5 star rating
Summer Of The Dead
Bell Elkins, Book #3
By Julia Keller
ISBN# 9781466843189
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jerjen

summer-of-the-dead-bell-elkins-julia-kellerBell Elkins is a county prosecutor for Acker’s Gap, West Virginia.  She has her hands full with the investigation of an elderly man murdered in his driveway.  She cannot understand why anyone would have a reason to kill him.  She is also dealing with her sister’s return from prison.  Shirley, her sister, has been in prison for thirty years for the murder of her and Bell’s abusive father.  When Shirley returns to live with Bell, there is a lot of friction because Shirley is acting wild and disrespectful to Bell.  She is living a dangerous life and Bell is both worried about her sister and angry  about her sister’s behavior.  But Bell also feels guilty that Shirley’s life took the turn that it did because she was protecting Bell from an abusive father.  Bell was able to live the life she has and become the person she is through her sister’s ultimate sacrifice.

There are many different characters that we read about.  There is Bell, there is Shirley, and there is Sheriff Fogelsong, who is also a friend to Bell.  There is also Lindy Crabtree, who lives in the town and loves books and science above all else.  And there is Lindy’s father, who is a ex- coalminer who is suffering from dementia.  He lives in the basement, living under tables and amongst limbs and rocks and coal that Lindy has put down there for him.  He rarely leaves the basement and never leaves the house.  Or so Lindy thought.

Bell Elkins is the character that is the most portrayed and developed. It is her story we learn, her emotions we read about and her hopes and fears we feel.  We learn about her determination, her frustrations, her guilt and her loyalty.  She is definitely someone you would want to be friends with and you would definitely want to have in your corner.  The other characters in the book are also well developed and well rounded.  The interactions between the characters are very realistic and add so much to the story.

The author is very descriptive in her writing style.  So much so that I feel at times it was a little too much.  I feel like it made the book a longer read then it needed to be.  I found myself sometimes skimming through paragraphs to get back to the action.  To me this was a distraction from the plot and the flow of the story.  Other readers may find the descriptive writing of most details in the book a positive aspect of the book.

Where I did like the descriptive writing was the details about the people living in a West Virginia coal mining town.  It showed the desperation of these people who no longer have the mines for their economic growth.  It also shows the pride these people have and how hard working they are.  This desperation and pride where displayed throughout the entire book and I thought this was a great addition to the story.  Another area where the description was a plus was when the murders were being described.  I felt like I was right there watching the activities happening around me and seeing the aftermath of the killings.

There are a few murders taking place throughout the book and the mystery and suspense are carried out from the beginning to the end of the book.  There are so many twists and turns thrown in that I found it impossible to determine the killer.  I love when I cannot figure out the mystery, when I think I have it all figured out and then I find out I am totally wrong.   That to me is a good mystery/suspense read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a twisting, turning mystery that is full of suspense.  This is the third book in the series and it is the first book that I have read.  I feel that it was a stand-alone book and I don’t feel that it was a problem not having read the first two.  But i do plan on reading the other two at some point.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*