Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Newcomer

Rate this book
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.

448 pages, Hardcover

First published May 4, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mary Kay Andrews

56 books9,503 followers

MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels (including The Homewreckers, The Santa Suit, The Newcomer; Hello, Summer; Sunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The Weekenders; Beach Town; Save the Date; Ladies’ Night; Christmas Bliss; Spring Fever; Summer Rental; The Fixer Upper; Deep Dish; Blue Christmas; Savannah Breeze; Hissy Fit; Little Bitty Lies; and Savannah Blues), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by twelve more New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.

She and her family divide their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA, where they cook up new recipes in two restored beach homes, The Breeze Inn and Ebbtide—both named after fictional places in Mary Kay’s novels, and both available to rent through Tybee Vacation Rentals. In between cooking, spoiling her grandkids, and plotting her next novel, Mary Kay is an intrepid treasure hunter whose favorite pastime is junking and fixing up old houses.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
11,318 (30%)
4 stars
15,971 (42%)
3 stars
8,420 (22%)
2 stars
1,544 (4%)
1 star
390 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,628 reviews
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,844 followers
May 4, 2021
Reading The Newcomer reminded me of eating one of those colossal entrees served at the Cheesecake Factory.

- Wow, this looks great!

- Mmm, this is really good.

- Geez, it seems like I’ve barely put a dent in this.

- Oh man, I’m running out of steam.

- Seriously, who needs this much of a good thing?!

Hopefully you get my point, regardless of if you’ve had your own trough, I mean plate, of Crusted Chicken Romano or not.

This the first book I’ve read by Mary Kay Andrews, which makes me - you guessed it! - a MKA newcomer. From what I understand, it’s a little different than most of her other books primarily due to a slightly darker tone and subject matter. A woman, with her 4-year-old niece, is hiding out in Florida from her sister’s baby daddy after he kills her and is looking for said 4-year-old.

I did enjoy the light and snappy writing style, but in case it’s not yet clear, this book is just too long. The mystery and romance aren’t entirely original either, and the characters are somehow simultaneously cliched and unbelievable. The Florida motel setting is great though, and something about it gave me southern Schitt’s Creek vibes.

Would I read a Mary Kay Andrews book again? Absolutely. I’d just want it to be a smaller portion.

I received advance copies of the ebook and audiobook from St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, respectively, via NetGalley. I would recommend the print version over audio given the presence of a 4-year-old prominent character. That much of a grown woman doing baby talk really started to grind my gears after awhile.

Blog: www.confettibookshelf.com
IG: @confettibookshelf
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,127 reviews39.2k followers
August 10, 2021
The calendar shows May 4th: happy release day to this smart, entertaining beach read! Grab one of the books and start planning your holiday!👙🏄🏻‍♀️🏖🍹

Queen of Beach Reads is back with a delicious, intriguing, engaging, addictive, unputdownable gem to devour at one bite!

This is fast pacing, action packed, exciting murder mystery centered at the pop motel in Florida Beach-town.

Quick paced story starts with new comer/ fugitive Letty Carnahan’s arrival at the parking lot of Murmuring Surf motel with her sweet pie 4 years old niece Maya.

They are running from authorities because she finds sister lying on a blood bath at her house as her little nice is scared and traumatized. Her sister Tanya warned her about her ex Evan who is biological father of Maya could harm her before and her predictions eventually come true. Letty keeps her promise she gave to her sister: she takes her niece and she runs away because the scumbag ex Evan might have killed her sister and now he’s coming after her!

She views the magazine her sister left behind and sees the Murmuring Surf’s name has been pencilled. She thinks her sister tried to give her a message by directing her to this motel.

But as soon as she opens her eyes in her rental car Kia, she sees scrutinizing eyes of officer Joe banging her car door to warn her pull out her car because there is no vacancy at the motel.

Thankfully officer’s mother Ava who is also owner of the hotel is more helpful and merciful to her. She offers her to clean and move in the older storage room which has a bed and kitchenette with a reasonable price.

She takes the offer and tries so hard to provide a clean and happy place for her niece even though the old guests of the motel consisted of retirees and snow birds find that young lady’s sudden movement suspicious and give her hard time just like officer Joe did to her as soon as they met.

On the other hand Evan does everything he can to find her, sending a corrupted police officer/ detective behind her to arrange a contract killer. As Letty reads the news about herself showing her suspect from her sister’s murder and feels the doubtful looks of the guests she gets more panicked.

But we also witness how Ava and her teenage daughter Isabel starts forming an intimate bound with her. Ava gives her job at the motel and she realizes how she manages the place professionally and it seems like Joe starts liking her, too. Maybe his feelings more than liking her as a friend.

