Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250003482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003485

Book Description

In this powerful, intricate debut from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller, a mother and a daughter try to do right by a town and each other before it's too late.

What's happening in Acker's Gap, West Virginia? Three elderly men are gunned down over their coffee at a local diner, and seemingly half the town is there to witness the act. Still, it happened so fast, and no one seems to have gotten a good look at the shooter.  Was it random? Was it connected to the spate of drug violence plaguing poor areas of the country just like Acker's Gap? Or were Dean Streeter, Shorty McClurg, and Lee Rader targeted somehow?
One of the witnesses to the brutal incident was Carla Elkins, teenaged daughter of Bell Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, WV. Carla was shocked and horrified by what she saw, but after a few days, she begins to recover enough to believe that she might be uniquely placed to help her mother do her job.

After all, what better way to repair their fragile, damaged relationship? But could Carla also end up doing more harm than good—in fact, putting her own life in danger?

About the Author

 JULIA KELLER was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Chicago and Ohio.  In her career as a journalist, she won the Pulitzer Prize for a three-part series she wrote for the Chicago Tribune about a small town in Illinois rocked by a deadly tornado. A Killing in the Hills is her first mystery.

My Review

 What a powerful first novel. Julia Keller paints a vivid picture of contemporary West Virginia in this well written mystery thriller, A Killing in the Hills.

Have your ever been to West Virginia...I have and it is gorgeous.  One of the most beautiful motorcycle roads we have ever rode is Highway 50 through that state.  I did see a lot of closed down businesses and homes in disrepair.  And the cost of goods in stores were incredibly low priced.  I loved that I kept seeing the word Hollow on road signs!  A Killing in the Hills is set in a mountain town where times are not good economically and a lot of the population has turned to prescription drugs in their despair.

The novel focuses on the main character Bell Elkins and the people close to her... Bell and her daughter Carla, her sister Shirley, Carla's father, the Sheriff who has been their for her since her father died and her best friends.  Each of these people play a role in this story as well as in Bell's life.  And what a story it is.  It is a story of modern day America and a story about a beautiful place full of broken people with lost dreams.  But most of all it is a mystery that plays out throughout the novel into a surprising conclusion. 

You'll love these characters and the writing style of Julia Keller.  A Killing in the Hills is a must read mystery is available in August.

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