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Contents:
  1. Bell Elkins Books in Order: How to read Julia Keller's series? - How To Read Me
  2. A Killing in the Hills (Bell Elkins, Book 1)
  3. So easy. So fast. So Target.
  4. A Killing in the Hills
  5. Featured categories

Compare all 22 new copies. Book Description MacMillan Publishers. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description Minotaur Books , Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Seller Inventory B. Book Description Minotaur Books. Seller Inventory ZZN. Book Description Condition: New.

Seller Inventory n. Book Description Minotaur Books, Never used!. Julia Keller. Publisher: Minotaur Books , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title 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.

Buy New View Book. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. I'm not a fan of series fiction as a whole, but I say, bring on the next one! The story starts out with a bang, literally. Angry teen, Carla Elkins is witness to the demise of the men, whom seconds earlier, Carla describes as losers, old farts,geezers with greenish yellow-brown teeth, the color of old lettuce.

This is just one of the cases to be solved in these West Virginia hills. The other case Bell's working on is whether to indict 28 year old Albie Sheets, a mentally deficient man for the murder of six year old, Tyler Bevins. Found strangled with a length of garden hose, Tyler and Sheets were friends and had been playing in the Bevin basement. Something had gone terribly wrong. Acker's Gap. Keller paints a descriptive and flavorful picture of this small town. Though small, it's not exempt from big city problems; pills, drugs, dealers, all these corrupting Acker's youth.

Bell's daughter, Carla is in the thick of it all. Bell, a single mother, teeters on the brink as she tries to balance job and motherhood. This is not to mention Bell's ex, or the demons she is dealing with from her past. Bell is a a tough protagonist, one who seldom shows her softer side. She's smart, speaks with an edgy tongue and I just plain liked her.

Keller writes lifelike scenes with clarity. Reviews for Keller's debut have been all over the place. It seems to be one of these love it or not reads. I've never read Keller's Chicago Tribune pieces and didn't realize she was a Pulitzer prize winner so perhaps this makes me less critical them some. A Killing in the Hills has my vote. View all 16 comments. Oct 24, Lynn rated it liked it. Three stars because I liked the characters and the first two-thirds of the book very much.

Not sure what happened after the story got established. Disappointing after such a good start. I must be crazy, because I'd like to read another. Aug 15, Richard rated it it was amazing Shelves: own. Here is a fresh female author with an original and engaging voice who has been writing for years. However this award winning journalist has left her successful newspaper career to forge a new identity as an author and return to teaching to pass on her craft. I really enjoyed this debut novel, it is beautifully written, well paced and captures you from page one.

A crime thriller that has a good plot but isn't stuck in the genre, you care about the people and believe the actions and outcomes. Here Here is a fresh female author with an original and engaging voice who has been writing for years. Here is a creative force with an eye for original characters in realistic situations; an ear for authentic dialogue and the genuine heart of a storyteller. Hopefully this is the start of a series of books set in Acker's Gap, West Virginia, if such a thing were possible it will put this fictional place on the map. I'm a convert already and unreservedly recommend this book to you.

It is good to be in at the start and I look forward to following Bell Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County in all her unfolding life. One of the best books I've read this year. View 2 comments. Aug 24, Andrea rated it did not like it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Predictable, chock-full of cliches, and stiffly written. My first thought upon finishing it was, "Wow, that was like a bad episode of The Closer.

Three guys get shot in a diner. She will a hunt him down herself b help her mom turn him in c get kidnapped and held at gunpoint in an abandoned factory The actual mastermind behind the drug ring Predictable, chock-full of cliches, and stiffly written. She will a hunt him down herself b help her mom turn him in c get kidnapped and held at gunpoint in an abandoned factory The actual mastermind behind the drug ring is a the main character's asshole ex-husband b the main character's alternate personality c the sweet old man from down the street who would never harm a fly If you answered C to all of the above, congratulations - you know how a predictable crime novel works.

