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The Newcomer – A Book Review

Letty Carahan has found her sister, Tanya,  dead and is now on the run.  Making things more interesting is that she has “abducted” her neice, Maya, as well.  Did she actually find her dead or is SHE the murderer as Tanya’s ex is claiming?  As the story unfolds, we are left to decide who the actual murderer is.  See what you think as you follow along in The Newcomer – A Book Review.

The Newcomer is the 28th book that Mary Kay Andrews has authored but the 18th under this pen name.  Her pen name was inspired by the names of her children.  The change in name also found her writing in a different style as well, which found her hitting the New York Times bestselling author list!  Prior to this, she has written 10 mystery books under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck.

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Meet The Characters ~

  • Scarlett Carahan (Letty) – Main character
  • Tanya Carahan – Letty’s sister
  • Maya – Letty’s neice
  • Ellie – Maya’s trusty stuffed elephant
  • Terri – Letty & Tanya’s mom
  • Mimi & Bop – Letty & Tanya’s grandparents
  • Ava DeCurtis – Manager at Murmuring Surf Motel
  • Joe DeCurtis – police office, son of Ava
  • Isabella DeCurtis – daughter of Ava
  • Anita – Housekeeper at Murmuring Surf Motel
  • Evan Wingfield – Tanya’s ex fiancee
  • Declan Rooney – Tanya’s old boyfriend before Evan – Scammer
  • Charles Sheppard (Chuck) – Scammer
  • Juliette (JuJu) – Evan’s new girlfriend
Motel Guests ~
  • Ruth & Billie Feldman
  • Oscar Jensen (wife Sue passed away)
  • Bill & Alice Sheehan
  • Merwin & Trudi Maples
  • Arlene Finocchia
  • Harry & Sheila Bronson
  • Louise Schmidt
  • Wilona Wilson (husband Barrett passed away)
  • Dick & Esie Dougherty – Original owners of Murmuring Surf Motel
Government Employees ~
  • Shauna Arthur – works with Joe
  • Warren Davis – Collier County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cheryl Shapiro – Assistant US Attorney
  • Alex Garcia – Special agent
  • Mallory Kennedy – Manhattan Assistant District Attorney
  • Vikki Hill – City Housing Inspector
  • Norman – prior City Housing Inspector
Lazy Daizy Diner Employees ~
  • Corinne Tapley – Waitress
  • Hailey – Waitress
  • Zoey – Waitress & Letty’s good friend
  • Arthur – Owner of diner
Extra Characters ~
  • Charles Hallowell (Skipper) – Spokesman for news & Princeton classmate of Evan’s
  • Sascha Hallowell – Skipper’s wife
  • Miles Nordan – Rents cars
  • Leslie – Letty’s first acting agent
  • Ronnie Silver – Letty’s second agent suggested by Evan
  • Angelique – Tanya’s on & off housekeeper
  • Samiya Chritesh (Sammie) – Attorney for Tanya
  • Sierra – Isabella’s friend and computer geek
  • Eleanor Triplett – owner of Sea Breeze Motel
  • Ben Dover – fictitional character

The Newcomer – A Book Review

***Spoilers Included***

Letty quickly becomes a very likable character as she stops at nothing to protect her neice, Maya.  She has decided that she needs to figure out why Tanya held on to the faded magazine story about The Murmuring Surf Motel.  There is no vacancy when she gets there but Letty is strong and resourceful and stops at nothing to be able to stay at the hide out at the motel while figuring out why this place was so important to her sister.

Soft-hearted Ava quickly succumbs to sweet Maya’s personality and finds a way to let the two stragglers stay for a while.  This does not bode well with all of the elderly guests and they make it clear they are not happy having a young child around.  Letty tries to keep their identity hidden but it becomes harder each day as they befriend each of the quirky guests.  Not to mention the oh so handsome Joe…who happens to also be a police officer.

Several people keep commenting that Letty looks so familiar to them.  They just can’t quite put their finger on it!  Should Letty move on before they figure it out?  She hates to go anywhere else at this point though as they have started forming some wonderful relationships and Maya is so happy.  However, Evan is very rich and will stop at nothing to figure out just where Letty and Maya have gone.

The characters in this novel are fun, quirky, demanding, loving, courageous, engaging and sometimes downright irritating, and I fell in love with each one.  Many people comment about this book (and this author) as being a good beach read.  I would agree with that just for the simple fact that the characters are created so well and it is a lot of fun getting to know each one.  However, I ended the book feeling a bit like something was missing.  I was looking for more of a plot twist and it never came.  In spite of this, it was a very enjoyable read and I am going to try a few more of her books.

Discussion Questions ~

  1. Was there every a question in your mind that anyone besides Evan was the murderer of Tanya?  If so, who else did you suspect?
  2. Do you think Evan really wanted custody of Maya?
  3. Who was your favorite character in this book?
  4. What are your thoughts on Letty being insistent on finding the Murmuring Surf Motel?  Was it realistic that she needed to go there?
  5. Did you expect Joe to wait so long to let Letty know that he knew who she was?
  6. Have you ever stayed in a hotel like this?  What are your thoughts of it?
  7. Which sister do you feel has the stronger personality?
  8. Were there any thoughts …at any time….that there was more to Ellie than just a loved stuffed animal?
  9. Did you believe Vikki Hill was a “good cop” at all times?
  10. What are your thoughts on the precious metal business scam?
  11. Was Tanya a good mom in your mind?
  12. Letty went back to New York and didn’t communicate with Joe for 5 months..your thoughts on this are?

I leave you with my favorite quote in this book….”Don’t ever get your honey where you get your money!”  Ha…love it!

I would love to hear your thoughts on The Newcomer.   Do you have any strong thoughts on the questions above that you would like to discuss?  Let’s talk about it in the question section below!

Are you looking for other great books?  Check out some of my other reviews below:

Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander – Book Review

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Book Review

Also, check out these fun DIY bookmarks you can make for yourself or as a gift for other avid readers in your life…. Zany DIY Photo Bookmarks to make for yourself or give as a personal gift!

Happy Reading ~



This post may contain affiliate links which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase.


  1. Lynn gill

    Thanks for such great reviews Shelly !

    • Shelly Latinovich

      Thanks for reading Lynn! I love sharing books!

  2. lindseydelossantos

    Thank you for a great way to start a book club! Now, I must create the time:)!

    • Shelly Latinovich

      You are welcome….ahh….finding time is always so hard! I hope you are able to do so!😊

  3. Tracy McHugh

    Thanks for sharing! I will have to put this on my reading list.

    • Shelly Latinovich

      Thanks for reading Tracy. Have you read any books by Mary Kay Andrews?

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