Desolate Shores

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars, I really liked it.

Book one in a new, non-cozy, series.

I love most of Daryl Wood Gerber's books, so I thought I would give this one a try. It's a good start. The plot was tight and kept me interested, in fact, I really didn't want to put it down.

This book is a little more intense than a cozy, but I didn't find it too much so. Really, it just seemed to have a fast paced plot that kind of kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next.

My only complaint is the mystery within the mystery, of Aspen's parents' murders. I am sure that will continue to pop up until eventually it becomes the focus. But for now it's mostly tucked into the background, so it wasn't too distracting.

I am looking forward to reading more of this series.
Was this review helpful?
A thoroughly enjoyable read, characters are well developed and very easy to like and engage with. The writing is good, the plot will keep you turning the pages and the setting is beautifully described.
The story deals with some difficult issues in a sympathetic way, there is a lot of action but there is no need for the author to rely on graphic violence to keep your interest.
This is the first book I heave read by Daryl Wood Gerber but it certainly won't be the last. I would definitely recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Truly excellent, engaging and intriguing, I love the storyline. The puzzling twists in this book are just so captivating, I love everything about this book. I even like Karen’s character, as a matter of fact, all the characters a really great. A must-read that you wouldn't want to put down until you have turned the last page.
Was this review helpful?
I want more of Aspen, Shaper, and all the rest! I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in a new series. The characters are complex, interesting, and intriguing. The plot is tense and full of suspense. There are a few surprising twists that left my jaw dropping. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't read fast enough. Highly recommend this one.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores is the first novel in  the  new  suspense series "Aspen Adams".  I am a fan of Daryl Wood Gerber’s fantastic cozy series and looked forward to reading this new genre of suspense by this beloved author .  This was a engaging mystery from the beginning with a fast paced style and a multi layered plot that kept me turning pages. I highly recommend this new series by Daryl Wood Gerber. 

 Aspen Adams is the main charcter and a strong savvy independent woman..  She does not suffer fools and I like her abrupt manner  as it adds to her personality.  She become a licensed therapist and worked with young teens until one of them took his own life.  She decided to leave therapy and join her aunt’s PI firm in Lake Tahoe .  She discovered that she has a aptitude for the work and enjoys working with her aunt. 

When Aspen is out jogging one day she  finds her friend Vikki dead. As distressed as she is she decides to investigate her murder   Her aunt works with her on solving the trail of clues and soon suspects are plenty and the clues add up to the many secrets her friend kept from her over the years.  I like the way Aspen jumps into questioning and does not stop until she gets her answers.  She works with a detective on the case and soon sparks fly between them but it does not detract from the mystery and is  a perfect addition to this first in series. 

The author developed all the charcters perfectly.   The well crafted sleuth was perfectly surprising to the exciting  conclusion. The descriptions of Lake Tahoe are charming and bring Lake Tahoe alive for the reader. . Desolate Shores is a fun suspense filled read that I highly recommend.  Very well done to the author. Cross posted review. Thank you to Net Galley and to the publisher for the ARC. My opinion is my own.
Was this review helpful?
DESOLATE SHORES is a nice departure from Daryl Wood Gerber’s cozy mysteries, meatier than the typical cozy but not as dark and heavy as many thrillers.  Complicated characters and a complex murder mystery come together to make a really satisfactory read.

Aspen Adams has had more than her share of heartache.  Upon leaving her psychology practice after a patient’s death, she relocates to Lake Tahoe to work for her aunt’s PI firm.  When she finds the body of her best friend Vikki on the lake shore, with the unsolved murder of her parents still weighing heavy on her, she does not trust the police to solve Vikki’s murder and sets out to find the killer on her own.  She soon realizes that Vikki had a lot of secrets and that perhaps she did not know her friend as well as she thought.  To complicate matters, Aspen’s somewhat estranged drug addict sister leaves her daughter Candace with Aspen for the week, and Candace has secrets of her own. 

Gerber weaves an intricate puzzle for Aspen to solve.  With so many secrets and plenty of suspects, I did not figure out whodunit until well into the story.  Even then, I was surprised by how it all unraveled.  Aspen definitely has some issues, and, at times, it felt like she had an unrealistically large amount of baggage.  However, I admire her tenacity, loyalty, and intelligence.  I appreciate that despite her misgivings about the police she openly shares any information she uncovered with the police.  All of the characters have pasts that haunt them, and some are better able to deal with their ghosts than others.  These are not feel good characters, but they are compelling.

