Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

‘Four green apples lay scattered on the dry grass …’

Meet the Delaneys. Joy and Stan, former tennis coaches, are still winning tennis tournaments. They have sold the family business and are learning (or trying to) to live as retirees. They have four adult children: Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke, each a former tennis player and each busy with their own lives. Joy hopes, one day, to have grandchildren.

One night last year, Joy and Stan hear a knock at the door. A young woman stands there. Her name is Savannah, and she is bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. Joy and Stan take her into their home. Joy thinks that she should recognise Savannah and worries that her memory is failing. Savannah stays with Joy and Stan for a while, but then moves on.

And then Joy goes missing. No one knows where she is, a weird text message is sent to her children, then later her mobile ‘phone is found under the bed. What has happened to Joy?

The police are involved and on the face of it, Stan looks guilty. He claims to be innocent but is clearly hiding something. And the Delaney children, each dealing with issues of their own are split over whether Stan might be innocent. The Delaneys had a fight just before Joy went missing.

As the story moves between the past, when Savannah was in their lives and the present where Joy is missing, we see the best and worst of the Delaney siblings. And what is the story with Savannah?

While I enjoyed this novel (and loved the neat ending) I found the story moved a bit too slowly at times.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Pan MacMillan Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith