The Newcomer

The NewcomerThe Newcomer
by Mary Kay Andrews
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781250256966
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Pages: 440
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn—or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.


 

The absolute latest by Mary Kay Andrews (I told you I needed post-op easy reads), save for the somewhat disappointing novella The Santa Suit, and reading this I could almost believe Andrews has found her groove again.  It’s another mystery/romance in the same vein as The Weekenders but written a lot more smoothly with a much easier flow.  Andrews is still using multiple POVs, and they start off a bit clunky – this might be an editing issue, as I think bolder title timelines/location identifiers might have helped.  Once established though, the POVs worked smoothly, and Andrews played some small mind-games with the reader, introducing possibly unreliable narratives once or twice.  Again, a little clunky, but mostly effective.

The story is about the murder of the MC’s sister, which = mystery, but really, there’s no mystery about who killed her, just whether or not justice will be served.  That means that it’s less about investigating and more about case building, leading to some over-the-top antics that you’d like to believe are totally unrealistic, but just might not be.

I’ve read a lot of Andrews’ work now – not all of it, but enough to feel confident saying she really doesn’t write romance in the sense that the reader is swept away.  The male mc’s are mostly ‘good’ guys, but there’s not a one of them I can remember thinking I’d date him. At the end, I’m happy for the MC, but not bowled over by her HEA.

This is a beach-read worth reading; or, if you’re luck runs like mine does recently, a good solid yet light read to loll away the hours when confined to your bed.  Enough to keep you interested, not enough to tax your pain-meds-addled mind.

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