My second Mary Kay Andrews book and another satisfying summer read. Andrews writes a fun mix of romance, family drama, and mystery, all of which combine to keep the plot moving at a fast pace. I noticed that a lot of the chapters were three pages long, which also added to the zippy feel of the book. This was an ideal book to consume during a historic heatwave, as I kept telling myself that at least I wasn’t as hot as the main character, who spends the whole book living in a house in Florida with no air conditioning.
Sunset Beach follows Drue Campbell, who is very down on her luck between her mother’s recent death, the kiteboard accident that destroyed her knee and left her unable to do the only sport she loves, and her dead end waitressing job. Her estranged personal injury attorney dad shows up out of the blue and tells her that her mother left her a little run-down beach house, and he offers her a job working for him answering the phones at his firm while she gets the house back up to livability. Drue moves back to discover that her father has married her middle school best friend, Wendy, who threw her under the bus and dumped her in eight grade. She and Wendy immediately get off on the wrong foot and Drue is also furious and combative with her father, who was not a great dad after the divorce and basically abandoned her in favor of he previous stepmother. Also, there are two cold case murders in this book that Drue gets involved with, so add that to the plot shenanigans. And a romance!
Mary Kay Andrews always does a good job of intertwining the family issues, murder investigations, and the slow-burn romance, so I have no complaints there. I will say that I liked the other book I read by her better (Hello, Summer), as it felt more true to life, maybe because Andrews was a reporter like that main character, whereas here Drue is suddenly given control over the law firm at the end of the book with absolutely no legal training. I found that to be super unrealistic and it seemed to happen just to put a bow on everything. I also felt like the reconciliation of Drue and her dad felt a little flat, as they never really talked through their issues. Drue was so furious at him for most of the book that it seemed abrupt to have her be okay with him in the last few chapters. And I wish Wendy and Drue had had more time to bond and talk through their friendship breakup than the brief few pages it gets. But it’s a summer beach read and Andrews is a good, straight forward writer who wraps everything up in a happy ending, which is just what I needed.