But as soon as Vikki arrives at the motel, the woman Evan hired to find her, things get more complicated. Letty has to come clean and instead of running away, she has to face with her demons and find the killer of her sister!

This is unputdownable, riveting, exciting, heart pounding murder mystery. I loved the back stories of hotel residences. The sweet Maya stole my heart. The romance part between Letty and Joe was a little instant. The enemies turned into friends and lovers way too much quickly. Joe was douchebag at the beginning and just like switching his buttons he turned into genuine, good hearted, caring boyfriend. But instead of that I enjoyed the whirlwind mystery and small holiday town motel premise.

This is one of the best books of the author which made me rounding up my 4.5 to 5 palmy, Floridian, sunny stars because the clever mystery and emotional story of sisters!

Special thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this year’s one of the most anticipated books’ digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,066 reviews2,664 followers
May 5, 2021
I enjoyed Mary Kay Andrews Sunset Beach and wanted to read more of her work. My opportunity came with The Newcomer. The premise of the story is interesting, with the main characters, Letty, along with her four year old niece Maya, being like ducks out of water when they take up refuge at an old beachside motel that houses long time returning retirees and snowbirds. Letty is running from the murder of her sister, with her niece in tow, and she's the object of a man hunt although she isn't the killer. Now she has to try to lay low with her spoiled niece but the motel owner's police detective son is a constant presence at the motel and he pretty much falls for Lettie, despite his hunky scowls. 

And then there are the regulars of the motel, who don't like these young intruders on their hallowed winter home turf. So they are even more unhappy when Lettie settles in for the long haul, becoming part of the staff, with her little niece either coloring in her coloring books or tantruming in the background. With news alerts on the TV about the kidnapping of Maya, the death of Maya's mom, and a picture of Lettie as the suspect, what can go wrong? What can go wrong in the presence of a police detective that wants to get closer to you? 

There is an undercover FBI agent and I wish we could have spent more time with her and a lot less time with things going on at the motel. I wanted to run from the squabbles of the grumpy folks that resided at there. Ana, the motel manager/owner, has a heart of gold and not enough money to keep things up at the motel and the residents bicker like a bunch of kids. Maya, the spoiled four year old, is better behaved than they are. I think the story could have benefited from being shorter although I also think that there will be a lot of readers that greatly enjoy this sweetish/darkish romantic mystery. 

Publication: May 4th 2021

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,383 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2022
This is a Contemporary/Chick-Lit/Suspense/Women's Fiction. This is a very slow moving story. I have to say it took me a little bit to get into this book, but once I was pulled into this book I could not put it down. I love to say I really love the mixed of different types of characters in this book. I really fall in love with the little girl, Maya's character. She was just so cute. I love the setting in this book. I have to say the romance was not really anything, so I would say do not pick this book up looking for a romance. I think this is more of a Women's Fiction with a lot of suspense. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (St. Martin's Press) or author (Mary Kay Andrews) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,805 followers
April 14, 2021
My first novel by this author, but regrettably it was a miss for me.

I really love the cute cover and thought the premise of a little romance and a little mystery would be a fun little page-turner (like the synopsis promises), BUT I found it slow, and there really wasn't much a mystery.

Predictable and long (at 448 pages), I really wanted to get invested in the characters, but again, I wasn't engaged and dreaded picking up the book. Would have DNF'd it, but I almost always will finish an ARC.

I've heard wonderful things about the author, and will definitely give another title a try. I'll check my library and see which ones appeal to me!

Everyone is different, so this may be your next favorite. It just wasn't mine.
Thanks to NG and publisher for my review Copy. OUT on MAY 4, 2021
Profile Image for Julie .
3,998 reviews58.9k followers
June 1, 2021
The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews is a 2021 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Letty is on the lam with her four-year old niece, Maya, after her sister, Tanya, was murdered, and Letty winds up being the prime suspect.

She, and Maya hides out in an independently owned motel in a little Florida Beach town named Treasure Island- yep- you read that right.

Some of the residents and staff at the motel are highly suspicious of Letty, while others are ready to welcome her and Maya with open arms. The owner’s son, Joe, a former detective, believes something about Letty’s story doesn’t quite add up… but he’s also willing to give her the benefit of the doubt… for a little while, at least.

Sooner or later, though, Letty’s worst fears are bound to be realized, as Maya’s father is hot on her tail…

I have only read two MKA books, prior to this one. I enjoyed them both and tried to make a conscious effort to add more of her books to my reading list. I’ve been in a ‘beach’ read frame of mind this entire month, and this book certainly seemed to fit the bill- ergo- catching two fish with one worm.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this book is the best representation of the author’s work or talent. I felt this one got rushed to publication without dotting the I’s or crossing the T’s. The book is too long, a little too implausible, even for me, who is usually willing to give an author a little slack in that area.

