A Killing in the Hills

A Killing in the Hills

[a Novel]

Book - 2012
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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?

Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9781250003485
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY KEL
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 25 cm.


From the critics

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Nov 26, 2019

FIRST BOOK IN THE BELL ELKINS SERIES. Not bad for a first novel. I liked the main characters. The writing was a little uneven and read like a movie of the week. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Mar 13, 2018

Enjoying this series of an urban law grad returning to her home town in West virginia to be the county prosecutor.

Oct 10, 2017

I took this book out and read halfway through and realized that it was due in one day, tried to do a one day read a thon to get it finished since I wasn't able to renew it, and I just couldn't do it, there just isn't the "need" to finish it, it wasn't captivating enough. I may take it out another time to finish it, but if I can't to me it doesn't really matter. To me that's a sign that the book is just not captivating enough.

Oct 18, 2016

After reading these 7 or so valid comments, I'm surprised I liked it as much as I did. "Yes, but ..."
It's only recently that self-defense is a possible plea for killing one's abuser (not well phrased).

Nov 12, 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.

Mar 13, 2015

Nice cover. UH HUH. This women's writing is like a squirrel crossing the road. How can a prosecuting attorney who claims to have come home to West Virginia to help the poverty stricken rural folks ,not attempt to get her sister Shirley out of jail for murdering her sexual abusive father. She's only been there for 29 years. It gets worse. There are so many southern crime writers who do so much better.

Jan 09, 2015

Reads like a Lifetime Movie script. When Bell fell into the arms of the handsome contractor she'd just met, all I could think was: romantic sequel!

mrsgail5756 Dec 22, 2013

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Aug 30, 2013

This is not a good book, merely OK at best. The plot moves along at a good clip, but there's a cheat at the end because the big bad ends up being someone we had no way of guessing as there were absolutely no clues. As a matter of fact, the big bad is unbelievable as his identity comes out of nowhere.

The other problem is, the plot hinges on the daughter making a decision based on reasoning that doesn't fit at all with the characters' interactions. She really thinks her mother is going to get upset about her presence at a party when nothing else she does seems to get her mother riled up? She really thinks her mother is going to care about her presence at a party when daughter can ID the killer?

And the writing. Oh, my word, the writing is just not good. The author appears to be worried that she might be considered a genre hack for writing what might be considered a murder mystery and so devotes herself to larding the story with countless metaphors that add nothing but bulk. As an example, in describing fall leaves, the author writes, " ... crazy reds, headstrong yellows ...." What on earth does a shade of yellow have to do to be considered headstrong? Does it have to go to a party its mother disapproves of?

It's too bad the author had such literary pretensions as this could have been a good book if she'd had more self-respect and a better editor.

Aug 16, 2013

A incredibly well told story that has interesting characters that frustrate the reader and captivate them at the same time. Well written.

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