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A debut novel in the vein of Liane Moriarty and Tom Perrotta, about dark secrets brought to life after the mysterious death of a handsome and charismatic trainer to the elite women in Santa Monica.
On the western edge of Los Angeles is the gorgeous beachside city of Santa Monica, where the sun-kissed, wealthy residents seem to inhabit real-life California dreams. When movie-star-handsome heartthrob fitness coach Zack Doheny, is found dead on the floor of his gym, the tragedy shocks the elite community, especially those who’d spent many hours each week exercising with the charismatic trainer.
As the narrative flashes back to the months leading up to Zack’s death, it quickly becomes clear that things in this coastal paradise are not as glittering as they seem. Lettie – Zack’s secret half-sister and an undocumented housekeeper for the toned, entitled women of Santa Monica – holds her brother responsible for a horrific family accident, and desperately needs his money to prevent her deportation. Regina, type-A exercise addict and entrepreneur, will do anything to get out of debt and to claim Zack for herself. And Mel – a New York City transplant who finds herself forty pounds heavier and far more cynical than the lithe women of Santa Monica – discovers an electric attraction to Zack that threatens to disrupt his bond with Regina and upend Mel’s own marriage. As these residents of Santa Monica begin to crack under the stress of their secrets, one question hangs above it all: what really happened to Zack Doheny?
As addictively suspenseful as it is sharply observed, hilarious, and compassionate, Santa Monica is the rare novel that captures readers with propulsive storytelling alongside emotional urgency, irresistible characters, ambitious themes, and a vivid sense of place.