I’m not sure if the editing was to blame or if this was just a one-off for this well-loved author- but whatever the case, I’m still looking forward to her upcoming Christmas novel and have a few of her older titles on my summer reading list.

Overall, others seem to have enjoyed this book just fine- so you might have better luck with it than I did.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Debra .
2,197 reviews34.9k followers
May 4, 2021
Letty Carnahan found her sister, Tanya dead in her New York Townhouse. Letty knows who did it - Tanya's ex, Evan. Her sister had previously told Letty, that if anything should ever happen to her that Even was responsible and she wanted Letty to take Maya, her four-year-old daughter and run.

And run she does, all the way to Florida and the Murmuring Surf Motel. There is a no vacancy sign, but Letty agrees to clean up the room they are using as storage and she and Maya move in, much to the disappointment of the Motel's regulars who tell Letty that no children are allowed - not at the Motel and not in the pool when they are swimming laps.

Hoping to stay under the radar and stay safe, things are complicated when Letty and the Motel owner’s son, Joe begin to feel an attraction. Will Letting and Maya be safe at the Motel? What will happen when people see the news programs and announcements about Tanya's murder and May being missing?

I agree with the other reviews who have pointed out that this book was too long. I believe it could have benefitted with some editing. I feel that a good 100 pages could be eliminated without changing or affecting the story. Although, I enjoyed this book, I did not love it. I kept picking up other books while reading this book. The synopsis was interesting - a woman takes her niece and runs after finding her sister dead. She hides out at a motel while being looked for. Sounds like the premise of a movie as well.

Plausibility is one thing. I did have to suspend some disbelief while reading this book. Another issue I had was feeling detached from the characters. I did not really feel invested in Letty and Maya's plight. I feel ambivalent about the romance mainly due to not feeling connected to the characters and not feeling really any longing or attraction between the characters.

Enjoyed it but it did not leave a lasting impression. I think this would work nicely as a beach read.

Others are enjoying this more than I did, and I encourage you to read their reviews at well.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

Profile Image for SHOMPA.
321 reviews113 followers
December 8, 2021
This is the first time I've read this author's book. When I first saw the name of the book, I thought the premise of a bit of romance and a little mystery would be a fun read (like the synopsis promises). But I got a dull and boring story. This book had two murder mysteries that are completely different stories with different characters. I was a bit confused though. And the romance has been inserted very forcefully. Because I didn't really feel a deep connection between Letty and joe. I was expected more emotional interaction. However I have to admit that the author knows how to create more puzzle in the midst of mystery in her book.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,003 reviews142 followers
April 14, 2021
A fairly cute but rather unbelievable romance/mystery

When Letty Carnahan finds her sister Tanya dead, she knows she has to flee. Tanya warned her about this--if anything happened to her, Letty was to take Tanya's four-year-old daughter, Maya, and run. Letty has no idea where to go, but Tanya's left behind one clue: a magazine article with a motel circled. She and Maya arrive at the Murmuring Surf, a little motel in Florida, exhausted. Letty is convinced that Tanya's ex--Maya's father--a rich businessman is after them. But at "the Surf," the owner, Ava DeCurtis, takes a liking to Maya (and Letty). Despite the No Vacancy sign, she lets Letty and Maya stay in a tiny efficiency. But the rest of the hotel regulars regard Letty and Maya--the newcomers--with suspicion, as does Ava's son, local cop Joe DeCurtis. Joe is pretty convinced Letty is a fugitive and maybe even a murderer. As Letty tries to settle in and heal with Maya, she attempts to unravel exactly what happened to Tanya: and the more she finds out, the more it leads back to the Surf.

"Nobody could be trusted. Not after everything that had happened."

This is a cute, serviceable mystery-romance combo, albeit a slightly preposterous and unbelievable one. Letty flees Tanya's murder scene successfully, a wanted criminal, recognized by no one except Joe, an upstanding, rule-abiding cop who doesn't turn her in. And when the FBI enters the tale, their actions seem highly unreasonable, but... I guess we are supposed to believe anything in the name of love?

As for this love, it's complete insta-love and honestly, at times, a little cringe-worthy. Joe falls for Letty basically on sight and is rather pushy in trying to convince her to be in a relationship. (Hey this is crazy, we just met, I'm not turning you in, let's move in together... umm ok?) It was all a bit much.

Now, the old folks staying at the motel were a total trip. I could completely buy their crazy. And I loved Ava, who was a sweet, overly-trusting, but tough and brave mom, who just wanted to take care of everyone. (I didn't believe that Maya, who had endured great trauma, just sweetly sat and colored for hours each day while Letty worked--I'd like to meet that four-year-old!) The motel setting was spot on, and I desperately wanted to be at the beach while reading the entire book.

