Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Summer People” as Want to Read:
Summer People
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Summer People (Ray Elkins Mystery #1)

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  1,770 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews

It is late June in Michigan's gold coast resort area. The summer residents are settling in for the season and the tourists are beginning to flood the highways and beaches. But the idyllic vision of a summer at the shore is suddenly shattered by a gangl
Kindle Edition, 269 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Writers & Editors, LLC (first published August 10th 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Scott Rhee
I wholeheartedly support authors who self-publish, and I enjoy buying books by regional authors in little bookstores in towns whose names I can't remember. I think anyone and everyone should be able to have their stories published and read. This is not to say, of course, that they are worth reading or that I actually have to like them.

Recently, during a week vacation in northern Michigan, I stumbled upon this book, "Summer People", by Aaron Stander, a local writer who has a series of self-publis
Apr 21, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Anyone who has ever lived in a north woods tourist area knows about summer people. This book is set in the area just south of Traverse City, MI: the Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear National Sand Dunes area. The area is referred to as the gold coast of MI due to monied status of most of the summer residents. My husband spent all his summers with his grandparents in the town of Empire. We, in turn, went up there for the first 8 summers after we married. It's a beautiful area. This is the story of 4 di ...more
I ended up a little confused with the plot, not really understanding who or why, and I couldn't be bothered to go back and check details, The story is okay, but the characters are 2 dimensional and some of the writing is very suspect. This phrase cropped up more than once :

There was so little affect. (which I really do not understand - affection? love? - What does the noun 'affect' mean?)

and there was this:

They both gave a negative nod.

That actually made my brain hurt.
Scott K
I read 'Deer Season (#3)' through a free BookBub offer and enjoyed enough to to check out the series (figures day after I bought #1, BookBub offered it free next day).

This one as not as enjoyable, a quick and easy read but it was missing something from #3 perhaps it was the lead character was more developed. The end was kind of a disappointment, sensed a bias towards a political ideology, but maybe just me and it wasn't too bad

End of the book thoughts; I'm still wanting to read the next in the
Jul 09, 2013 Brianna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Bored. To. Tears.

The truth is, I didn't even finish this book. I thought the characters were shallow, primarily because the author never really went into detail about their thoughts or feelings. The characters I was supposed to like I didn't... the characters I was supposed to feel icky about I ended up being interested in, only to have them die.

Not impressed. Got through half the book before I called it quits. Which is kind of depressing because I can count on one hand how many books I haven't
Jul 26, 2014 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This really didn't feel like it was going anywhere...there were quite a few deaths very close together, then the sheriff Sat around and chatted to his old friend (and the old friends new chick, already acting like an old married couple) did a bit of asking around, and then decided something might have happened to someone twenty years ago, and they were now getting their revenge.
It wasn't clear if this was actually the case, or just coincidence.
Not great.
Sally Beaudean
Aspects of this book appealed to me. I liked the setting and some of the writer's descriptions were well done. I do remember one paragraph that gave a much too detailed description of how a car is pulled out of a swamp. (Do I really need to know how the wrecker hooks up the axle to get the job done?) The characters were interesting. I liked the ending, because it allows the reader the make inferences about what really happened.
Dec 26, 2011 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book
Picked this up because the story takes place in an area I love - northwest lower Michigan. Other than dropping some place names and poking fun at the summer people, Stander's really disappointing story could have taken place anywhere. The mystery is poor, the characters are stock and the ending is awful. I should have put this one down after the first chapter. Ever hopeful...
Aug 18, 2014 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. Hope to read more by this author
May 07, 2015 Sara rated it liked it
Quick read- the first in the Ray Elkins series , a sheriff in a small Northwestern, coastal Michigan town south of a traverse City.
Jan 26, 2017 Casandra rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. It is slower paced than a more typical thriller mystery, and the method is more cerebral. Instead of a great deal of action, there is a great deal of circumspection, as we enter the process with Sheriff Ray. I agree that his character is not fully developed at the end of this novel. I have read three of the series, and I feel like I'm only now getting a real sense of Ray's character. As one person put it in the third in the series, Deer Season, "what is the other Ray - the o ...more
May 29, 2017 Csmith rated it liked it
Three stars

The story was good, a local sheriff piecing together three deaths that appeared to be an accident, however he had a
Feeling they were murdered. The sheriff and two friends tried to find a motive, did find a motive but not enough
Evidence to prosecute. The book ended there. It was an abrupt ending and I actually thought I was missing some of the book.
I'm not sure I will follow up with the series.
May 23, 2017 Lynda rated it really liked it
Story keeps you guessing.

Well written with interesting characters. A quick read for a rainy weekend. I always like a good mystery that keeps one guessing till the end.
May 24, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing
Very good read. I enjoyed the characters and the story line. And I love that it is set in Michigan - that's where I'm from, so I have been to most of the places mentioned!
Marybeth Lapilla
May 21, 2017 Marybeth Lapilla rated it it was ok
Do not waster your time.

I forced myself to finish this book. It is very slow moving and seemed to be more about speculation then any facts.
Mar 10, 2017 Dan rated it really liked it
Enjoyable characters

I enjoyed the variety of characters in this book. However, after finishing it, it seemed to have gone nowhere. Lisa, Marc and Ray were interesting characters and I enjoyed their interaction. I would read another book with these people and still enjoy the characters.
First in the series before "Color Tour."

It’s not unheard of for this quiet beach town in Michigan to have drownings during the summer after the summer people arrive, however this particular summer, men are dying regularly. A few are apparent murders while the rest appear to be accidents.

The author is onto something here with a really good premise and has the reader guessing. It becomes intriguing when the Sheriff begins to wonder whether the deaths are somehow tied together.

However, I don’t kn
Jun 19, 2012 Resa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading “Summer People” I expected a much different kind of murder mystery than the one I found myself reading. I guess I expected a little more drama and a little more flash, overall just a lot more excitement. The book starts off on a fast paced pitch, but slows down almost instantly. The first chapter had me hooked, but around chapter 25 I was starting to wonder just how much more I had left to read. The characters are actually written very well. I love Sheriff Ray and think he ...more
Katey Schultz
Jun 02, 2016 Katey Schultz rated it really liked it
[I had the honor of introducing this author after studying his work.]

When I first approached Aaron about joining our team of presenters for this year’s Practicum focusing on money matters, I asked if he’d speak about his empire. “My empire?” the tone of his reply suggested. Well, yes—I thought to myself—it really is an empire. He’s too humble to describe it that way himself, but how many authors can say they have published 8 bestselling mysteries (with his 9th on the way) in 15 years?

More to the
Kristina Smith
Ray Elkins is the sheriff in a small, coastal Michigan resort town. He used to be a college professor "downstate". He is up for re-election against a local "good ole boy" who is running a campaign based on guns, booze and (the lack of) women's rights. But that is just a sidebar. The real story is the seemingly random "accidents" that keep happening to "the summer people" visiting the town for the summer within the course of one week. First, a sleazy real estate developer is gunned down in what s ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Ramona rated it liked it
Not your typical Murder Mystery. I liked this book because it was not typical and I hate to state negatives, since I don't write, but there was some issues that distracted from a very good and different storyline.
1. The editing was not good. Whoever edited this book for this author should give back the money. Words were missing, spaces were missing between words and it was a distraction. Format was not good in a lot of places and sometimes this format would cause the reader to go...What? What's
Jul 20, 2014 Scot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to the topic of this book, as I am interested in the inevitable clash of social classes and distinctions between locals and summer people in such a resort town, and I am personally unfamiliar with the vacation culture and traditions in this Lake Michigan area. I was pleased to see the sheriff in this murder mystery is a local boy who had "done good"--he had an earlier career as a criminal justice professor at a university that he earned meritoriously through hard work and perseveranc ...more
Sharon Michael
Jan 11, 2012 Sharon Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very relaxed, kind of semi-cozy police procedural mystery. Quite a few dead bodies for a cozy, but not particularly graphic. Small town law enforcement with an annual influx of summer people, very resonant of the western community where I grew up although this was set on the NE coast.

