At the beginning of Mary Kay Andrews’ The Weekenders, we meet our protagonist, Riley Nolan Griggs, as she anxiously awaits her husband’s arrival to the ferry that will take them, along with their 12 year old (recently diagnosed with diabetes) daughter Maggie, to their summer home on Belle Island. The adorable little island located off of the North Carolina coast has been in Riley’s family for generations. Her family not only owns most of the land on the island, but have been the key developers. Unfortunately, Riley’s husband never makes it to the ferry and the responsibility of explaining their impending divorce falls entirely on Riley’s shoulders. Before she even has the opportunity to tell her daughter, she’s served what she believes to be divorce papers. It turns out that her husband, (with perhaps one of the worst names ever in chick-lit) Wendell, has been keeping several secrets. Including tapping out the millions in Riley’s trust fund and letting their island home go into foreclosure.
Before Riley can even begin to grasp Wendell’s lies, his body is fished out of the ocean near her beloved Belle Island. Riley and Maggie, now homeless, return to her childhood (summer) home and bunk down with her mother, who refuses to believe Wendell would ever go over the speed limit, let alone scam and blackmail the Nolan’s out of millions. Her mother’s complete devotion to Wendell is better understood when it comes out that not only did Wendell take millions from Riley’s brother, her brother’s husband, and Riley, but Riley’s mother was also a victim. Riley’s mother simply is too afraid to believe the truth. With Wendell not around to answer any questions, Riley starts her own investigation. One she hopes will not only explain where the money went, but also unmask Wendell’s murderer.
Along the way, Riley deals with daughter (perhaps the most privileged 12 year-old to exist in fiction), finds new love (a little to quickly for anyone’s comfort, including this reader), deals with local police, along with the FBI, and exposes her husband’s mistress. Riley works to rebuild her shattered life into one that excites her, one she’s proud of, all while trying to find the truths buried under so many lies.
The Weekenders has a few holes in the plot and isn’t entirely believable, but it’s incredibly fun! You won’t want to put it down. If you’re like me, you might stay up entirely too late just to finish it! I felt the C-plot involving Riley’s brother was unneeded and read almost as an afterthought. It was impossible to feel any sympathy for Riley’s daughter Maggie, especially as she attempts to hurt not only Riley and those around her, but herself. I did enjoy rooting for Riley and liked seeing her stumble a little along the way. What makes her leave her hard-won job is hilarious! It made her character believable. I also didn’t guess the murderer correctly! I was way off and the killer was a complete surprise. The beach setting makes The Weekenders the perfect summer read and I highly recommend picking up a copy (available today) for your pool bag.