Overall, this one held my attention and I couldn't help but root for Letty (and Maya), but it probably won't stick with me. Joe often rubbed me the wrong way and some of the plot points had me rolling my eyes. Still, a cute summery read. 3 stars.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review. Look for THE NEWCOMER on 5/04/2021!

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,084 reviews30.1k followers
May 8, 2021
Quick thoughts:

It’s not summer without a new beachy mystery from Mary Kay Andrews, and this summer’s spectacular new novel is The Newcomer!

This is a clever and exciting story with a touch of romance and a glorious beach setting. I loved the small town motel backdrop, too.

I received a gifted copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Kristy Harvey.
Author 11 books3,909 followers
June 14, 2021
There's a reason "Summer Begins with MKA" and The Newcomer proves it handily! Full of mystery, romance and that signature Mary Kay Andrews humor, I couldn't put this one down. It's an absolute must read!
Profile Image for Lindsey Gandhi.
506 reviews141 followers
May 7, 2021
I always love a good Mary Kay Andrews book. Her books are great summer/beach reads and this one is no different. The Newcomer is an exciting story following Letty as she tries to protect her niece from a horrible situation. We see Letty as she begins to figure out the ins and outs of motherhood, starting over, learning to trust society and people again and find her place in this world. Oh, and there's a mystery to solve in the middle of all of this. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the storyline and the way the author builds up the story and suspense/romance.

I only have a few negatives, which is what kept this from being a 5-star versus a 4-star book. Overall, I felt the book was a tad long. She easily could have knocked off 75-100 pages, tightened up the story a little and still had the same if not stronger impact. I also wanted to know more about a few characters that did have a big impact on the story - Joe and Vicki.

Even with those two negatives, I still stayed up two nights in a row well past my bedtime to finish this book! So obviously I enjoyed this book! It's fast paced, twisty, exciting, heart-warming, action packed, mysterious, engaging and just as delicious as Ava's home made cookies!

My thanks to Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's Press and netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Noemie.
155 reviews16 followers
August 9, 2021
Ugh seriously what was that? A bad romance? An obvious murder mystery? An over the top family drama? Or was it a cheesy vacancy trip? The answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE! Was there a cringiest moment than the sex scene of this book? HELL NO… I honestly wish I hadn’t witnessed that.


What an unrealistic book including romance that had absolutely NO chemistry, an annoying child that complained throughout the whole book, a dude named Joe who just really sucked, a lot of boomers who love to complain about broken chairs and clogged bath and so much more things no one cared about.
Profile Image for Jenny.
269 reviews95 followers
May 5, 2021

"If anything happens to me, Evan did it. Take Maya and run." Tanya always warned her sister that Evan was dangerous. She made Lettie promise to protect four year old Maya. Just run. Run away as fast as you can.
When Lettie finds her sister dead on the floor of her plush NY townhouse and Maya cowering in a closet, she heeds her dead sisters advice and flees with little Maya.
Lettie has no plan - only a "go bag" that Tanya had prepared and a magazine with a Florida motel ad circled in it.
The Murmuring Surf Motel becomes the destination for Lettie and Maya. When they arrive, they find the motel totally booked and no room available for them. Luckily, Ana, the owner takes a shine to Maya and offers an unused storage room that has a minimal bathroom attached. Gratefully they settle in.
But Lettie's troubles are far from over. She is now a wanted person. Evan has blamed her for Tanya's death. She is on the front page of the NY papers.
Lettie has to clear her name. She has to prove who killed her sister. How? Of course, Ana, has a handsome police officer son. Of course he is won over and helps Lettie. For the next 150 pages we follow the trail from New York and FBI investigations into Evan and his corrupt business, con men and actual physical violence. Is is an overdrawn over long process.
And there is more. Not only are crimes solved but the future is revealed.
The basic plot is good but there are too many side issues. Read when you have plenty of time available.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #TheNewcomer
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,043 reviews1,367 followers
May 7, 2021
Secrets, secrets, and more secrets. How many did Tanya have, and who killed her?

Tanya told her sister Letty if something happened to her to take her child and run and to not forget the stash of cash. Tanya didn't want Evan to take their daughter.

When Letty found Tanya dead, she did exactly what her sister told her to do, but now she is on the run and is a suspect in her sister's murder.

Letty drove to The Murmuring Surf Motel and made it her home, but would she be able to hide in this welcoming place forever?

Evan had hired a detective and was determined to find Letty and have her put in jail and take his daughter with him.

Unknown to Evan, Tanya had hired an attorney to make her will. The attorney was looking for Letty so she could give her the inheritance her sister left her.

Letty doesn't want to be found by either the detective or the attorney because she knows neither will turn out well. Her sister couldn't have any inheritance or could she?

Letty learns to love being at The Murmuring Surf Motel even with all the grumpy snow birds because her landlady Ava was the best. Her son Joe wasn't bad to look at either.

