by Mary Kay Andrews
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Some people come only for the weekends-and it's something they look forward to all week long. When Riley Griggs is waiting for her husband to arrive at the ferry one Friday afternoon, she is instead served with papers informing her that her island home is being foreclosed. To make matters worse, her husband is nowhere to be found.
She turns to her island friends for help and support, but each of them has their own secrets and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens. Cocktail parties and crab boil aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.
As I’ve said elsewhere recently, I’ve found Mary Kay Andrews’ last few years of output to be hit or miss, with more closer to ‘miss’ than ‘hit’, but she’s been setting her stories in Florida, and the type of stories she writes is a known quantity and, well, hope springs eternal.
So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to see that The Weekenders was much closer to hit than her recent average. In might be in part because this story revolves around a mystery (Andrews used to write murder mysteries under the name Kathy Trojek, if I remember correctly), but even without the mystery co-plot, it’s a much more solid story than quite a few in her list. There’s decent character development of both the MC and the side characters, including her spoiled brat of a daughter.
I was tickled when the ‘grand reveal’ of the murderer was done; not only did I not see it coming, but the way Andrews did it was a little bit inspired.
The romance was … choppy. I liked the romantic interest well enough, though he wasn’t memorable, but the MC’s flaws (or the flaws in the writing of the MC) shined in the romantic co-plot. She was too hot-and-cold without sufficient (for me) justification to make me believe or support it.
The book was still a pretty uneven effort for Andrews, even if it was vastly more enjoyable than others; while the main POV is the MCs, we do occasionally get POVs from other characters; some of them made complete sense, but some of them did not. A few times we get her BFF’s POV and it made me think there was a story there but it just sort of never happened. Those POV sections could have been omitted entirely and absolutely nothing would have been lost.
Overall, I was looking for a post-op distraction that didn’t require too much thinking through the haze of pain-killers, and I got that, plus a story that kept me reading because I wanted to, not just because it was what was in front of me.