Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette
This is great beach read, or a read when you are in need of a beach vacation. This small town may not be real, but the characters are perfect for a small town, summer peak season, everybody knows everybody type of feel. Callie is back home after being fired from a newspaper in Charlotte and her Uncle Hudson and his friends help Callie find her balance and her purpose. Callie is shocked by the death of her once friend Eva and feels the connection to Eva’s daughter (Summer) as she was the same age as Summer when Callie’s own mother died. In working through everything Callie finds that this is her home and she doesn’t want to leave again. A great book, a possible love triangle is being set up, and the ending leaves the reader excited for the second book (coming out in May 2023).
Character List/Book Summary:
Callie Padget – 38 years old, recently fired from her job at a newspaper in Charlotte. Staying with her uncle Hudson while she figures out her life. Decides to look into Eva’s death, chased and told to back off while investigating. Enjoys working part-time as a bookseller. Her mother died after falling off the lighthouse when she was young.
Eva Meeks – older sister to Georgia, who Callie was friends with in school, the face of the hardware store in town. Treasure Hunt Junkie, asked Callie to meet her at the lighthouse before she was found dead. A recent diagnosis of a terminal disease gives her family and the cops reason to think she may have jumped instead of foul play.
Toby Dodge – fired gym teacher who own a dojo in town. Almost runs over a kitten, but Callie saves it. Offers Callie free self-defense classes after she runs into his dojo when she is being chased. Collects duck decoys but doesn’t hunt. Has sworn off dating for a year after his fiancé left him.
Hudson – Callie’s uncle, took her in after Callie’s mom died. Acts as if Callie will be staying on the island before Callie realizes she will be staying. Has a panic attack while helping Callie, and spends some time in the hospital.
Antoinette Redfield – owns MotherVine, the local bookstore, gives Callie a part-time job. A good friend to Hudson. Her husband died a few years ago. Helps give Callie ideas about her investigation.
Drew Jurecki – Chief of Cattail police, does not want to consider foul play or accident in Eva’s death.
Summer – Eva’s daughter, 12 years old. Gives Callie the treasure hunt clue her mom found the day she died because no one else listened to her.
Officer Fusco – helps Callie with her reporting of Eva’s suicide and Gwen’s death. Tells Callie to call her and leave the investigating to the police.
Trish Berryman – editor in chief of the Cattail Crier, bad blood between her and Callie after Callie’s mom died. Is not nice to her husband.
Gwen Montgomery – the new lighthouse keeper, hiding her past from people, and tells Callie she thinks she messed up. Is in AA but relapsed the night of Eva’s murder. She is found dead a few days later and had a high blood alcohol content, Callie thinks this is suspicious.
Jeff Berryman – Trish’s husband, Cattail Crier photographer. His interactions with Callie are tense and Callie realizes he isn’t the same person she remembered from when she was younger.
Whitman Standish – Pearleen’s grandson, both wealthy and well-known on the island. Remembers Callie from elementary school, and think Callie knows something he is trying to keep from the public in order to protect the family furniture company. Offers Callie a lot of money to forget the name Israel.
Ronnie – one of Hudon’s friends and tells Callie what he remembers hearing about Pearleen’s father and Israel when he was younger. Tells Callie about the park that used to be where Eva’s house is now.