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?
Published in hardcover 2012. Paperback in 2013
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"Starred Review. Some characters turn out to be better than they appear, some much worse, but the ensemble cast is unforgettable. So is this novel." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. A page-turner with substance and depth, this is as suspenseful and entertaining as it is accomplished." - Booklist
"Starred Review. A fictional debut for a Pulitzer Prizewinning 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
"A Killing In The Hills is a gripping, beautifully-crafted murder mystery that shows that small-town West Virginia is no longer Mayberry. Great reading." - Scott Turow
"Julia Keller is that rare talent who combines gripping suspense, a fabulous sense of place and nuanced characters you can't wait to come back to. A must read." - Karin Slaughter
"A Killing in the Hills is a remarkably written and remarkably tense debut. I loved it." - Dennis Lehane
"Julia Keller's A Killing in the Hills is a terrific debut - atmospheric, suspenseful, assured. I hope there's more to come in the story of Bell Elkins and Acker's Gap." - Laura Lippman
"Be careful opening this book because once you do you won't be able to close it. Instead, clear the weekend, silence the phone and settle into Acker's Gap, a place as fascinating and fraught with violence and beauty as Daniel Woodrell's Ozarks or William Gay's Tennessee. A killer novel." - Tom Franklin
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Julia Keller spent twelve years as a reporter and editor for the Chicago Tribune, where she won a Pulitzer Prize. A recipient of a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, she was born in West Viriginia and lives in Chicago and Ohio.
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