Saturday, August 20, 2016

Review: Sorrow Road (Bell Elkins #5) by Julia Keller

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1234 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Aug. 23 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

From the small towns of Appalachia they came, the young men who joined the fight for liberty in World War II. Now they are elderly, and some of them―like Harmon Strayer, father of prosecutor Bell Elkins's former law school classmate―suffer from Alzheimer's. When Harmon dies in an Alzheimer's care facility from what appear to be natural causes, Bell confronts a mystery that brims with questions about memory, grief and the lethal cost of burying the past. During a winter of record snow and cold, Bell and the people of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, face isolation and hardship―and the threat from a killer who preys upon the old and the sick and the helpless.

"A beautifully crafted mystery in which Keller explores love, hate, and poverty in a place of stunning natural beauty."―Kirkus (starred) on Last Ragged Breath

"What particularly distinguishes Julia Keller's series about Bell Elkins, a West Virginia prosecutor, is its sense of social conscience...powerfully affecting."―USA Today on Summer of the Dead

"Keller crafts a cracking whodunnit with many a red herring, but her real accomplishment is the unflinching depiction of rural poverty and the ways the inhabitants of Acker's Gap hold on to their dignity despite few and terrible options."― on Summer of the Dead

About the Author

Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She graduated from Marshall University, then later earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University.

She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities, and the University of Notre Dame. She is a guest essayist on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and has been a contributor on CNN and NBC Nightly News. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Julia lives in a high-rise in Chicago and a stone cottage on a lake in rural Ohio. 

My Review

Sorrow Road is the fifth book in the Bell Elkins series by author Julia Keller. This series has been an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. It has opened up my mind to the experiences in rural Appalachia. The devastation brought about by the closing of the mines, the extensive job losses, the despair, and the drugs that have infiltrated the area. Through the eyes and experiences of prosecutor Bell Elkins the reader is drawn into the reality of present day Appalachia.

Bell Elkins is asked to help an old friend find out if her elderly father with Alzheimer's was murdered in his care home. When the old friend is killed shortly after talking to Bell, she begins to wonder if her friend's father was murdered. While Bell is exploring this, two more murders occur. Why are people who lived at or were associated to the care home dying? And why has Carla really come home?

Bell has plenty to occupy her time in Sorrow Road between court cases, a lot of snow, Carla being home and helping her old friend. Sorrow Road explores why some people stay in a place that is enmeshed in poverty and heartbreak. And why some go. Sorrow Road is also the story about parent's love for their children: Bell's for Carla and Harmon for his daughter. And it is a story about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how it affects all types of victims. As always, a tale filled with contemporary issues. Well written and plotted. Thoroughly and immensely enjoyable to read!

Highly recommend Sorrow Road. The entire series is brilliant.

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