In trouble and on the run…
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.”
With a trunkful of emotional baggage…
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.
The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling…
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.
Goodreads Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
The Newcomer is my first book by Mary Kay Andrews, and it will not be my last. The story is so compelling. It kept my naturally wandering mind locked onto the pages from beginning to end.
What I Loved
The story is so tightly constructed that its focus kept me focused even though it is on the longer side page-wise. And, I loved the general mystery/thriller plot – a sister murdered, an aunt and her four-year-old niece on the run to not be the next victims. The motel where they hide out could have been light, but it isn’t. The characters are as accurate as any senior citizen in Florida.
Okay, it did have its fun moments, but mostly it is just kept honest, which means a grab bag of cantankerous notions, health issues, and choices that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart.
I found every single character to be well-developed and made of complex layers, no matter how small their part in this story. Letty, the main character, quickly won my heart with her heroic actions and enormous heart. The way she protects her niece and creates a home for them in the most unlikely of places is inspiring. She had a rough childhood, but she came out of it with her sense of right and wrong fully intact, unlike her sister. She is just so darn admirable. You can’t help but root for her and be pulled into her world.
The normalcy in the middle of thrills just heightened the story to a new level. I enjoyed watching Letty and Maya find their place in the world – that place where they truly felt like they belonged and could be contributing members. Yet, it also helped to heighten the thrill of them being chased and the fear of being found. The normalcy gave them even more to lose, if the bad guys catch up with them.
What I Wish
I did like Letty and her romantic interest together. Still, there was something that didn’t hit as natural and right in a story that had done so well at showing everyday life. It started too abruptly, I think, whereas in the world they have come to build, it felt like a relationship that would have slowly built over time and involved a lot more interactions with the people important to both.
To Read or Not to Read
Suppose you are looking for a book that is as good at building a mystery/thriller storyline as it builds a story about relationships. In that case, the Newcomer is a book you won’t want to miss!