Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sunset Beach

Title:  Sunset Beach
Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
Publication Information:  St. Martin's Press. 2019. 432 pages.
ISBN:  125012610X / 978-1250126108

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Drue turned the key in the ignition and the white Bronco's engine gave a dispirited cough, and then nothing."

Favorite Quote:  "I'm afraid of lots of things ... I just hide it better than most people."

The cover and title of this book indicates chick lit, women's fiction, and a summer beach read. What this book delivers is that plus an actual, entertaining mystery.

An accident ends Drue Campbell's athletic career. Her mother dies. Her estranged father reappears at her mother's funeral. She inherits a dilapidated cottage, which just happens to be right on the beach. She is in trouble emotionally and financially. Her father offers her a job. It's a job she does not want but may be forced to take. Her car dies. She meets a new friend. Did I mention her father happens to now be married to someone she knew in middle school?

Let's just say life is not going Drue Campbell's way. So, what does she do? Sulk? Wallow? Nope. She picks up the pieces and keeps going. Her new job with people very much from her past lands her in the middle of a murder mystery.

It all begins with wanting to help a grieving family. Good intentions that open up a whole mountain of corruption, money, and cover ups. It turns out Drue Campbell has a penchant for adventure and a flair for detective work. Who knew?

This is actually the first Mary Kay Andrews book I have read. I understand that this book is a departure from her recent works, which have very much been summer beach reads with a Southern flair in the sense that the cover of this book implies. This book has caught some of her fans unaware because the expectations do not match the reality. Interestingly Mary Kay Andrews started her career as a journalist and wrote ten mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck before changing directions into the work she is currently known for. After her success as Mary Kay Andrews, the original mystery series has been released under the pen name "Mary Kay Andrews writing as Kathy Hogan Trochek." So, a mystery is not really a departure for her but rather a return to her roots. For me, with this being my first book by the author, I have no expectations.

Getting back to this book... A likable main character? Not always. A created romance? Most definitely. A contrived set of circumstances that enable a rookie to solve a mystery that has been a cold case for years? Too much so. A quiet book about beach days? Not quite. A light entertaining beach read? Not quite in the way I envision based on the cover and title but yes. Quickly read, quickly forgotten, but fun while it lasts.

The only remaining question is... Is this the start to a new series and an introduction to Mary Kay Andrews, mystery writer?

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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