The dialogue is completely unbelievable. The main character's partner will say to her, "Bell, the phone's for you. It's Shirley, your sister. The one who got thrown in jail all those years ago for reasons you still won't tell us. Or your daughter. In inner monologue, no less! Sep 04, Brian Anderson rated it really liked it. I picked this up because of a librarian recommendation, and it was a good read. Interesting characters, good descriptions and a story that kept me turning the pages. This is apparently the first of a series and since I'm not a big fan of mysteries and this one wrapped up nicely for me at the end, I'll probably stop with this one.

However, since it's better than most, I'd recommend it for fans of the genre. Oct 09, Kristina rated it did not like it Shelves: library-book , mystery-thriller , fiction. A Killing in the Hills seemed like a good literary mystery novel, something I would enjoy. While I would still go with the assessment that it's more of a literary novel, I have to say I didn't enjoy it. It was very wordy and full long, windy descriptive phrases that distracted me from the story itself.

Here's one: "Bell Elkins tore through the tape as if it were tinsel on last year's Christmas tree--as it were, that is, superfluous, out of place, and certainly nothing that ought, under the prese A Killing in the Hills seemed like a good literary mystery novel, something I would enjoy. Here's one: "Bell Elkins tore through the tape as if it were tinsel on last year's Christmas tree--as it were, that is, superfluous, out of place, and certainly nothing that ought, under the present circumstances, to be impeding her progress The more adjectives and adverbs the author threw at me, the less meaningful the description was.

I ultimately began skipping them just to get to the story itself. The author doesn't trust the reader to get her meaning so she over-explains and over-writes the novel. I have some sympathy for her because I'm an over-writer myself and I find I have to go over and over what I've written with a knife and edit out the extra unnecessary words. Aside from the verbosity, I had other problems with this novel. Within the first pages, the author reveals who the killer is and his reason for the killings. You, the reader, are left to follow Bell and her daughter Carla as they try to discover this themselves.

The only unknown aspect of the novel is figuring out who the mastermind is, and since I found the whole novel rather boring with a less-than-compelling plot, I wasn't much interested in the unveiling of the Bad Guy at the end of the novel. The slow-as-molasses pace of the story is another problem.

The only reason I finished this book within two days is because I was sick and it hurt my head to watch tv. The author has to give a fairly detailed back story of every character who shows up in this book. Not just the characters, but also some of the places the buildings themselves in the novel. It was exhausting because I didn't find anyone interesting.

No one. Not the main characters, not the villains, no one. I didn't like Carla or Bell which would have been okay if I had found them interesting or compelling. Unfortunately, I didn't. Overall, I didn't care for it. I have a feeling this is the first in a series, but I will avoid any future books.

Bell Elkins Books in Order: How to read Julia Keller's series? - How To Read Me

The one description that did ring true to me is the roads in West Virginia being scary to drive. They are. They swoop up and down and curve dramatically and if you have a weak stomach for that type of driving as I do , it's best to avoid the state. Much of the scenery can be very pretty, but the roads will give you panic attacks. May 08, Don rated it it was ok. I don't get the buzz on this book. It was a real disappointment. There are a number of aspects about it to criticize: 1. The book really needed an editor. It's incredibly repetitious; there are descriptions of people that are repeated and ideas that are re-stated numerous time.

Too often, Keller strives for the memorable sentence, but usually just falls flat and sounds self-consciously literary. The characters are two-dimensional, not at all subtle. This is supposed to be a suspense novel, I don't get the buzz on this book. This is supposed to be a suspense novel, but there's little suspense. In fact, there's none until near the end.


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The big reveal at the end of the book is absolutely not believable. In fact, at various times throughout the novel, the actions of certain characters are just not credible. Keller is a successful, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, but there is, obviously, a big difference between writing non-fiction and writing fiction. Keller has a lot of work to do before she will have mastered the art of fiction writing.

May 28, Kathy rated it really liked it. I did skim a bit. I will read the next offering in this series. This one came to my list from a Goodreads suggestion and I found it in my local library service. She is on a crusade to clear up the trade in supply of prescription drugs being sold to High School pupils, when her daughter is a witness to a walk in shooting where 3 older men are gunned down in a local Salty Dawge diner.

