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A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller
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A Killing in the Hills (edition 2012)

by Julia Keller

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2582244,311 (3.56)25
Member:jonesli
Title:A Killing in the Hills
Authors:Julia Keller
Info:Minotaur Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:2013 Challenge, Borrowed from Library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2013 Category Challenge, Some Like It Hot, Finished January 2013

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A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
The old men met for coffee at a local restaurant every Saturday morning. One of those mornings was fatal. Three well placed gunshots rang out and the three old men were dead in the small town of Acker's Gap, West Virginia. The prosecuting attorney finds that these men's deaths have something in common with her. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
I read this book because I really enjoy this author's writing style. The story had many layers to it. I cheered when Carla was saved by her mom. The story had many emotions in it, so it fit right in with my roller coaster week. I will be waiting for the next great work written by this author because I have read the whole "Bell" series. ( )
  BrendaKlaassen | Apr 18, 2016 |
A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller is a debut novel due to be released this month. This fast paced mystery is set in the fictional Acker's Gap, West Virginia. The novel opens when Carla, the teenage daughter of county prosecutor Belfa (Bell) Elkins, witnesses three old men gunned down at a local fast food joint. While Bell is following the case along with Nick, the local sheriff, she is also concerned about how Carla's reaction to witnessing the murders is going to influence her ongoing rebelliousness. Bell already has her hands full investigating another case. Additionally, the overwhelming poverty of the area has resulted in an increase in crime and there is the growing menace of an illegal drug ring.

This is a wonderful, complex first novel. As it follows the investigations and everyone movements, the novel slowly reveals Bell's past and how this has impacted her personality. A Killing in the Hills asks how far will you go to protect those you love as it explores how drugs have crippled poverty stricken areas in the Appalachians. Keller did a great job of establishing the setting and her character development was achingly real.

I'm going to be looking forward to more novels by Julia Keller featuring Bell Elkins. Even while this was certainly a self-contained novel, it felt like there were many more stories that could be told and a few story lines that could be pursued in future novels. A Killing in the Hills is an excellent introduction to a new mystery series.

Highly Recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for review purposes.
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Julia Keller is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. In this first book in the Bell Elkins series, she introduces us to Bell, a prosecutor in Acker's Gap, West Virginia. Bell grew up in Acker's Gap, bouncing between foster homes after a tragedy that haunts her still, and she recently returned in hopes of helping her hometown avoid the growing drug problem that has taken over the town. However, when her daughter witnesses a murder, Bell's search for the murderer becomes personal. This was an excellent beginning to this series. Keller's descriptions took me into the West Virginia mountains. The plot keep me engaged, and Keller introduced a cast of characters who I'm anxious to return to. With only three additional books in this series so far, I can see myself burning through them quickly and waiting anxiously for future additions. ( )
  porch_reader | Dec 14, 2015 |
Set in the small, fictional town of Acker’s Gap, nestled among the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, A Killing in the Hills by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Julia Keller is a murder mystery that I fully expected to carry me away with it’s excellent writing and atmosphere. Unfortunately this wasn’t the book I was hoping for. This debut suffered from clichéd characters and a predictable plot. I actually preferred the side story to the main one.

There were more than a few holes in the plot, the book could have used some editing and the relationship between Bell and her daughter was to me, downright strange. Bell professes to care so much for her daughter, yet she couldn’t seem to make it home before 8:00 pm most evenings. Her daughter is a witness to a triple homicide, yet after finding someone to sit with her, Bell goes back to work that afternoon. This is a mother who doesn’t notice when her daughter has her nose pierced, yet we are asked to believe that the daughter was afraid to tell her mother about a party she attended because there were drugs there!

I found that once the relationships were called into question, the rest of the story was hard to swallow. I doubt whether I will pick up any more books in this series. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Nov 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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.
added by ozzer | editPublishers Weekly (Jun 11, 2012)
 
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Book description
In A Killing in the Hills, a powerful, intricate debut from 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?
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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?… (more)

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Minotaur Books

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