Apples Never Fall was my first Liane Moriarty — I know, I seem to enjoy doing things backward — and, man, this is the beginning of a great love! Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, The Husband’s Secret, here I come. Moriarty is the #1 most followed author on GoodReads in Australia. Seriously, someone please save me from under that rock. Apples Never Fall is half domestic suspense, half contemporary fiction, and one hundred percent addictive epicness.
The Delaneys love each other in the way families do; there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other . . . or to each other. When matriarch Joy vanishes without a trace, her (grown and more-or-less successful) children (Brooke, Amy, Hunter, and Logan) are hesitant to get the police involved. After all, what if dad Stan had something to do with his wife’s disappearance? And could the recent mysterious houseguest of the Delaneys (who is also missing) be somehow involved? Or is Savannah another victim?
“She couldn’t exactly say if Savannah had caught them on an upswing or a downswing, or if they’d finally found an equilibrium that would last them until death did them part. Sometimes it felt like their relationship ebbed and flowed over a day, or even a conversation. She could feel affection followed by resentment in the space of ten minutes.”Liane Moriarty
After a while, of course, the police get involved — people talk, especially about the Delaneys — and a fault line divides the kids’ loyalties in half. While Stan, well, he chooses not to say anything. And for someone who claims to be innocent, he sure looks guilty.
The narrative is split into now and then and switches seamlessly between the different players in the investigation … and possible murder. There’s something very cinematic about the way this mystery thriller unfolds. The way these characters fight and strive. The Delaneys, who used to own and run a prestigious tennis school, are a little famous in their community, not least for discovering an Australian tennis legend. Even if none of their own kids ever achieved Grand-Slam fame. And with fame (even the local kind) comes envy.
“There was nothing worse than having to feel sorry for people who had wronged you. You don’t want lottery wins for your enemies, but you don’t want tragedies for them either. Then they got the upper hand. Damn those Delaneys.”Liane Moriarty
The twists are delicious, the suspense wonderfully taut, and the finale a sparkling surprise I did not see coming.
What’s more to love: sharp dialogue; copious amounts of delightful family dysfunction and drama (hey, I’m all for family dysfunction as long as it’s not my own); tennis galore (this really is one for the fans); mental health rep, chronic illness rep; infertility; complex relationships; flawed characters.
Thank you to Penguin Random House South Africa for the physical review copy and Libro.fm for the ALC. I switched between reading and listening (one of my favorite things), and listening to the audiobook (narrated in a native Australian accent) really made the setting come alive! This brings me to Libro.fm — my favorite place to listen to audiobooks. Not only (but definitely also) because they support local bookstores.
Whether you pick up the physical copy, the audiobook, or both, Apples Never Fall is a mix of domestic suspense and contemporary fiction not to be missed!
Book: Apples Never Fall
Published: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: September 27th, 2021