Shadows on the Sand
A Seaside Mystery with Carrie Carter by Gayle Roper
Review: Gayle Roper introduces café owner Carrie Carter, whose already unsettled life is complicated further by the murder of one of her employees, in Shadows on the Sand, a "Seaside Mystery" set on a New Jersey barrier island.
The busy summer season has passed, but Carrie's café still attracts its regular customers, one of whom, ex-cop Greg Barnes, Carrie carries a torch for. Greg misses being a cop — he quit the force after his wife and children were killed several years ago — but finds he can't quite stop himself from being involved when he discovers the body of Carrie's missing employee Jase, dead in the water. Then when the café's waitress Andi disappears, Carrie begins to fear they may have been involved in something nefarious, and that whatever danger they were in may encompass her as well.
Though a pleasant enough read, Shadows on the Sand doesn't have much depth or substance, and comes across as somewhat disjointed. A Christian romantic suspense novel, the various elements — romance, mystery, faith — seem to have been imagined separately and then only loosely tied together. Part of the problem is the style in which the book is written; some chapters are in first person from the perspective of Carrie, others in third person but from the perspective of various characters. This format effectively eliminates any suspense from the story — readers are aware of how all parties are involved and why — but also serves to undermine the romantic subplot involving Carrie and Greg by not offering the reader the opportunity to discover anything new as their relationship develops and evolves. Still, the café setting in a small coastal community has appeal as do the lead characters of Carrie Carter and Greg Barnes, should the author decide to continue the series with a sequel.
Acknowledgment: Multnomah Books provided a copy of Shadows on the Sand for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Shadows on the Sand: New Jersey
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Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper — A Seaside Mystery with Carrie Carter
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: July 2011
List Price: $13.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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