Review: The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

Can it even be summer without a new Mary Kay Andrews book? The answer is no—no it cannot! I started reading some of MKA’s books a couple of years ago and they are always good as a beach read or a quick read on a plane on the way to your latest vacation destination! I picked this one up and read it in a matter of days which is what I expect when I pick up any of her books.

This book featured both a romance and a little bit of a murder mystery and I just loved that combo. If you love beach reads you no doubt have read MKA and know how great of a writer she is. She is the Queen of Beach Reads and I cannot dispute that. She is a prolific and seasoned writer who knows exactly how to craft a well written novel.

If you haven’t read MKA before, you really can’t go wrong with any of her books so just grab one and dive in and if you have managed to read this far I would encourage you to just grab this one because it’s another classic MKA book and if you haven’t read anything by her then this one is just as good as any so why not grab it!


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 (summary from Goodreads)


The first thing I am going to say about this book—-I was surprised how well done the murder mystery was! I went into this one thinking I was going to be reading more of a fluffy beach read with romance and what I got was a lot more murder than I was expecting! But I was equally as shocked with how well written and compelling it was! MKA is known for her romantic beach reads not for her thrillers but this one has a strong murder mystery plot that I wasn’t expecting and didn’t even know I needed until I started reading this one! I was hooked and read this one super fast as well! I loved the mystery and how it connected to the romantic parts of the story were great! I actually wanted and was frankly expecting a little more romance from this book but the mystery made up for it and overall I felt satisfied with the mystery even if it was shallow on the romance parts.

I have only read MKA’s more recent books but I am interested in going back and reading some of her earlier books. A lot of long time MKA fans have said that her writing style has really evolved over the years and become less ‘fluffy’ and more nuanced and complex. I would say that if you have tried MKA before and maybe weren’t a fan of her earlier works, I would say give this book a shot. It has a different feel from some of her other books, even the more recent books, and I think you might enjoy her writing more now from the sound of it.

The setting of the book added a lot to the story for me, especially the hotel guests. I enjoyed the guests and thought they added a fun element to the overall story. I also thought Letty was a a smart, likable character that readers will cheer on and enjoy too. I personally felt invested in her story even if I was hoping for more romance. I think this is going to be a big hit with fans of MKA and will hopefully draw in some new fans. I enjoyed it and easily passed a couple of afternoons lost in the unexpected story!

Book Info and Rating

Format448 pages, Hardcover

PublishedMay 4, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN9781250256966 (ISBN10: 1250256968)

Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: beach reads, romance, mystery


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