The theme running throughout the story was 'there is a time for every purpose under heaven' and I think the author did a wonderful job playing that out. The story starts out at a somewhat slow pace but continues to build and culminates to an nail-biting conclusion. I have to add that though the story dealt with serious subjects there were plenty of humorous moments to break the tension. I thoroughly enjoyed Shadows on the Sand and would definitely recommend it to those who like a good romantic suspense. A thank you goes to the publisher and Librarything for providing this complimentary copy for my review.
This was a story that took me by surprise. There was romance, intrigue, danger, suspense and a town full of "twitter" people that made me laugh. It started up as a story of a cafe owner, Carrie, who sees Greg Barnes every day in her cafe, but who never gives her the time of day, even though Carrie would love to be the object of his affection. Then the author takes the story to another level I wasn't expecting. You meet so many characters in this cafe and they all seem to have a story to tell and it is somehow all intertwined together throughout this story. You learn the backgrounds of these people and it makes you appreciate them all the more having seen what they have come through and that they are survivors. This story made me laugh, it made me sad and mad at times. It was very well written with a tender love story taking place in the midst of alot of mystery and danger.
This was an entertaing book. The story starts off with the protagonist Carrie, teasing a waitress in the cafe about having a fight with her boyfriend. It soon comes to light that her boyfriend has been murdered, and the story goes on from there. I really quite enjoyed this book. It is a light read, and I read it fairly quickly. I haven't read the other books in the series but I am interested to know how they written as compared to this one. It is a light read, but has entertaining dialogue.
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.This is my first Gayle Roper book. I really enjoyed her style and ease of writing. I do think I will be reading more from her.Thank you "Blogging for Books" for sending me this book to review.
I enjoyed this book. Although this is not normally a book I would read, the story caught me from the start and I finished it quickly because I wanted to find out what was going to happen. In a nutshell, it's about love found by two people thrown together by circumstance (that being where the mystery comes in.) It had just enough romance and suspense to keep you turning the page. I would recommend this book to fans of Christian romance and suspense.
Just as Carrie and Greg might be ready to start a relationship, danger comes to their resort town. First the dishwasher in Carrie's restaurant is murdered, then her waitress starts acting strangely. What's going on? This is more romantic suspense than a true mystery, but I found the story compelling and the climax very suspenseful.
I enjoyed every word of this thoughtful, loving truthful story that gently leads readers to consider the importance of faith, forgiveness and relationships. Wonderful people live in Seaside and I couldn't stop reading until I knew the ending.
FANTASTIC BOOK!!!! Its so good and warms my heart! I recommend this book to everyone!!!!
It was a little hard to get into at first but turned out to be a very good book!
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.
Another great book from one of my favorite authors.
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.)
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.
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.
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!