From the publisher:
Mary Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author and Queen of the Beach Reads delivers her next page-turner for the summer with The Newcomer.
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.
Forget the calendar; for me, summer officially begins with Mary Kay Andrews. In her early career, she wrote mysteries, then switched to contemporary romance. A few books ago, she starting combining those so the past few books have been romantic suspense, as is this one.
Set in the tiny hamlet of Treasure Island, Florida on the west coast, the story revolves around an old Florida motel, the Murmuring Surf Motel. This is more of a long term, seasonal rental type situation, where snowbirds come down for the season. Most of the guests at the motel are regulars, having stayed there season after season for decades.
The owner, Ava, lives on site with her teenage daughter who is getting ready to graduate high school. Her son Joe is a police detective, lives nearby helps out whenever he is needed at the motel. Joe is the one who finds Letty asleep in her car in the parking lot of the motel.
Even though the sign says “no vacancy”, Letty is hopeful that someone will be checking out. She really needs to stay there. Letty is on the lam; she found her murdered sister, Tanya, on the floor of her home. Letty grabbed her 4 year old niece, Maya, her sister’s “go bag” and hit the road. Tanya had warned Letty that if anything happened to her, it was Evan, her millionaire boyfriend and Maya’s baby daddy. She begged Letty to take the go bag and get Maya as far away as possible. An old magazine article was stuffed in the go bag, with the Murmuring Surf circled, so Letty heads down to Florida.
That’s where the story starts, and it gets a bit more complicated and dangerous as it progresses. Ava thinks Letty is good people, and Maya is adorable so she decides to help them out. She gives them an efficiency apartment that is being used as storage, and hires Letty to help out in the office. And detective Joe keeps sniffing around. His cop sense tells him something is up with this woman, but he is also attracted to her – an interesting dichotomy that luckily works out for the best.
This is a real page turner filled with quirky old folks, an interesting setting, and a sweet romance. I read it in one night. The perfect way to start my summer – bring on the rest of the beach reads!
5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
THE NEWCOMER by Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s Press (May 4, 2021). ISBN 978-1250256966. 448 pages.
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