The Delaneys are the ultimate tennis family. Joy and Stan were former top junior players who never made it in the highly competitive professional arena. But they turned their love of the sport, and each other, into their livelihood opening a successful tennis academy coaching the stars of the future. Once the couple had children, all four were groomed for success on the court. With the children now grown, Joy and Stan sold the business and looked ahead to their retirement, still continuing to play doubles together. This engaging mystery thriller, set in Sydney, Australia, opens as their four children - Brooke, Troy, Logan and Amy meet to discuss their concern over the recent disappearance of their mother. The police are soon called in as concerns mount and persons of interest are identified. The story volleys between the present and past as the pieces of the puzzle are skillfully laid out.
We learn about a former student of Stan’s, word-champion Harry Haddad, who is staging a comeback and is about to publish his memoir. Stan has never recovered from being replaced as the young prodigy’s coach just before he hit the big time. We also learn how desperate Joy is to become a grandmother. While she believes she is close to her children, she has little knowledge of the true state of their lives and relationships. Moriarty’s excellent storytelling provides full details on each of the lives of the four children. When a mysterious young woman arrives injured on Stan and Joy’s doorstep, Joy brings Savannah, who claims to be the victim of abuse, into their home. While the rest of the family questions the woman’s motives, Joy soon treats Savannah as a fifth child, moving her into Amy’s old room.
So what happened to Joy? And if she has been harmed or worse, who is at fault? The scratches on Stan’s face put him high on the suspect list.
Author Liane Moriarty has served up another ace with Apples Never Fall. While not my favorite of her many popular books, it did what a good thriller is supposed to do – held me in suspense, kept me guessing and surprised me in the end. Being a tennis player, it was a very good match.
Apologies for the tennis puns. Also note that there are many references to apples in the book. I’ll let you discover those on your own.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Contemporary Fiction / Mystery Thriller.
Publication Date: September 14, 2021.
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