Sunday, January 19, 2020

Book Review - Desolate Shores

Desolate Shores (Aspen Adams #1)
Author:  Daryl Wood Gerber
Publisher:  Beyond the Page
Publication Date:  August 13, 2019
4 Stars

Aspen Adams was out for an early morning run when she notices a body on the beach.  She goes down to see what she can do to help.  When she gets to the body she is shocked to see that it is her friend Vikki Carmichael.  She tries to revive Vikki but is unsuccessful. Right around the same time, Karen Brandon, a member of the sheriff’s office, and Aspen’s friend, hears the screams of someone down on the beach and comes to investigate.  She too tries to resuscitate Vikki, but to no avail.  Aspen’s beautiful, funny friend was dead. Karen calls into the station for help. Detective Sergeant Nick Shaper, the lead on the case, shows up to the crime scene.  Shaper seems to be asking the right questions, but Aspen is so hesitant to trust him.  Her parents had been brutally murdered, and the police had never solved the case.   She distrusts the competency of law enforcement as a whole.  Aspen decides she must get involved in the case in order to ensure that it is solved.

I’ve read and enjoyed Daryl Wood Gerber’s Cookbook Nook Series.  When I heard she had a new suspense mystery out, I was super excited to read it.  I am really glad that I did.  First of all, the author did a top notch job of developing multidimensional characters.  Aspen herself has a very heartbreaking background.  Not only were her parents tragically murdered, she used to be a teen therapist until one of her clients committed suicide.  The trauma of the two events was too overwhelming for her.  She decides to start over, and she turns to her aunt Max’s PI firm for a job.  She uses her new skills, along with her aunt’s resources, to work on solving Vikki’s murder.  The problem is that there was much more to Vikki and her life than Aspen ever knew or could have imagined.  Aspen’s life becomes even more complicated when her drug addict sister dumps off her daughter for Aspen to take care of.  Aspen is more than happy to take care of her niece, but now she must carefully balance her new responsibility along with Vikki’s murder investigation.  This becomes even trickier as the book progresses.  Detective Nick Shaper has a complicated and painful background as well.  Aspen & Nick’s relationship becomes very entangled to say the least.

The mystery itself is absorbing, fast-paced, and exciting.  The plot has so many different pieces that all come together seamlessly to form a breathtaking and thrilling story.  While the mystery is expertly wrapped up, the author does leave some open story lines that I can’t wait to read more about in the next book.

Fans of Gerber won’t be disappointed with this book.

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