Review: Shadows on the Sand

Title: Shadows on the Sand

Author: Gayle Roper

Publisher: Multnomah Books

Format: E-book (also available in paperback)

Pages: 322

Release Date: July 19, 2011

Genre: Christian Romance/ Christian Suspense

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterbrook Multnomah, Christian Books Distributor

Summary:  Carrie Carter and her sister Lindsay run a small cafe in Seaside, a resort town on an island off the New Jersey coast. Things are just starting to wind down after the busy summer — the vacationing crowds are dissipating and the cafe is settling back into the company of their year-round regulars.

One of those regulars, Greg Barnes, makes Carrie’s heart do a happy dance every time he comes in. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to know she exists other than to serve his usual bacon and eggs in the morning (and he doesn’t even like eggs). That is until he starts to realize he has noticed her more than he planned.

When the body of Carrie’s murdered dishwasher turns up and her young waitress disappears, the peace of Seaside is turned upside-down. It seems everybody is hiding something, some secret demons from the past. While Greg’s demons threaten to destroy their new-found love, Carrie’s past comes back to haunt her as well, throwing her faith and life as she knows it into turmoil.

Review: Shadows on the Sand is a well-written mystery with lots of moving parts. The visual description of the setting paints the scene for the reader. The characters are well-developed, though sometimes their reactions to the circumstances are a little less intense than it seems would suit the situation. The story deals with several different human issues: murder, grief, abuse, faith, deception, guilt, anger, forgiveness, loss and love. The author brings all these strands of the story together at the end into a clear resolution without any loose ends, weaving in the tenants of faith and incorporating the theme of “for everything there is a season” from Ecclesiastes.

With that being said, I will add I could have lived without the Twitter sequences. They were inextricably entwined with the plot but felt awkward and a bit contrived to me — though they did make for great comic relief in the more intense moments. And they were the path through which rescue came several times, so I can’t say they are without merit.

As far as the climax of the story, I was white-knuckling the Kindle for a few minutes, but given the seriousness of the scene, the intensity could possibly have been knocked up a notch or two. Overall though, a satisfying ending.

Recommendation: I had a difficult time putting this one down. The suspense, the mystery and the love story came together to create a good reading experience. Readers who enjoy good mysteries will not be disappointed. For Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper I offer four quills:

Four Quills

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. You can buy the book or read a sample here.

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