Thursday, July 29, 2021

Book Review: The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Hello, Summer,
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "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."


Letty Carnahan quickly leaves New York City with her niece after her sister, Tanya, was murdered. She always promised her sister that she would take her daughter, Maya, if anything happened to her. They are on the run from her sister's shady husband, Evan, who Letty thinks murdered her sister.  The FBI is after him for running fraudulent Airbnb properties; plus, Tanya has confided in Letty that she is afraid of him.  So, Letty puts two and two together and gets out of town with Maya in tow.  She had Tanya's "go bag," which has a bunch of cash in it and along with a tip from Tanya, she ends up at a motel in Treasure Island, Florida.  The motel is a quiet sort of place run by a woman named Ava. Letty ends up with a job in exchange for a room that wasn't quite a room to begin with. Good thing Letty knows how to work hard.  While there, Letty befriends all of the motel's long term guests and Joe, Ava's son, catches Letty's eye.  Meanwhile Letty is trying to figure out Tanya's connection to Treasure Island and a local criminal ring all the while Evan is searching for her. The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews is a mysterious beach read with a lot going on.

Letty is an interesting character in The Newcomer. Her dedication to her sister and her niece are admirable. She works hard and is often put in difficult situations.  Letty she tries to piece together her sister's involvement with Treasure Island, Florida and slowly she starts to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Also, I had high hopes for a romance between Joe, the cop, and Letty, and while it does eventually happen, it ended up being disappointing.  I felt like Andrews could have really developed their relationship a bit more. I wasn't feeling it at all.

The best part of The Newcomer was the fun setting of The Murmuring Surf hotel. I loved the long-term guests, Letty's part in the motel, and the small town coastal feel. Andrews brought to life the west coast of Florida and the motel life very well.  Essentially, the setting of this story really made it a beach read for me. 

I did have issues suspending my disbelief while reading The Newcomer. There was a lot going on in and at times it felt really contrived and unbelievable.  It also felt overly complicated, like maybe Andrews should have focused on one villain.

Nonetheless, Andrews fans will like how she combines a mystery with a classic beach read. She does it well and usually it works for me, but ultimately, The Newcomer fell a little bit flat.  

Are you a fan of Mary Kay Andrews? Have you read The Newcomer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. I can't remember if I've read Andrews before, but I had this impression that her books were more typical beach reads - I wasn't expecting all this murder and drama!

    1. Yeah, lately they have become a bit darker than your usual beach read! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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