This Tampa Bay cozy mystery lets us visit all our beloved St. Petersburg haunts.
Mary Kay Andrews has real Tampa Bay ties. She set one of her earliest books — Lickety Split — in St. Petersburg, and if you go to her beach house in Georgia, you’ll find Munch’s ketchup squeeze bottles on the table.
I loved her books even before I knew any of those things, and I love her more now for it. Whenever review copies of her books show up at work, I can’t wait to get home and read them.
Sunset Beach was no different. Except that, instead of being set in any of the other amazing Southern places, Andrews set it in Sunset Beach, in Treasure Island. Of course, she threw in a one night stand, murder, and another murder.
And Sunset Beach is a pretty cool little beach. It’s the new McMansions mixed with old beach cottages, and Andrews captures the vibe of the two worlds perfectly.
Sunset Beach brings Andrews back to Tampa Bay, to the area of Treasure Island known as Sunset Beach. And while I’d love to give you all the plot, well, no. You’re gonna have to read it.
And read it you should, because Sunset Beach is Andrews in high form.
I will say this: You can revisit the Sandman Motel, the St. Petersburg Police Department, beach bars and a prominent St. Petersburg law firm if you read the book.
And, uh, it’s up to you to decide what’s real. But even if it’s totally fake — or even if it’s all real — it’s a fantastic read, and hey, who doesn’t love a beach read?
Even if there are dead bodies on the beach.
This article initially appeared in Creative Loafing