I enjoyed DESOLATE SHORES and recommend it to Gerber’s existing fans and readers looking for a well thought out, engaging mystery.

I received an ARC of this title from Beyond the Page publishers through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my opinions here.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores is the 1st book I've read from Daryl Wood Gerber. I was really impressed by the writting style, how easily it flows to the very last chapter. The character interactions are great. I'm definitely going to look more into this author. 

Rating 3
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber is the first book in an Aspen Adams Novel of suspense series, and it is off to a great start.  Aspen Adams lives in Lake Tahoe, working for her aunt Max.  One morning while running her daily run she sees her best friend laying on the icy shores, and rushes to help her.  The problem is she is dead.  Aspen is determined to solve the murder, and the murderer was a big surprise, at least for me.  Aspen's estranged sister, who is also a drug user, dropped off her teen daughter for a week.  This book just kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I have always enjoyed Ms. Gerber's books, and this book does not disappoint.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.  This is not a cozy mystery series, but to me it was a nice change.  I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy mysteries. 

I reviewed a digital arc provided by Netgalley and Beyond the Page Publishing. Thank you.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores is the first book that I've read by Daryl Wood Gerber and I loved it! The mystery was good, and I enjoyed the hint of romance between Aspen and Shaper. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
Was this review helpful?
Fantastic character development that has created a strong female lead in the PI in training, Aspen Adams with an interesting assortment of supporting characters to help enhance the storylines as there are multiple story arcs interwoven here. The book had great depth as it dealt with real life issues such as addiction, bulimia, grief, adoption and more in a manner that kept the mystery fluid and the focus of the book. I am really hoping that this will turn into a series as I think that Aspen, her Aunt Max and niece Candace along with the rest of the cast of characters could be quite interesting to follow as their stories meld together in future books. A great entertaining read as a stand alone book, but the entertainment could be built into a series for ongoing story lines.
Was this review helpful?
have to admit I was a little worried about just how much of a suspense book this would be, but it turned out to be a good surprise. I love the cozy mystery series by this author, and after reading a Goodreads friend's review, I decided to get the ARC, and I'm really glad I did! I loved the character of Aspen, aunt Max and Aspen's niece Candace who was thirteen. I just knew that Aspen would want to take Candace under her wing since Candace's mother was a druggie, and I was really happy with the results of that. I enjoyed the developing friendship between Aspen and the main detective, Nick, and I hope that there are more books in the series because of that and I'm anxious to see how Candace will do. I'm really glad this wasn't a scary-type suspense book that would keep me up nights (I'm such a chicken! lol). I've read books labeled as cozy mysteries that weren't a whole lot different. The killer was definitely a twist I wasn't expecting. I can definitely say I'll be reading the next in series whenever it might happen.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate shores is a great "who dunnit" mystery. As you read you think you know who the murderer is only to find out it couldn't be this one. There is a depth to this mystery which shows the amazing talent of the author. There are a variety of characters and each one has a story of their own. So many twists and turns that keeps you excitedly reading on and also a bit of romance and devotion to loved ones.       I received this ebook digital download from the author and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores earns 5/5 Thrilling Tales...Engrossing Excitement!

I am a longtime fan of Daryl Wood Gerber’s cozy writing style, but she sure can add quite a thrilling edge to keep me totally engaged. Using a first-person narrative, Aspen Adams investigates the death of her close friend found on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Through descriptive language and dialogue, I was engrossed in the layers of intrigue that revealed her friend had many secrets causing Aspen to question how well she knew her friend, but it doesn’t stop there. Obstacles are creatively erected when Aspen’s self-absorbed sister drops off her teenage niece whose behavior indicates all is not well. Yes, she is a teenager, but it’s more than hormonal angst. Aspen’s own tragic background as a therapist is explored, although it is also used as an asset in her efforts as a budding private investigator. She has personal reasons to mistrust law enforcement and question the diligence of the officer in charge, but she doesn’t circumvent his authority, and could there be more than professional sparks between them? Realistic predicaments. Developed characters. Engrossing mystery. This isn’t the first time Daryl Wood Gerber has ventured into the world of suspense, but this is definitely one of her best!
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores is a new mystery novel published in 2019 and written by Daryl Wood Gerber. I've read and loved several of the author's cozy mystery books, but this was a more suspenseful and darker novel than her normal tales. I like when an author stretches her boundaries and writes 'out-of-genre' because it provides an opportunity for readers to truly understand how her mind works. I enjoyed this book and saw how it was several layers deeper or more complex than the cozies. All the great components from her writing style were still present, yet it wasn't a heavy suspense / thriller story either. Let's dive into my detailed thoughts.