A Killing in the Hills (Bell Elkins, Book 1)

There are some great descriptions of the intimidating presence of the local This one came to my list from a Goodreads suggestion and I found it in my local library service. There are some great descriptions of the intimidating presence of the local mountains that dominate the background of Acker's Gap where the the local coal mines are closing down and the whole local economy is in recession with many loosing their livelihoods and homes, young people begin to see no future for themselves. Bell has the case of the murders and a mentally deficient young man is accused of a killing of a six year old.

I was worried here that Bell was trying to determine his mental state without any psychological input but there is an unexpected twist. Everything ends in a shoot out with the sheriff and another twist. In the background is Bell's own past and the fact that her sister has been in prison for 29 years. A very good read and recommended. This was absolutely terrible. The author won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and has sat on the Pulitzer jury, so I have to believe that she knows what good writing is.

This was utterly horrible. Every paragraph felt like a sentence written in draft format, then written again in the longest form possible and then written one more time for luck. I'm not sure if the editor was supposed to choose, but they seem to have all made the final version. I have never been so exhausted by dreary, drawn This was absolutely terrible. I have never been so exhausted by dreary, drawn-out expository nonsense with every single point hammered home with a wrecking ball.

I take no pleasure in my response to this book. It's not that it's incompetent, it's actually willfully bad. Manipulative, boring, repetitive and just plain shite. View all 4 comments. Aug 02, Lisa rated it liked it Shelves: mysteries-and-thrillers.

So easy. So fast. So Target.

This was a solid start to the series. I liked the characters a lot and the locale was something different for me. I'm holding back a star here because I thought it was a little too long and had the tendency to be repetitive. But I enjoyed it for the most part, especially the side plot. I actually thought that was the stronger story-line. I plan on checking out the next book in the series soon.

Mar 31, Elizabeth rated it it was ok Shelves: mystery-thriller-crime-fiction.

A Killing in the Hills

Predictable plot with a cliched cast of characters. I do not understand the praise for this book. After a tragic upbringing that includes a fire and the death of her father, she then goes from foster home to foster home.


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She goes away to college, gets married and has a child. She feels drawn to return to Acker's Gap to make a difference. Her marriage falls apart and she takes her daughter home to West Virginia. She runs and is elected prosecuting attorney for Raythune County. The county has a serious drug problem and Bell is determined to clean up the county. While Bell is working on another tragic case where a child was killed she learns that 3 elderly men have been gunned down in a local diner.

The same diner where her now 17 year old daughter Carla was waiting for her Bell to her up. The eatery was full of witnesses but it happened so fast no one really saw the shooter. Drug related? 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 able to help her mother do her job. Bell vows to find and bring the killer to justice not knowing her daughter may already know who he is or that Carla may be putting herself in danger to help her. Dollycas's Thoughts A Great Debut to a new series!!

Julie Keller has created some wonderfully flawed characters and set them loose in West Virginia. This first story has more than one mystery for readers to follow and she has woven them together seamlessly. We learn about Belfa's yes, that her real name past and her dysfunctional family that made her the woman she is today. A young boy is killed and Bell has to decide how to move forward charging a mentally challenged 28 year old.

Three elderly residents are gunned down by an unknown assailant.

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Add to that Bell's teenage daughter going through normal growing pains and then she witnesses this terrible shooting. Bell has a true friend in the sheriff and he is there to walk with her through the mayhem and he does his best to protect her. I love the meetings over pieces of pie as they try to sort out the clues. Last one to arrive buys the pie! Bell has a lot on her plate besides her job a prosecuting attorney for the county.

Her sister has just been paroled from prison and her daughter would rather be living with her dad. With this a foundation has been laid for the series moving forward. Bell is a strong woman with a noble agenda that will probably get her in lot of trouble. One of my favorite parts of this story was Bell driving in the mountains to question the mother of the mentally challenged suspect. The author's description of the winding roads, cliff drop offs, up and down the mountains, made me feel like I was right in the vehicle holding on for dear life.

