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Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder

Kerryn Mayne pens a strong and memorable debut novel

This well-written and touching debut novel snuck up on me. I went in blind, and this story was not what I expected from the title, etc, but I also couldn't stop reading/listening.

School teacher Lenny Marks follows a very strict routine. Her companion is the TV show Friends, and she has an ongoing Scrabble game with her imaginary friend, Monica Geller. Lenny does not remember everything that happened on the day her mother and stepfather abandoned her as a child, but a letter from the parole board makes memories from childhood come back.

I was very invested in Lenny's story. The plot unfolds in an intriguing way but I won't say much to avoid spoilers.

Lenny is neurodivergent, socially awkward, quirky, and endearing. A well-developed character who had me rooting hard for her. She has endured significant trauma, and her mind blocked it out almost entirely as a coping mechanism. There are events to sort out, but the heart of the story is Lenny's healing journey and her path to forming relationships and allowing others in her life. Despite her struggles, Lenny's courage and strength grow as her memories of traumatic and heartbreaking past events return. This was a departure for me from my typical reads and I am so glad I took a chance on it. It was emotional, gripping, and thought-provoking. Lenny stayed with me long after I finished, and I look forward to whatever Mayne writes next.

Annie Maynard's narration of the audiobook was a standout. Her performance brought Lenny to life, capturing the character's quirks and the story's emotions. I alternated between reading and listening to this but ended up listening more toward the end, as Maynard's lovely Australian accent made the listening experience feel truly immersive.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Audio for the free book and audiobook!

Pub Day: July 9, 2024

352 pages

Audiobook 9 hours 41 minutes

My steep was Qilan (rare orchid) from The Cultured Cup

A hand plucked and lightly roasted oolong


Lenny Marks is excellent at not having a life.

She bikes home from work at exactly 4pm each day, buys the same groceries for the same meals every week, and owns thirty-six copies of The Hobbit (currently arranged by height). The closest thing she has to a friendship is playing Scrabble against an imaginary Monica Gellar while watching Friends reruns.

And Lenny Marks is very, very good at not remembering what happened the day her mother and stepfather disappeared when she was still a child. The day a voice in the back of her mind started whispering, You did this.

Until a letter from the parole board arrives in the mail--and when her desperate attempts to ignore it fail, Lenny starts to unravel. As long-buried memories come to the surface, Lenny's careful routines fall apart. For the first time, she finds herself forced to connect with the community around her, and unexpected new relationships begin to bloom. Lenny Marks may finally get a life–but what if her past catches up to her first?

Equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming, Kerryn Mayne's stunning debut is an irresistible novel about truth, secrets, vengeance, and family lost and found, with a heroine who's simply unforgettable.

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