THE NEWCOMER was a delightful and at times comical read even though there was a murder and some unsavory characters.

If you enjoy being at the beach, finding new friends and a new home, seeing a character blossom, and seeing how things turn out for characters, this book will be for you.

Totally enjoyable….terrific, heartwarming story line and great characters.

You won't want to stop reading and will be cheering for Letty. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dallas Strawn.
637 reviews67 followers
April 19, 2021
MKA’s books notoriously for me are too long but they’re usually solid 4-4.5 star reads, but there wasn’t too much of a mystery to this “fish out of water mystery story.” The book revolves around a NYC woman named Letty whose sister has been murdered and takes her niece on the run to a run down Mom and Pop hotel where they encounter every stereotypical Florida old person character you can imagine, and ofcourse a local town cop for the main character to fall in love with. My favorite character in the book was the undercover FBI agent, she was an absolute hoot. I liked her scenes and wish there was more of her, could have cropped about 100 pages off the book by removing all the extra nonsense about the hotel guests at the Murmuring Surf. Getting to know them wasn’t necessary to the plot of Letty and her niece, whose scenes I totally adored. I loved the relationship they had.

I definitely enjoyed it but it was my least favorite Mary Kay Andrews book yet.....for a book that’s easily 150 pages too long, the book just felt rushed and the plot too cut and dry. It needed some surprises or twists and turns that you didn’t see coming.

Everything about this particular story was predictable, and while I did enjoy the resolution; the book overall did not satisfy me like I hoped it would! I still can’t wait for her next book though, because MKA is a great writer.

3.5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley.
Profile Image for Teresa.
483 reviews125 followers
April 1, 2021
The Newcomer is my first book by Mary Kay Andrews and it was quite enjoyable. I think it is what you would categorize as a cozy romance which is not my typical choice of romance. I typically like something a bit edgier. This was a fine book about two half-sisters, one good, one kind of messed up, but hey this is not a big surprise in the plot department. Lettie the good sister ends up suddenly leaving New York city with Maya, her sister, Tara’s four-year-old daughter when Tara is murdered. Letty heads to Florida and ends up in a kitschy old motel with a bunch of eccentric old people, a kind-hearted motel owner, and a gruff, but good-looking cop, slash handyman to mix things up.

Letty is on the lam as she is the main suspect in her sister’s murder, but she knows that her niece's father is who the police should be looking for and she will do anything to protect Maya. Joe is a dedicated police officer, but he can’t stop thinking about the mysterious woman who showed up at his mother’s motel and he wants to get to know her better.

I live in Florida and I loved the bits about old Florida motels and all the delightful kitschiness. The colors and design are just something that gets in your blood. The story was a little far-fetched at times, but I just went with it and enjoyed it. The ending was a little bit hard to swallow as I’m not sure I believe a grown man would wait that long for a woman to make up her mind, but hey, this is fiction, and it was happily ever after so whatever. I gave it three stars and I thank NetGalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read it.
Profile Image for Tammy.
891 reviews162 followers
May 8, 2021
What a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive!

Summers almost here! If you’re looking for a fantastic summertime book this is it. This is such a delightful beach read centering around feisty heroine, Letty, and her adorable 4-year-old niece Maya, and the mystery surrounding the death of Letty’s sister, Tanya.

New York City: Letty Carnahan promised her sister, Tanya, she would take care of her daughter if anything ever happened to her. Tanya told her it would be her ex Evan, if something did. Tanya made her promise that she’d take Maya and run. Letty never imagined she would find her sister's body that morning. Letty grabs Maya and Tanya's go-bag, full of cash and an old magazine clipping of The Murmuring Surf motel.

What did The Murmuring Surf Motel in Florida mean to Tanya?

Letty travels there, convincing the owner, Ava, to let her and Maya stay. Ava gives Letty a job there, and rents her the only unit she has available if she would clear it out.

She’d already met and had a skirmish with Ava’s son Joe, a police detective (whom Lila noticed is nice looking) when first arriving there. Then there’s Ava’s daughter Isabelle, and the fabulous assortment of comical, quirky vacationers that stay seasonally.

Tanya’s dark past does catch up with Letty and Maya, but cute officer Joe is never far from Letty; keeping her and Maya safe is his top priority, not to mention, a romance is heating up between the two.