Aspen Adams gave up her daytime job to become a private detective. She works in her aunt's agency and moved to Lake Tahoe. Right from the beginning, she finds the body of a friend on the beach. A neighbors watches over her, then the cops show up. It moves quickly, and then, we retrace the steps to find out what had been happening in Aspen's life and that of her close friends. Aspen's sister also drops off her daughter to stay for a week, as she's too busy dating a new guy and doing drugs such that she can't take care of her own child. Aspen agrees, only to discover her niece is in desperate need of help to get away from a bad situation. How does it all fit together?

As a mystery, it was strong. It definitely has heavier elements than you'd see in a cozy but there's minimal dark language or violence. It's a nice balance for those who want something in between the two ends of the spectrum. I like Aspen as a character, as she fights for what she believes in, yet also tells the cops everything she learns during her own investigation. Of course, no mystery would be complete without the amateur sleuth and the cop butting heads and falling for one another. This time, there are 2 key cops: 1 male, 1 female. Aspen befriends the female and finds herself attracted to the male. How will she keep her personal life separate from the investigation?

I can't tell if this will be part of a series or a standalone. I've seen a few different comments but nothing concrete on the author's website. If it's a series, I'll be interested in reading more. If it's not, I was happy to read this one. I think it'll have a strong audience and help lead other readers to her cozy series too. Somewhere between a 4 and 4.5 star rating for me.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber is billed as suspense but it is really one step beyond a cozy, which is not a bad thing. Aspen Adams is an ex-child psychologist, current process server/PI-in-training and she has just discovered the dead body of her best friend, Vikki, lying on the beach. Still recovering from the unsolved murders of her parents years ago, she can't find it in her heart to trust the police, so she sets out to investigate on her own. Her aunt Max, for whom she works, is directing her search for the murderer. Her friends Gwen and Karen are relatively supportive, although Karen is a member of the police force and constantly worried about being showed up and Gwen has her own issues. To compound matters, Aspen's drug-addicted sister drops off her daughter, Candace, to spend a week with Aspen, or so she says. 

This is totally a character driven story and that character is Aspen. She definitely has a past and her own hang-ups but between Candace and Vikki she holds it together admirably and continues to investigate. The whole thing takes place in Lake Tahoe, in the winter, and the characters in the scenario continue to surprise Aspen as she searches for a murderer and learns about Vikki's life. She is an excellent character and I found myself thinking about her when I was away from the book. The mystery was excellent and well plotted. It wasn't until the end when both Aspen and I figured out who the murderer was. Apparently this is to be a series: excellent idea. If you are not intrigued by gruesome murders this is the book for you. It may have been gruesome but Gerber did not go into minute detail. I enjoyed it. I recommend it. Hope you like it, too. 

I was given a free ARC of Desolate Shores. All opinions and interpretations contained herein are solely my own.  #netgalley   #desolateshores
Was this review helpful?
Invited to work with her aunt Max in her detective agency following a major failure with her therapy practice,  Aspen Adams fled to the beautiful mountains of Lake Tahoe, hoping to reinvent herself as a private investigator. She is thrust into the position when her best friend, Vikki Carmichael, is murdered.

The author weaves a well-plotted mystery while extolling the beauty and the activities at the California/Nevada border. Her descriptions of the scenes are so vivid you can smell the pine trees.

Aspen's sister, unfortunately, has a drug habit that has driven a wedge between them, but she is unable to deny her niece, Candace, a safe haven when her sister unceremoniously dumps her there for the week. It's not long before a sub-plot develops with the care of her Candace.

