Shadows on the Sand: A Seaside Mystery by Gayle Roper
Publication date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Groups
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, to Carrie’s chagrin.
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 built with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?
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.
Disclaimer: I received an copy of this book free for review purposes from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated 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.”
Available at Amazon.com: