The Final Play by Shelly Ellis

The Final Play is a gritty urban novel from author, Shelly Ellis. This is the third and final book in the Branch Avenue Boys series and continues the stories of three men who met as boys and maintained close friendships well into adulthood. The novel is told from the alternating viewpoints of each man but is easy to follow due to appropriately named chapter headers.

Derrick, Ricky and Jamal met as boys at the Branch Avenue Boys Institute, where they had each been sent for delinquent behavior. They formed strong bonds with each other as a means of survival. Life and it’s trials and tribulations weakened those bonds. Relationships have been broken. Can these friends survive the challenges and dangers resulting from the decisions they’ve made and restore the bonds they once had?

Derrick is still the director of the Boys Institute but fears for himself, his staff and the boys he’s responsible for. Local thug Dolla Dolla is threatening all that Derrick holds near and dear to his heart. He must make a decision that will cost him dearly no matter which way he decides.

Jamal knows he made some terrible decisions as Deputy Mayor and is determined to right his wrongs, not realizing the real danger he’s placing himself in.

Ricky’s girlfriend is pregnant and they’re running for their lives. Ricky vows that no harm will come to his woman or his child, no matter what he has to do to protect them. He’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his new family.

Ms. Ellis continues the trend in this series and delivers another excellent read. These are the characters I’ve grown to love throughout the series. The plot is compelling. Drama and intrigue are still an integral part of the story. As with the first two books in the series, my attention was held from start to finish. The Final Play is the perfect finale to the series. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to all lovers of urban fiction.

My thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

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