Skip to main content

Rock Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce #TheNewcomerParty #FoodieReads

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of author Mary Kay Andrews and publisher St. Martin's Press. I received a complimentary book for the purpose of review, but all opinions are honest and they are my own. No additional compensation for this post was provided; this page may contain affiliate links.

This week I am thrilled to be taking part in a virtual book release party for The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews* hosted by The Book Club Cookbook. I received an advance copy to enjoy and be inspired into the kitchen to create a dish.

You can see the party page! You may also search for the hashtag #TheNewcomerParty on social media to find the posts. But to make it easy, I'm also linking to my fellow bloggers; I will add their direct posts once everyone is live. Please take a look... 

#TheNewcomerParty Platter

I had no experience with the author and, so, didn't know what to expect from The Newcomer. Turns out this book is a quirky murder mystery and romance all rolled into a beach read set in a seaside motel in Florida. Yes, it's a lot to take in...and it clocks in at just under four  hundred and fifty pages. But it's a  surprisingly quick read.

We meet Letty Carnahan who is on the run with her four-year-old niece in tow. They land at The Murmuring Surf Motel where owner Ava takes the duo under her wing. She gives them a place to stay and a job at her seasonal haven for a motley crew of snowbirds. The Surf wasn't an accidental destination; Letty purposefully traveled there because of a tattered magazine ad and a ridiculous amount of cash in her sister's 'go bag.' She just doesn't know the connection between the money, the motel, and her sister's murder.

Here's a passage about the setting of the book. "There was a row of lounge chairs facing the water, and just beyond were the sparkling turquoise  waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Vicki Hill gasped. She'd been to the beach, lots of times, mostly the Jersey Shore back home. But this was different. She left her shoes on the grass and walked out onto the sugary white sand, letting her toes sink in. The water was like a magnet. She drew closer, stopping to study the waves lapping at the shore. Huh. She ventured closer, bracing herself for the shock of cold, but the water was surprisingly warm. She wiggled her toes, and something beneath them wiggled back. She stooped down to see that there were millions of tiny multicolored clamlike seashells strewn along the waterline. She smiled  despite herself" (pg. 198).

As the story unfolds we learn that Letty discovered her sister in an upscale New York apartment not long after Tanya makes Letty promise that if anything happened to her, Letty would take Maya and hide. Letty has no doubts that Maya's father, Evan, is responsible for her sister's death. As Letty unravels the story behind the money, so do we!

Add to this Ava's son, policeman and part-time motel handyman, Joe; a visiting FBI agent from  New York; and a laundry list of hilarious, eccentric characters living at The Surf. Now you have yourself an entertaining read. It's not your typical beach read because there are some dark moments. But it unfolds to be entertaining and heart-warming.

On the Plate

There was quite a bit of food mentioned in this novel though it did usually involve motel buffets or juice boxes!

"Ava bustled around the food tables in the rec room, bringing in foil chafing dishes of pigs in blankets, potato salad, and chicken wings. There were bowls of chips and pretzels and a supermarket fruit and cheese platter. The centerpiece was an enormous platter of cookies" (pg. 150). Don't get me wrong: I love pigs in a blanket and chicken wings, but I wanted something new-to-me or, at least, new-to-the blog.

There was a dinner at a local Italian restaurant when Joe dines with Vicki that was more to my palate. He asks about the evening's special. "'Baked snapper. Just came off the boat this afternoon. Sautéed zucchini and tomatoes, and gnocchi? Sound good?' 'Perfect. And a glass of the Barolo I like in the meantime, okay?'" (pg. 245).

But the passage that really got my culinary wheels spinning was the solo lunch that Letty enjoys on her way to get new chaise lounges for motel's pool area. "Letty sat under an umbrella on the patio of a French bistro just up the beach road from the Murmuring Surf, and after her lunch arrive - steamed stone crabs with a tangy mustard sauce and crisp green salad - she sat very still for a moment, feeling alternate waves of guilt and giddiness" (pg. 190).

And it just so happened that our CSF (community-supported fishery) had a flash sale that included rock crabs. 

Now I know that rock crabs and stone crabs are not exactly the same, but I figured it could work...and these are local to me. Best yet: the rock crabs were already cooked. All I needed to do was make a mustard sauce.

Ingredients makes approximately 1-1/2 cups sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 cup mustard (I used a Dijon mustard)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste


In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined. To serve, spoon the sauce into a small serving bowl and serve with the crab claws on ice.

Many Thanks...
To the Publisher, St. Martin's Press, on Twitter
To Mary Kay Andrews on the Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram
To the Book Club Cookbook on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Pinterest

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

I have also added this to #FoodieReads.
Click to see what everyone else read in May 2021: here.


  1. How did I miss this? Loving the recipe you were inspired to make. I finally have some books boxed and ready to mail out to you.

    1. I have a box of books for you, too. I'll drop this one in there.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

#comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa

Learning About Chablis, A Compelling Label, and Gougères #PureChablis #Winophiles #Sponsored

  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of  Chablis Wines   in conjunction with the  May 2021 Chablis  #Winophiles  event.  Complimentary wine was provided for this post  though no other compensation was received.  This page may contain affiliate links. Jill of L'Occasion is hosting the French Winophiles this month and we are turning our eyes towards the wines of Chablis. And Chablis Wines* graciously sponsored the event, sending sample to several members of our group. I will be sharing pairing for all of these soon. But I received my package at the final hour and only had time to explore one bottle so far. If you are reading this early enough, join in the live Twitter chat on Saturday, May 15th at 8am Pacific. Just follow the hashtags #Winophiles and #PureChablis. And be sure to add those to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's what the #Winophiles crew is sharing about all things Chablis... Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairing gives us All Things #PureCh