Summer People
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Summer People (Ray Elkins Mystery #1)

3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  453 ratings  ·  82 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 gangla...more
Kindle Edition, 269 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Writers & Editors, LLC (first published August 10th 2000)
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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...more
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.
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...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
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
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
Sharon Michael
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...more
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...more
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
Julie Mink
I really enjoyed this book. It is a well crafted mystery surrounding the investigation of 4 deaths in a short period of one summer season in a resort area in Western Michigan. The sheriff, Ray Elkins, a very through
man works to see if there is any connection between one murder and 3 apparent accidents. I am looking forward to read the next book in this series.
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...more
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
Will Decker
Not impressed. I'm still wondering what the characters were really like. They had no depth or substance. The entire story was written by someone that either never experienced real life or doesn't have the ability to relate it to the reader. Very shallow, very disappointing. The entire story lacked passion, yet it had subject matter that could have fueled a great read.
Tracy Walters
This is the first time I have read a murder mystery where the book ends before they find the killer......can you say FRUSTRATING!!! The book wasn't was just very light in speech and characterization. You don't get to know any of the main characters very well....just enough to help you know who is who.....and the romance is fast and almost non-existent. A lot of dead bodies show up and not enough evidence to catch a let's just end the book with a picnic on the beach.

Melissa Acuna
The first in a series of police procedurals set in a Michigan resort town. Sheriff Ray Elkins grew up poor in a town where the summer people were anything but poor. One of his closest childhood friends, Marc a summer resident, has just back to town full time after a successful Wall St. career. Lisa Alworth, another childhood friend has also moved back to town.
The plot moves along in a relaxed but not dragged-out pace and the characters are nicely developed. They're all sophisticated foodies, in...more
Jayme Langhorst
This book was like four episodes of Murder She Wrote (which I used to love) shuffled together and turned into a book, only worse. The dialogue was flat and emotionless. The story was hard to follow as it jumped sporadically from one murder to the next- intermingling them all. The ending was beyond weak...I don't know that I would even consider it an ending. I have no idea if I'll read the next in the series. It has much better reviews, but this was almost painful to read.
This book started off slow. I was not quite sure how Marc and Lisa fit into the story except as a sounding board for the sheriff. I was really disappointed that there was no ending to the story. I still have no idea if the sheriff's theory of a murderer is truly the murderer. A bit more development of characters and story as well as an ending would have made this book much better. Also, the simple editing errors that should've been corrected. The story and characters have potential.
26 Mar 2014: started book
Ken Rossignol
Looking for a nice way to pass an afternoon while on vacation? Pick up this neat little gem for a good story about life being a real beach when it comes to time for paybacks for creeps. Someone kept a list and checked it twice and soon bodies of bullies were turning up in close proxmity to a crime hidden from view by a good old boy sheriff. Read this one for once when justice delayed was not justice denied.
My main issue with the book can be summarized by this anecdote: I read this on my Kindle, where I'm generally not in the habit of looking at the progress bar. I got the end of a chapter, went to "turn" the page, and got to the virtual flyleaf. What the-? Where's the rest of the book? Do I need to write Amazon to complain about getting only part of what I paid for?

Yeah, that really WAS the ending.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Poor editing, as I've come to expect in free Kindle books. The dialog is stilted (who says things like "I have got to get going now," anyway?) and the characters are barely there. There's no way to figure out whodunit ahead of time, as far as I can tell, and the whole thing's kind of ridiculous. Two stars because it's not the worst thing I've ever read, and I did actually finish it.
I read the first few chapters of this book and found the language offensive, therefore, I didn't finish the book. If a book has offensive language, I don't want to waste my time reading it. If the devil's language is your cup of tea, I'll pray for you. We have become so immune to evil that we accept it as ok. I don't. I wish there was a more clear way to label books.
Anita Hunt
I was intrigued by this book, as the setting is familiar. But the plot line lacked complexity, and the ending was weak. Dialogue better than average due to use of realistic fragments/interruptions and a good ear for regional patterns, but often too expository when it could serve to strengthen character, etc. An enjoyable read, but hoping for better from this author.
Chris Rogers
This book is set new the area in which I grew up - Grand Traverse County and Michigan's Gold Coast. This was the strength of the book for me. The story was interesting, the characters were likable enough, but had it not been for the location of the action I would have been less interested.

Regardless, I recommend the book as a quick read.
This book was a free ebook from Amazon. I was drawn to because of the location. Set in Traverse City, Michigan area and lots of references to Michigan towns I am familiar with. The story was Ok, a mystery, author has several other stories with the town sheriff as the main character. Like I said may go back and read the others due to setting.
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