Extra tension was added when she was being followed. It was a white knuckle moment holding on to my kindle as I couldn't read the pages fast enough. I am looking forward to my return to this "shabby afterthought of a town". If you are a mystery lover you too will enjoy this story. View 1 comment.


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Aug 18, Vivian rated it really liked it Shelves: appalachia , crime , american , mystery , wvreads , fiction , suspense , drugs. The problems found there are found elsewhere. And the growing problem faced in many small towns is a problem with drugs meth as well as prescription drug abuse. Prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins is working hard to see that Acker's Gap doesn't become tainted by the ever-increasing drug problems. A native West Virginian, Bell has seen plenty of trouble in her life and was able to succeed despite the rough start Acker's Gap, West Virginia could literally be any small town within the United States.

A native West Virginian, Bell has seen plenty of trouble in her life and was able to succeed despite the rough start. She had even left West Virginia after completing school and worked in Washington, D. Bell became restless with the fast-paced life in DC and yearned to return home to West Virginia and make a difference. She had hoped her husband would feel the same, but he never wanted to return to his West Virginia roots. Bell returns to West Virginia, as a divorcee and single, working mother.

Her daughter, Carla, does not like the small-town feel of Acker's Gap. She misses her friends from DC and the social life. After getting into trouble again, she is seriously thinking of asking her father if she can move in with him and return to DC. One single moment changes everything for both Carla and Bell. Bell, due to her job, must investigate the murders but she is also concerned about the impact this event may have on Carla. Carla, somewhat traumatized by the murders, decides she wants to help her mom with this investigation.

As both Carla and Bell seek to find answers to why this event happened, they put their lives in jeopardy. Will Bell be able to protect her daughter from possible retribution? Is it really possible these murders are tied to the illegal drug trade in Acker's Gap? Keller presents a story that is all too familiar; the effects of the illegal drug trade on small towns. Bell's back story provides just as much intrigue as the investigation into the murders and drug trafficking problems. She struggles with overcoming her past, while doing everything possible to ignore it.

Carla is a typical teenage girl and yearns for excitement, difficult to find in a small town or so she thinks. A Killing In The Hills is a dramatic and suspenseful story that drew me in from the first page. I found the characters and the action realistic and plausible. This story doesn't denigrate the small town life; it just shines a spotlight on the problems found there.

Jun 26, Betsy rated it really liked it Shelves: zjul , wombk-challenge , buddyread-sheila. She does a great job of describing the scenery and the culture of small-town life. Further, her ability to write about the feelings of a teenager are spot on. I enjoyed reading her comparisons throughout the entire book especially her comparing athletes to attorneys.

Although the main character annoyed me at times by the way she neglects her daughter, I still enjoyed the book. The mystery and plot were well written. I look forward to reading the second book in the series. Sep 24, Kimberly rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-in I live in the Appalachians Mountains of Virginia, so this book really resonated with me in so many ways. Though this book takes place in West Virginia, it really didn't matter. Everything you see, hear, feel, everything that happens in this book with exception of the main story line is happening or has happened here in my part of the mountains.

The drug epidemic, or the killing of innocents is so odd here because it never use to happen. I felt very close to the town as it could have been mine. Gre I live in the Appalachians Mountains of Virginia, so this book really resonated with me in so many ways. Great writing, loved the characters, especially the setting, the story line was unique, as I haven't read too many that take place in the Appalachia's and the ending was all wrapped up perfectly.

I totally did not see it coming on who was behind the murders. I highly recommend this. Jul 27, Amy rated it really liked it Shelves: mysterystates , debut. I really enjoyed this book, a great mystery and with the family issues, makes me think this might be the start of a great series.

This story is set in a small town fictional Acker's Gap in West Virginia, but frankly, this small town reminded me a lot of my hometown in SE Ohio. The book starts out with people in a diner.

All of a sudden, three older gentleman sitting together at a table are shot. The prosecutor's daughter witnesses the shooting and the story takes off from there Besides the I really enjoyed this book, a great mystery and with the family issues, makes me think this might be the start of a great series.