SUNSET BEACH by Mary Kay Andrews

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From the publisher:

Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm.

Andrews has gone back to her roots and given us a cozy mystery; actually two cozies for the price of one! It’s still as beachy a read as you could want, but the romance that was her hallmark has definitely taken a backseat. This also felt like it could be the first book of a series, so I’m curious to see how that plays out.

Drue is a terrific character, someone I enjoyed spending time with. Her curiosity drives the stories, and you can’t help but root for her to solve them. The family dynamics add another layer to the story as well. Having lost her mother, her career, her boyfriend and her home, Drue really can’t fall any lower so it’s up she will have to go. Her stepmother doesn’t help much with that and their relationship is tricky, to say the least, as is her relationship with the father that was absent for a good part of her life. But Drue is a tough cookie, able to pick herself up and move ahead, even when everyone around here is discouraging.

The two storylines, one present day and one set in the 1970’s, are intriguing for sure, and I thought they were going to come together at some point. I was wrong. But they both get resolved in very different yet interesting ways.

All in all, I enjoyed my first beach read of the summer!

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SUNSET BEACH by Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s Press (May 7, 2019).  ISBN  978-1250126108. 432p.



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