I love a good mystery novel, but a well written and unpredictable mystery plot is hard to find. I highly enjoyed and was incredibly impressed by Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Both the writing style and plot weren’t immature or cliche, patterns that mystery books can easily fall into.
Apples Never Fall confronts the reality of the resentment we often hold against people in our life, especially our family members. It follows four siblings (Amy, Troy, Brooke, and Logan Delaney) after their mother, Joy Delaney, mysteriously disappears. The timeline of the novel flips back and forth between when Joy went missing and during the current investigation.
As the investigation continues, what appeared to society to be a stable, content, and balanced family reveals itself to be broken: The Delaney family has been walking on eggshells with each other for years, never saying what they truly think of one another and silently blaming both themselves and their family for unfortunate events.
Stan Delaney, Joy’s husband, quickly becomes a suspect after police find out about the rocky fights Joy and Stan had.
All four of the Delaney kids feel like failures to their parents, who’d had high hopes of having a successful tennis-playing family. All of their careers eventually ended for one reason or another: Amy struggled with mental health, Logan was never super interested in tennis, Brooke got chronic migraines, and Troy was obnoxious and egotistical during tournaments.
But after a girl named Savannah with what she explains to be an incredibly difficult background and childhood shows up on Stan and Joy’s doorstep, the retired couple finally feels as if they have a “child” that loves and supports them, and that has passions and experience in life.
Savannah cooks for the couple and keeps them company.
Investigations continue to happen in the current day, and more and more is revealed about bad and suspicious habits that several suspects have: Was Stan and Joy’s marriage unstable enough to lead to her murder? Did Savannah have malicious intentions she’d been hiding? Did any of the Delaney children resent their parents enough to cause trouble? Was Joy dead or missing? Did she walk out of her own free will?
As I was reading, I never knew what was going to happen next. It was exciting, kept me on my toes, and yet remained realistic and intricate.
I felt simultaneously sympathetic towards and angry with the characters. The personalities of every key character was detailed and complicated, and I connected with them.
Overall, this novel truly captured the feelings we experience with our family and loved ones throughout our lives. Life is confusing and uncomfortable, and oftentimes mistakes and resentment we all experience and hold within us aren’t talked about.
I really enjoyed watching all the relationships characters had twist and change, and I was completely invested as the mask they’d all put over their lives began to crumble.
I would highly recommend this book not only to mystery lovers, but also to readers who love philosophical and realistic fiction novels.
I would give Apples Never Fall a 4.8/5 star rating. A hardback copy of the novel can be purchased here, or you can read the ebook version that I was able to find on OverDrive.