By: Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 5/17/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Some people come only for the weekends-and it's something they look forward to all week long. When Riley Griggs is waiting for her husband to arrive at the ferry one Friday afternoon, she is instead served with papers informing her that her island home is being foreclosed.
To make matters worse, her husband is nowhere to be found. She turns to her island friends for help and support, but each of them has their own secrets and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens. Cocktail parties and crab boil aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Head to the North Carolina coast, with Mary Kay Andrews, this spring and summer for a southern mystery, and witty chick lit beach read, THE WEEKENDERS. Combining Mary Kay’s witty style, and Kathy Hogan Trocheck’s (Callahan Garrity Series) mystery, intrigue, and suspense, for an unforgettable journey into the secrets of Belle Island. Best Beach Cover of 2016! Riley and Wendell Griggs’ marriage is on the rocks. It is Memorial Weekend, and the tradition was kicking off the season on the island on the North Carolina coast, where Riley’s family had summered for the past hundred years. They had met in college and then Wendell became part of her dad’s booming real estate business. He was the son he had always wanted. Wendell was more about the grand gestures, money--more than his time. He had changed in the last two years. She had known divorce was coming and was prepared to discuss it during this summer vacation. Riley Nolan Griggs, a former reporter for the local CBS affiliate in Raleigh—she currently was not happy with her husband, and once again he was not on the ferry. Of course the nosy busybody, Andrea Payne, Lily Pulitzer Barbie of Belle Island was on the ferry, bragging about her new Sub-Zero. Maggie her near teen age daughter (almost thirteen) would be disappointed if her father did not show. On the ferry, Carolina Queen —she spots her old boyfriend, Nate Milas, taking her back to the horrible night in 1992—which ended their relationship. His parents own the ferry and the local eatery in town. Nate (hot, then and now), is now a mega-millionaire, having developed a real estate app—she just discovered he and partners had been recently featured in Fortune. He could buy and sell the ferry or the entire Belle Isle, she was told by her friends. His father recently died, so possibly he is there to help out his mom. A real life tycoon. Of course, when she was dating him, her mother was not pleased, since he was hired help and not of wealth. When her hubby doesn’t show —she catches a ride with her friends, Parrish and Ed (attorney) and her baby gay brother, Billy Nolan--irresponsible, drank too much, and a wildly talented unmotivated jazz pianist who worked only when it suited him, with a trust fund. His partner, Scott was a much in demand restaurant designer whose work took him around the world, meeting up later. Upon arrival to their beautiful summer home, something is wrong. A foreclosure notice. Everything was locked up tight. Riley thought of herself as a strong, competent, modern woman. A hard-hitting former journalist. She had faced down cops, politicians, crooks, Hollywood publicists, even deranged fans; but tonight she did not know if she had it in her to deal with her mother and face what her husband had done. Now, she has no other choice but to stay with her mother, Evelyn. Where was Wendell? He was not answering his texts. Wendell was Belle Isle Enterprises, and had taken over the real estate business from his father in law. Soon everyone will know Wendell Griggs who managed to take a thriving family business, and in the space of two short years, driving it to bankruptcy, she soon discovers. From the stalled hotel project, his home, and all the innocent people, family, friends, who had invested in this project. Riley was blindsided. A real estate Ponzi scheme. Bank fraud. Soon the news comes. Wendell is dead. Murdered. Does it have to do with all his enemies, the people who lost all their money, investing in his schemes? They have no money, no home. Everything is lost. Plus what will happen to the island and all its plans? Now, Riley has to figure out a way to support herself and her daughter. Her days of TV may be over, since she is over the hill in TV media world. Soon she plays sleuth detective, with her friend Parrish and discovers he was having an affair. More fraud, and misdeeds--what was her husband capable of? Bank accounts cleaned out. Did she even know him?
Their primary home was in Raleigh and their house has sold, and the Sand Dollar Lane home was their second home. Now what? She feels betrayed and stupid. How could an intelligent woman, be sucked into this nightmare? She has to deal with the people on the island, lost investments, her mother, and unhappy daughter, and an investigation into her husband’s murder. There are a number of suspects, including her own family members.
In addition, there is something between she and Nate--tension.. He may be left to clean up Wendell’s mess. Some romance?
From a hurricane, and life’s messy storms-- secrets, lies, betrayal, and second chances. From memories—good and bad—Riley soon learns her past and present does not define her future. She would find the courage to move on—Reinvention; as well as some of the other characters.
For fans of MKA's older books (which I loved), this one will take you back to an island summer escape filled with drama and wit. I love bringing back a mix of contemporary women’s fiction, chick-lit, domestic, mystery, romance, and suspense—a nice combo.
About the Author
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 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.
A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her “real” name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.
A native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.
As a lifelong “junker” the author claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the Southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio.
She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia’s Harriet Austin Writer’s Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s Workshop and the Antioch Writer’s Workshop.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she has two adult children and two grandchildren. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta. She also owns two restored beach cottages on Tybee Island, GA, both of which are named for locations in her novels.