There is a wide cadre of characters, including alcoholic Karen Brandon, a seasoned detective, and favorite haunts around the lake. Aspen realizes she really didn't know Vikki as well as she thought. In the meantime, she begins to experience flutters when she is in the presence of sexy Detective Nick Shaper.

There is sufficient backstory of Aspen to get a grasp of who and why she is, though not fully engaging. Her niece is woven sympathetically and I liked Gwen at the bar and her aunt. They will prove to be strong support characters in the future but I have reservations on the possible romance aspect with Shaper. Ummm, nah. There are subtle clues and twists that lead to a believable conclusion.

I received this ebook digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Either as a standalone or as book 1 in a new series, the narrative is off to a terrific start keeping the suspense throughout. Recommended to fans of Ms. Gerber (of cozy fame) and anyone who enjoys a clean, well-paced mystery with sufficient suspense that will pique your interest for a second one.
Was this review helpful?
Aspen Adams doesn't know it, but finding the body of her best friend is just the beginning of major changes in her life.

This is Daryl Wood Gerber's first book in her Aspen Adams suspense series.  I have been a big fan of Gerber's for a long time, and have read several of her suspense novels.  This book follows Aspen and her new life working for her Aunt Max's detective agency, and the changes that happen when her work life collides with her niece moving in with her.

As always, her characters are wonderfully written and fully realized.  I love watching Aspen change from a process server to a detective hunting down the killer of her best friend.  Her settings are also very well done.  I feel like I could go to Tahoe and know where the different areas are located in relation to each other.

The plot was nice and tight.  I enjoyed the ride with Aspen through all the events that change her outlook.  I didn't find it overly suspenseful, but I think that it will change in later books.  A lot of information about the character and her friends and family had to be introduced, which slows down the action.  It shouldn't be as much of an issue as the series continues.

Overall, I really liked the book.  I really recommend it for people that want a gentle transition from cozy mysteries into the suspense genre.

All opinions in this review are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Desolate Shores is the first novel in An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense.  I enjoy Daryl Wood Gerber’s engaging writing style and the story proceeded at a peppy pace.  Aspen Adams does not trust police after they failed to catch the man who killed her parents.  She trained to become a licensed therapist and worked with teens until one of them took his own life.  This caused Aspen emotional distress and led to her decision to make a big change.  Aspen has been working at her aunt’s PI firm for the last eighteen months where she is learning the business.  When Aspen finds her friend dead while jogging, she is determined to unearth the killer.  With her Aunt Max’s guidance, Aspen begins digging into Vikki’s life.  She is surprised by the number of secrets that Vikki kept from her.  The mystery had several suspects, misdirection and good clues.  There is suspense as the killer tries to stop Aspen from investigating.  The takedown scene is fraught with tension.  I like that all the details of who, what, when and why were answered at the end (no speculation or supposition).  I would have liked a good twist because the killer was not a surprise to me.  I knew the identity of the killer by the time I was a quarter of the way through the book.  Aspen needs to work on her questioning technique because she is blunt and pushy.  I liked how she shared case details with the police, and, to my surprise, they shared information with her.  DS Nick Shaper is the lead detective on the case and the romantic interest for Aspen.  Sparks fly between Aspen and Nick from the start.  She does not feel he is giving the case his all in the beginning, but he grows on her.  He helps that he is quite handsome.  Aspen’s niece, Candace comes to stay with Aspen while Rosie, Aspen’s sister, spends time with degenerate boyfriend.  I liked that Candace was not a picture perfect teen.  She has issues and needs Aspen’s love, care and guidance.  The author took the time to develop the main characters and provided lovely descriptions of Lake Tahoe.  Desolate Shores is an intriguing romantic suspense with a deceased friend, a dangerous killer, shady suspects, a captivating cop, killer clues, and an unseasoned detective.
Was this review helpful?
“Desolate Shores” is the first book in a new suspense series by Daryl Wood Gerber featuring Aspen Adams.

A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . .

I found myself engrossed in the story and reading it in one sitting.  It was entertaining, suspenseful and full of twists and turns.  I thought all the characters were well developed.  I look forward to reading the next installment in this series. 

I requested and received an Advanced Reader Copy from Beyond the Page Publishing and NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A very good thriller, engrossing and entertaining. I appreciated the well crafted plot, the character development and the setting.
It was a good reading experience and I hope to be able to read other suspence by this author.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this arc, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?