I loved Letty’s character, she’s very likable and relatable. The story is a great blend of drama and secrets, money and murder, and yes, undercover agents and an actual sting - this has it all. It was a lot of fun!
Profile Image for Judy.
1,055 reviews
March 27, 2021
This is the second book I've read by Mary Kay Andrews. I had read her Sunset Beach last year and was happy to try another one. This was a very different book, though no less interesting. The Newcomer, set in New York and Florida, is a murder mystery. Letty, finding her sister murdered, scoops up her four-year-old niece Maya, and goes on the run to keep her niece safe. Letty is suspicious that her wealthy sister Tanya's ex-boyfriend and Maya's father, Evan Wingfield is the murderer. Tanya had told her that if anything ever happened to her, it would be caused by Eric and to take her daughter and get far away from Eric and New York. Letty ends up at an old-school motel on the gulf coast of Florida called Murmuring Surf in a place called Treasure Island.

I enjoyed the story and especially the folks at the hotel - not only the owners, but the quirky old folks who had been staying at this same motel for years. I also enjoyed the romance and the mystery. This was a little darker read than Sunset Beach, but a good book.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy.

Profile Image for Holly.
967 reviews414 followers
February 8, 2021
It pains me to say that I didn’t like this story. I’ve come to love MKA’s books, so I was looking forward to reading this. However, I didn’t like a single aspect of this book. When Letty’s sister is killed, she runs away with her four year old niece to Florida. She ends up staying at The Murmuring Surf hotel with some colorful characters. Unfortunately, you don’t get to know these characters too well. They’re kind of glossed over and I think it would have been more fun to get to know them. The “mystery” of her sister’s demise was kind of lame. The romance wasn’t believable. There was absolutely no chemistry between the characters. I honestly didn’t get to know the characters like I normally would in her stories. This was too long because I just wanted this to end 50-60% into it. Obviously not my favorite of MKA’s and I’ll probably be in the minority with my opinion. This just bored me though.

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
June 26, 2021
Letty Carnahan’s life is turned upside down when she is forced to flee New York City with her four year old niece, Maya, in tow after stumbling upon her younger sister’s body in her New York townhouse. Exhausted and emotionally drained, Letty arrives at a small beachside motel in Treasure Island, Florida - The Murmuring Surf. With nothing but her sister’s go-bag full of cash, a couple sets of clothes, and her little niece, Letty finds herself welcomed into the motel community full of quirky snowbirds and the friendly owner, Ava and her family. However, Ava’s son Joe is a local cop who catches a whiff of Letty’s complicated past and begins to dig into what really brought her to Florida.

As Letty begins to settle into life at the Murmuring Surf for herself and Maya, more of her sister’s secrets become revealed to her. Letty tries to piece together the puzzle of her sister’s murder, with her number one suspect being her sister’s ex-boyfriend, a crooked real estate investor. The longer Letty stays at The Murmuring Surf, the more complicated the mystery seems to become, but when she finally starts to trust her new friends the pieces begin to fit together.

The Newcomer is a great beach-read from the Queen of beach reads, Mary Kay Andrews. The story has bits of mystery, comedy, and romance with lots of Sunshine State charm and a whole bunch of quirky characters.
Profile Image for Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee.
604 reviews153 followers
May 3, 2021
Another fun mysterious beach read by Mary Kay Andrews! Letty Carnaham, finds her sister Tanya dead in her NYC townhouse. She is almost positive she knows who it was who killed her from the warnings her sister had given her. It must be Tanya's ex Evan. Tanya left a bag of cash, a diamond ring, and a clue. Now Letty is on the road and on the run with her little 4 yr old niece to save her from her father.

I always enjoy reading a Mary Kay Andrews book. They're filled with fun, mystery and romance that you can sink into. And the settings are always fantastic as well, this one takes place in St. Pete's Beach! A really good beach read...but PS...it's LOOONG! Could've been shorter! 🤣
Profile Image for MicheleReader.
680 reviews125 followers
April 30, 2021
Letty, who is living in New York City, finds her sister Tanya murdered. Tanya had told her that if anything ever happened to her, she was to take her four-year-old daughter Maya and run. And so they flee. Some clues left by her sister lead Letty to Treasure Island, Florida and an old-style, rundown beachside motel called the Murmuring Surf. It is in-season and the motel is filled with a group of retirees who have been coming there year after year. Ava, the kind owner of the motel, finds a room for Letty and Maya and hires Letty to help in the office. Back in New York, Evan, Tanya’s former boyfriend and father of Maya, is searching for Letty and his daughter. Tanya had told Letty that if anything bad ever happened to her, it would be Evan, a sleazy real estate owner. Letty becomes a prime suspect in the murder and is now an accused kidnapper. The hunt is on. Can Letty remain hidden? Ava’s son Joe is a local police officer. Will he figure it out?

While The Newcomer is a murder mystery with some romance, it’s a light beach read as you might have already detected by the cover. The cast of characters are endearing. And there is no mistaking who the bad guys are. The circumstances are a bit far-fetched and the story is fairly predictable. And it’s a bit too long. But I liked it. It gave me the change of pace I needed from heavier books.

Author Mary Kay Andrews gives her readers what they expect. If you’re in the mood for this type of book, grab your beach towel, relax and enjoy. You may even want to go out and play some bingo afterwards.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read The Newcomer in advance of its May 4, 2021 publication.

Review posted on MicheleReader.com.
Profile Image for Dianne.
1,540 reviews120 followers
February 18, 2022
Mary Kay did her usual fantastic job on this book. But I must tell you her writing style has changed a lot from her beginnings. The topics are way less frivolous. The storylines and characters are more profound and more mysterious. The last few books have less humor and off-the-wall characters in them. In this book, the central mystery is quite complicated, and because there are actually two mysteries going on, it can get a little complex. There are some stereotypical characters in this book (the usual Florida Olde Pharte, for example), but you can see why as you read. I loved it.

This book was filled with mystery, intrigue, family, murder, unlikable characters (and I must admit that it took me a very long time to connect with and warm up to, Letty Carnahan and her niece Maya, our main character's) lies, romance, and the usual luscious descriptions of the deep South.

I have to admit that this book's twists were phenomenal, and I hope that there will be a book about Vikki Hill. She was a great secondary character!

This book will be a must-buy for avid Mary Kay Andrew's fans, and I highly recommend this book to those that love a good mystery and tales of the South. This is going to make for an exceptional beach read this year!

*ARC supplied by the publisher, author, and NetGalley.
Profile Image for Val (pagespoursandpups).
283 reviews69 followers
March 28, 2021
Mary Kay Andrews is a beloved author because she is a master at writing an engaging beach read that her audience will love. This book is not a thriller, nor is it meant to be. MKA is more about the character development and the light, easy read feel needed for beach reads. I thought this book ranked as one of her top reads.

The book begins with Lettie on the run with her niece Maya. The reader learns that they are running from a dangerous situation in New York. Based on a torn-out advertisement Lettie found in her sister’s things, she and Maya head to the Murmuring Surf Inn in Treasure Island, Florida. Once they arrive, we meet a hilarious cast of senior guests who are the “regulars.” Luckily for Letty, she is befriended by the owner of the Inn, Ava, and is able to rent a room in exchange for her help in running the operations. Letty meets Ava’s son Joe, who is a local cop, and it is obvious that there are sparks involved.

The story revealed that Letty’s sister, Tanya, was murdered and Letty is the prime suspect based on the word of Tanya’s ex-husband and successful real estate developer, Evan Wingfield. The story revolves around the relationships that Letty develops around the motel and the discovery by Joe of Letty’s past and current scary situation. There is far more to Tanya than even Letty knew. Joe and Vicky, an FBI agent looking into Evan’s previous real estate deals, join together to help Letty discovery the truth about her sister’s murder. The motel rallies around Letty and Maya and they all work to protect them both.

The plot is mostly predictable, but you love the characters so much, you can easily overlook it. I am not sure I would have been this forgiving of my sister’s actions, so good thing the character was not based on me. This was a feel-good story with enough of a twisty ending to keep the reader engaged and cheering on the good guys.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for gifting me an advance copy to read and review.

3.7 stars rounded up to 4.
Profile Image for Kristie.
833 reviews361 followers
May 28, 2021
I have seen a couple of reviews stating that this book is a bit darker than Andrew's usual writing. I understand the underlying themes of murder, abuse, etc are dark themes, but it was written in a way that still made the book feel lighter somehow so I didn't really find it dark at all.

I found this story to be a little predictable and unbelievable or convenient at times, but it was enjoyable enough that I was able to dismiss those issues. The predictability came across as comfortable rather than boring. There were also a few small surprises sprinkled throughout the book to help keep it interesting.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters in the story, even if they were a bit cliched at times. The older people could be fun and there were some laughable moments that bordered on silly. It reminded me a bit of the Miss Fortune series at those times.

I was surprised that my biggest struggle was with the romance. I expected it to be the most fleshed out part, but it was unbelievable to me. It felt rushed and forced. I would have liked to have seen the relationship develop more.

The narrator was excellent, but let’s be honest, no adult can sound like a genuine 4 year old. If that fake baby voice is something that will bother you, then you may want to skip the audio version of this one.

Overall, I liked the story and the writing style was engaging. I didn't completely love it, but I'd certainly be interested in reading another book by Ms. Andrews.


Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for providing me with a complimentary electronic copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Sophie.
271 reviews71 followers
January 23, 2021
Another great summer read from Mary Kay Andrews! She’s one of my favourite author and this book is the perfect mix of suspense, intrigue and romance.
Profile Image for Stephanie .
468 reviews95 followers
April 26, 2021
rounded to 4.5 stars

As anyone who knows me knows, I absolutely LOVE Mary Kay Andrews and have faithfully read every book she's ever written since the early 90s! MKA never fails to write the perfect summer/beach read and The Newcomer is no exception. This is the perfect blend of mystery, murder, secrets, family drama, and a little romance, all set in a perfect southern summer setting.

