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Fast Falls the Night: A Bell Elkins Novel…

Fast Falls the Night: A Bell Elkins Novel (Bell Elkins Novels) (edition 2017)

by Julia Keller (Author)

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Title:Fast Falls the Night: A Bell Elkins Novel (Bell Elkins Novels)
Authors:Julia Keller (Author)
Info:Minotaur Books (2017), 304 pages
Tags:West Virginia, opiate crisis, public health, Bell Elkins, Ackers Gap, crime fiction

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Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller



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Another one I jumped into without reading the previous in series. Two reasons for this. Richard's wonderful reviews of this series, and a conversation I recently had with a good friend of mine and my husbands. He was born and raised in West Virginia in a mine family, ten of them and they were very poor, he still has family there. We were discussing how so many have left, and how drugs have ravaged these declining towns, where jobs have dwindled away. Then I saw this on Netgalley, and the place and the theme just called out.

For those responsible for the people in Akers Gap, West Virgina, the law enforcement, the paramedics, Belle, the prosecuting attorney, the next 24 hours will be unforgettable. An unprecedented number of heroin overdose, some unable to be revived, and a new and dangerous strain being sold keep them running from one scene to another. Who is selling this and can they be caught?

Love Belle's character, her toughness and willingness to purse this case despite knowing people are doing this by their own choice. A shocking secret will be revealed to her, a personal matter that will leave her reeling. This is I can see a series than can become addictive. It is finely written, evenly paced and shows the truisms of desperate people willing to risk everything even their own lives to momentarily escape the misery of their lives. The author herself explains why she wrote this book and what it meant to her. A book that hits home as the scourge of drugs is not just affecting this area but in many areas in the United States. The lure of drugs seems insurmountable. Another very good and timely read. Now I fully intend to go back and read the five in this series I have missed. Luckily, I own the first.

ARC from Netgalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Sep 5, 2017 |
Reprinted with permission from Reviewing the Evidence.

Julia Keller earned a Pulitzer as a journalist before turning to crime fiction. Perhaps that gives her greater license than others to rip stories from the headline. She explains in an author's note that this one, the sixth in her Bell Elkins series, was inspired during a visit to her home town of Huntington West Virginia, waking to learn the city had recorded 28 heroin overdoses in a single 24-hour period, two of them fatal. She imagined the effect such a crisis would have on her fictional mountain community of Ackers Gap where Bel Elkins, the county prosecutor, does her best to protect her home town from an epidemic of addiction that feeds off poverty, joblessness, and the loss of hope.

Readers are warned at the outset that the story will take place in a single day. It begins shortly after midnight when a gas station attendant lets a girl use the bathroom. When she doesn't come out, he asks a police officer to check. It's too late. She has died of an overdose.

At two a.m. Bell Elkins, a native of Ackers Gap who escaped a nightmarish childhood, only to return to serve as county prosecutor, is lying awake thinking about how she came home to make a difference and how pointless that seems as heroin takes the community in its grip. She's pondering an offer a friend has made to join a new law practice in DC Is there any point trying to help people who don't want to be helped? What good is she doing in a town where nothing is getting better?

When she arrives at work in the morning, she learns police have responded to five overdoses since midnight. Someone is cutting heroin with carfentanil, a synthetic drug that's more than two thousand times the strength of heroin, and as the day progresses police and EMTs will be on the run, bringing addicts back from the brink, putting up with their resentment at being pulled out of their stupor. Those dealing with the crisis wonder why they bother; the people they're working so hard to save have already given up and will only stagger off in search of their next score.

The pace of the book is slow at first as the characters are developed, but as the crisis deepens, it accelerates, with suspenseful plot tributaries flowing into the story, adding to the sense of time slipping away as things grow more and more desperate. Keller has always balanced a fierce love for the place she describes and its people with a gritty realism. This is the darkest entry in the series, and the shocking ending will leave readers wondering if dawn will ever come to these hills.
  bfister | Sep 4, 2017 |
I first discovered Julia Keller and her Bell Elkins series through Read it First, now called First Look Book Club. A site that readers can subscribe to and get the first few chapters of a book of their latest offerings. Then they can decide if they want to buy and read the book. I had the pleasure of reading the first few chapters of "A Killing in the Hills" and I was hooked and have been ever since.

In this, the 6th in the Bell Elkins series, things are not looking good for Acker's Gap in rural West Virginia. Bodies are falling all over the place as it's discovered that a new shipment of heroin has hit the town laced with a drug used to fell elephants. Yikes! That has to be some pretty powerful stuff. There are, of course, other crimes and accidents that the small police force of Acker's Gap has to handle. It's a VERY busy, action filled night.

And this is a VERY busy, action filled story. A hostage situation and the surprise of very well kept secret that gets out adds to the drama of this excellent read. One that kept me up very late turning those pages.

I just love this series, however, things are changing with the characters in the story. The abrupt ending leads me to believe we are going to be seeing a lot of new developments in the next book in the series and I can't wait!

Huge thanks to St. Martins Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. ( )
  debkrenzer | Aug 22, 2017 |
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