Plot was interesting, characters were generally well defined, and I definitely enjoyed a practical, sensible major law enforcement character that was not in some way dysfunctional. I did feel the major female charac
lynda  dwight
Jul 20, 2014 lynda dwight rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, mystery
was a good easy read.a little slow at first but took off fairly well afterwards. I got into it more towards middle and end. definitely does not end as one would expect.

sheriff ray lives in a tourist area where well to do summer people come to spend there summers in scenic cottages. these are adults of children that vacationed in their youth.

the story takes off as one murder believed to be by a professional and coincendentaly three accidents ... all seem at least aquantically related as in they
Several reviewers have complained about the pacing of Summer People, but I really liked it. It was slow and easy, just like a Michigan summer. Around here we take our watches off when summer hits and don't pick them up again until Labor Day. A book set in the Traverse Bay area that was a fast-paced thriller would have felt all wrong.

While I did like the pacing, I found much of Stander's writing style to be tedious. His setting descriptions were so detailed while his segues were abrupt. I read an
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2013 Jenn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More gym reading. This book could have been shortened by more than half if the author had quit repeating himself. First, the sheriff (and sometimes side characters) have to experience something. Then, they have to go back and tell the others. THEN, sometimes, we get to hear the sheriff tell the lawyer or other various and sundry characters. Really? Can't you sum up or eliminate all that dialogue and just tell the reader that he told them? Oy. And the ending? What ending? This series is called "R ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant afternoon of reading. I picked it up because it's one of Traverse Area Library's group-reading summer books. I'm sure it was selected because it's set in the area, rather than for any particular literary merit.

There are lots of characters and bits of their backstories, but all of it seems kind of flat. It's hardly a thriller--we get lots of information we don't need to solve the mystery plus side-track crimes and stories that go nowhere. Like real life, the story meanders along. And w
Cheryl M-M
This is a crime/murder mystery. The scene is set with a murder that looks like it has been ordered by the mafia followed up by a lot of so called accidents. At the end the reader is introduced to the possible why, but there is no confrontation with the killer. There are no real explanations for the accidental deaths, aside from the fact that the killer must be an ex SAS super ninja to pull all of the deaths off. I found it lacking, the text was detached, stocatto and didn't flow very well. Some ...more
Nov 14, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
Old Friends, New Summer, Unsolved Murders

I’m bothered by the fact that the packaging is more important than the content. It’s like the label on the side of a potato chips bag that says the product is sold by weight , not by volume . Translation, ‘Don’t be surprised if the bag is half-empty."

Sheriff Ray Elkins has it pretty good. Low crime and a stable place in his resort style community.

A series of troublesome deaths of adult middle-aged males has him looking for answers. Accidents? Coincidence
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • One O'Clock Jump: A Dorie Lennox Mystery
  • Killing Hope (Gabe Quinn #1)
  • The Delilah Complex (Butterfield Institute, #2)
  • Murder Over Easy
  • Silent Counsel
  • Secrets, Lies, & Love
  • Kill the Competition
  • Flirting With Death (Assassins Anonymous - Step One)
  • The Crimson-Eyed Dragon
  • The Paperboys Club
  • Sudden Deception (A Jill Oliver Thriller)
  • Replica
  • The Black Witch
  • Neon Dragon (Knight and Devlin, #1)
  • Dead Angler (A Loon Lake Mystery, #1)
  • Subculture
  • Beneath a Buried House (Detective Elliot Mystery #2)
  • Price of a Bounty

Other Books in the Series

Ray Elkins Mystery (8 books)
  • Medieval Murders
  • Color Tour (Ray Elkins Thriller Series)
  • Deer Season
  • Shelf Ice
  • Cruelest Month
  • Murder in the Merlot (Ray Elkins Thriller Series) (Ray Elkins Thrillers Book 8)
  • Death in a Summer Colony (Ray Elkins Thriller Series)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“then he collapsed backwards, head loose, body limp. The heavy, amber whiskey tumbler fell. Its bottom edge slammed into the thick, grass-mat flooring, bounced once, turned a” 0 likes
More quotes…