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The Resource A killing in the hills, Julia Keller

A killing in the hills, Julia Keller

Label
A killing in the hills
Title
A killing in the hills
Statement of responsibility
Julia Keller
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In this novel a mother and a daughter try to do right by a town and each other before it is too late. What is 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, West Virginia. 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?
Member of
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ The shooting of three old men having coffee in a diner on a Saturday morning rattles the people of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, “a shabby afterthought of a town” in the Appalachians. Next on the hired shooter’s list is county prosecutor Belfa (Bell) Elkins, whose return to poverty-plagued Acker's Gap after a dreadful childhood led to her divorce. Even with a killer on the loose and an important case to handle—a mentally challenged adult charged with unintentionally killing his six-year-old playmate—Bell remains dogged in her war against the drugs that she sees as the single biggest threat to the future of the state. As Bell’s rebellious 17-year-old daughter, Carla, who witnessed the shootings, tries to identify the man responsible, she puts herself and her mother in deadly peril. Chicago Tribune Pulitzer-winning journalist Keller has fashioned a debut mystery with an impeccably paced plot, supple prose, and indelibly drawn characters, foremost among them Bell and her family; Bell’s best friend and childhood savior, Sheriff Nick Fogelsong; and her friends Ruthie and Tom Cox. A page-turner with substance and depth, this is as suspenseful and entertaining as it is accomplished. -- Leber, Michele (Reviewed 07-01-2012) (Booklist, vol 108, number 21, p29)
  • /* Starred Review */ At the start of Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Keller's outstanding first novel, 17-year-old Carla Elkins is waiting for her divorced mother, Bell Elkins, Raythune County's prosecuting attorney, at the Salty Dawg, a chain restaurant in Acker's Gap, W.Va., when three old men are shot dead at a nearby table. Carla catches only a glimpse of the killer at the Salty Dawg's entrance before he flees. Bell, who's been crusading with the local sheriff against the growing illegal traffic in prescription drugs and the violence it spawns, investigates the triple slaying, as does rebellious Carla. Meanwhile, the drug boss orders the assassin to kill the meddling prosecutor. Keller does a superb job showing both the natural beauty of Appalachia and the hopeless anger of the people trapped there in poverty. Some characters turn out to be better than they appear, some much worse, but the ensemble cast is unforgettable. So is this novel. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed June 11, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 24, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ The shocking opening of Keller's debut—the point-blank fatal shooting of three old men at a fast-food joint in rural West Virginia—will jerk unsuspecting readers out of their complacency. Carla, the adolescent daughter of the county's lead prosecutor, Belfa "Bell" Elkins, witnesses the shooting, but with the logic of a teenager, she doesn't tell anyone what she knows. Bell, an intensely driven loner, senses that this killing ties in with the wave of drug crimes threatening to overwhelm her county. She must also wrestle with another troubling case involving a developmentally disabled young man accused of murdering his friend. While Bell tears all over the county questioning people, Carla's lies of omission come to haunt her. VERDICT Keller's vividly described characters and shifting points of view make this debut novel especially realistic. Occasionally, a plot thread peters out (e.g., where did all the reporters go?), but the story is so engrossing that pages just fly by. Keller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, neatly straddles the line between moralizing and storytelling with this superbly detailed and suspense-drenched mystery. Share with Linda Fairstein, Meg Gardiner, and Lisa Gardner fans. --Teresa L. Jacobsen (Reviewed August 1, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 13, p57)
  • /* Starred Review */ A tough prosecutor who's trying to make a difference in the lives of West Virginians suddenly finds her own life in shambles. Whatever plans Bell Elkins made for herself as a child growing up near the town of Acker's Gap ended when her older sister killed their father. From that point on, Bell was brought up in various foster homes. After intelligence and determination got her through law school, she and her husband, fellow attorney Sam Elkins, found high-paying jobs in Washington until Bell, tired of their shallow lifestyle, returned with their daughter Carla to West Virginia. When Carla, who's changed from a delightful little girl to a sulky teen, witnesses the murder of three old men at a local fast-food joint, her love-hate relationship with Bell becomes worse, especially since she recognizes the killer as someone she saw at an alcohol- and drug-laced party she can't mention to her mother. Bell and her longtime friend Sheriff Nick Fogelsong have been fighting a losing battle against the drug kingpin whose dealers are feasting on the misery of the poor and often desperate population. So it's only natural that they suspect these killings are drug-related. In addition, Bell has to decide if she wants to prosecute a mentally challenged young man accused of killing a child he often played with. Even with her own life in danger, Bell won't back down. A fictional debut for a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, born and raised in West Virginia, whose love for the state, filled with natural beauty and deep poverty, pervades a mystery that has plenty of twists and turns and a shocking conclusion.(Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10126133
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Keller, Julia
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Bell Elkins mysteries
Series volume
1]
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Older men
  • Murder
  • Witnesses
  • Teenage girls
  • Mothers and daughters
  • West Virginia
Label
A killing in the hills, Julia Keller
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
884148
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9781250003485
Lccn
2012016583
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250003485
  • (OCoLC)777662625
Label
A killing in the hills, Julia Keller
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
884148
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9781250003485
Lccn
2012016583
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250003485
  • (OCoLC)777662625

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
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      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • Spicewood Springs BranchBorrow it
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      30.4337083 -97.7730809
    • Yarborough BranchBorrow it
      2200 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX, 78756, US
      30.3234684 -97.74072129999999
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