Letty is on the run with her murdered sister Tanya's 4 year old daughter Maya and Tanya's "go-bag" full of money. Tanya warned her sister weeks ago that she was afraid her ex Evan was going to kill her and if anything happened to her, Letty needed to run with Maya as far as she could go because Even wouldn't stop until he found them.

The two end up in Florida at a motel called the Murmuring Surf, which Letty picks because she finds an old magazine article in Tanya's things with an ad of the motel circled and wonders why it was important to her sister. When she arrives, she's befriended by the motel owner, Ava, who lets her stay there even though there's no vacancy (letting her clean out a unit that's full of junk). She even gives Letty a job although not all the retirees and snowbirds who've been staying at the Murmuring Surf for decades are thrilled to have the newcomers around, especially a kid amongst the old retirees! Not to mention Ava's son Joe is a cop and pretty suspicious about Letty showing up out of the blue and knows there's more to her than what she's telling--it's not long though before his attraction for Letty overcomes anything else.

This was such an enjoyable read, as all MKA's books are! The characters were just fantastic, and I was utterly charmed by little Maya! The secrets and lies that were exposed as Letty looked for answers into what happened to Tanya kept the story suspenseful without making it too dark, too heavy, or too deep for a summer read. There was just the right amount of mystery and suspense to keep you flipping pages while still making you feel like you were sitting by the beach or pool, especially thanks to the gorgeous setting MKA describes this time! I did feel like the romance in this one was a little rushed between Letty and Joe just because it was instant instalove when one minute it seemed like Joe really disliked her but since it was love at first sight for my hubby and me when I was 16 (almost 3 decades ago, wow), who am I to say anything about insta-anything! I did LOVE the ending though, swoon!

Once again, the queen of the beach reads has done it again, so do yourself a favor and pick this one up for summertime reading! It releases on May 4, 2021!

Thank you NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for the DRC. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Gloria.
800 reviews58 followers
May 6, 2021
3.5 stars
This is different from Mary Kate Andrews' earlier books but similar to her newer book, Sunset Beach, in setting and theme.
Tanya Carnahan warned her sister Letty that if anything happened to her to take her daughter Maya, a go bag containing a bunch of cash, diamond "push" ring and leave New York. She was worried that her ex boyfriend Evan was planning to get rid of her. When Letty found her sister dead inside her plush brownstone and Maya crying nearby, she grabbed what they needed along with the bag and left town. She has to get away from not only Evan but the police who will want to question her about Tanya's death and her taking Maya. Inside the bag was an old Southern Living ad for motel in Treasure Island, Florida, near St. Pete. Not sure about the significance of the ad, that is where they headed. The old motel is for long term residents who stay for the winter but she is able to talk the owner Ava into letting them stay there. She actually works for Ava and settles in, gets to know Ava's son Joe, a cop, her daughter Isabelle and residents. This story is long as it develops with Letty's story eventually unraveling to Isabelle and then to Joe and an FBI agent from New York investigating Evan. It is a complicated story with connections from years ago with Tanya and others in Treasure Island. Tanya had lots of secrets that are finally revealed. Maya is the star at the motel among the residents but it is obvious that Letty is a good person. I enjoyed the mystery in the story although slow moving at times. The setting is great with some likable characters. I felt there is far more language than needed for the story but that is my opinion.
I received a complimentary ARC from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All opinions are mine only.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,483 reviews261 followers
February 18, 2021
A wild and even a bit wacky murder mystery. Really wanted more of the romance.
Have you ever taken a trip and discovered an old time motel that looks like it hasn’t been brought into the 21st century yet? I keep thinking of those roadside motels that used to line the highways back in the day when I visualize the setting for this story. Aqua and pink were all the rage and with the locale in this story in Florida, I think I am pretty accurate!

This wonderful beach read has not only a fabulous setting but also a load of wit and humor surrounding the murder mystery. The fact that this one is not fraught with suspense and drama, but a straightforward murder and guns for hire mystery is a plus. This book is easy to read and a delight too!

Laced with a cast of wacky characters that make you smile, a hunky cop that feels he needs to personally protect the suspect/crush, and a bit of a twisty story that keeps you on your toes, The Newcomer hits the mark with a special unique flavor. My only regret is that Joe and Letty could have really thrown some serious romance feels, but that was way underplayed.

Andrews has crafted a lightweight witty read that does have serious undertones and packs a punch too. Delightful and so enjoyable, I will look forward to reading more of this author!

* Copy received for review consideration
full review - https://amidlifewife.com/the-newcomer...
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,628 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.