Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews
Expected Publication Date : May 7th 2019
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Read Date : May 6th 2019
Genre : Women’s Fiction / Mystery
Stars : ★ ★★ ★ ★ / 5
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.
Sunset Beach was women’s fiction filled that revolved around Drue’s life and two suspenseful mysteries she got invested on arriving at the Sunset Beach. A wonderful summer novel about cold-blooded murder, suffering of women in the male dominated fields, hotel management and their low ethics, domestic violence and some family drama and suspense.
Drue was fabulous in whole book. She was 36 but I felt she was younger than that. At first she was complaining with life, because of her father, job, boyfriend and her injury that held her on the grounds away from her kite-boarding passion but as I read more she developed gradually and took grip of new life quite nicely. I liked the way she accepted Brice and Wendy’s marriage eventually, bonded with Jonah and Aliyah. She was natural in communication and investigation and I’m happy how she solved both cases.
All side characters were great. The team at Campbell firm, detective working on case, Jazmin’s family all made the book interesting.
First few chapters were character and plot building. We got to know about Drue’s childhood filled with hurt feeling because of abandonment by her father-Brice, now a rich lawyer running a law firm. When she met him after a long time at her mother’s funeral he offered her a job and a key to her grandparent’s cottage she inherited at Sunset Beach. Looking at her jobless, homeless and relationship-less situation, she took up her father’s offer and joined his firm where she received a unsavory surprise. She met her father’s third wife, Wendy, her ex-best friend when she was 15. Another surprise came pretty soon. Once she moved back to cottage, she found two intriguing cases that she instantly hooked to – 1) a missing case of local beauty, a forty years old unsolved case and 2) the case of woman brutally murdered at the Gulf Vista hotel, the case for which victim’s mother hired Drue’s dad’s firm 2 years back but she got penny as a result. As soon as Drue started nosing around to solve the case story took many interesting turns.
It was third person narrative with wonderful picturesque beach town, ideal cottage, perfect sunsets and detailed case descriptions. Writing was easy to follow with interesting pieces of puzzle that I could easily follow but hardly could guess the conclusion. It was wonderful to read the way Drue turned her damaged uninhabitable cottage into beautiful dream house.
Some chapters were written in past, 1976, that told the life story of Colleen, how she was connected to Brice and Jimmy, how she went missing, what actually happened to her, and how the police file of the case ended up in the attic of Drue’s cottage. I could guess some points in Collen case but the way chapters were represented made me question my own theory. All chapters related to this case were tense and made me nervous. The conclusion was totally unpredictable. I didn’t like the way things settled for Colleen and all characters related to her.
In Jazmin’s case, I couldn’t pinpoint anything. Whole thing at that Gulf Vista was fishy. I could feel why Drue was so invested in this case. Aliyah was such adorable girl and as a mother I could imagine how devastating Jazmin’s mother might be. I was shocked how hotel management remained impassive and obstructive from the very beginning. And when mystery finally unraveled, I felt outrageous.
Both case’s file records were narrated with minute details. In both the cases things would have not taken nasty turns only of characters decided to act differently. Elements of sleuthing, mysteries, family drama, little bit of romance along with the theme of domestic violence and mistreatment of female employees was perfectly balanced.
Oh and those events after climax were mind boggling. This part shocked me more than all that happened previously. End was satisfactory. I loved author’s dream beach house note and recipes that you could enjoy during your summer vacation at beach.
Overall, it was suspenseful, engrossing, women’s fiction with cozy mystery, a perfect beach novel with great characterization and plot. I definitely recommend this book to read on you summer vacation.
Author : Mary Kay Andrews
Purchase Link : St. Martin’s Press
*** Note: Many thanks to publisher for providing e-copy via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. ***
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