Ellery Adams’s eighth and final book in her Books by the Bay series, Killer Characters, is a powerful conclusion to the series. Laurel, one of the Bayside Book Writers where Olivia Limoges has found a family, is dealing with the impending death of her mother-in-law and leans on Olivia for help. While at Laurel’s parents-in-law’s house, Olivia overhears a conversation that makes her suspect that Steve, Laurel’s husband, may be cheating on Laurel with the palliative care nurse. After much soul-searching and discussion with her husband, police chief Sawyer Rawlings, Olivia tells Laurel about this conversation, so Laurel goes to confront Steve, catching him in the act. With the final words of “I want to see you fry,” Laurel storms off. The next day, Rawlings has to tell Olivia that Stacy, Steve’s mistress, has been found in a car that exploded and Laurel has been arrested.
This case leads to a division of the Bayside Book Writers, since both Rawlings and Harris work for the police department and can’t investigate openly on Laurel’s behalf, so Olivia and Millay have to do their work without the others. But the problem is that Laurel, who had been seen to confront Stacy in anger, has no recollection of the day. Put in the hospital for PTSD, Laurel eventually gets released for lack of evidence, but she still faces suspicion among the community. So her friends work hard to clear her name.
I have loved every book Ellery Adams has written, and she doesn’t disappoint in the power of her writing. I listened to all nine Anna a half hours of this audiobook in one stretch because it drew me in so much. Besides having a great mystery plot, this book draws its characters so well. But what I really love is the way the characters develop over the course of the series. Olivia goes from a lonely, miserable recluse in the first book to a woman with a loving husband, close friends, and the endearment of the community. She has developed strong resilience. The Bayside Book Writers have really grown in their personal characters and their relationships with each other over the course of the books.
Karen White performs the audio edition of the book and really brings this book to life. With such excellent material to work with, White just adds to the strength of the book. I’m so glad that they have such a strong reader for this series, making it all the more powerful. She gives great voices for the characters and is expressive without being overly dramatic.
I was highly impressed and stirred by this incredible conclusion to one of the best mystery series in existence. Killer Characters has the same power as the best of the other books in this series and deserves all the accolades it will receive. I give it five bright shining stars!
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