Friday, September 28, 2012

A Killing In in the Hills

September was the month that I was going to focus on reading ARCs.  I have done that, to some extent.  I have taken back many library books that I haven't cracked open at all, and instead read ARCs or books I bought long ago. I am rather enjoying this. However, the stack of ARCs seems barely diminished, so I need to continue to focus on these books a bit longer.
I just finished A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller this morning. I loved it! I am so hoping that Keller has a series in mind since this novel ends with a perfect opportunity to take the story further.
Set in Ackers Gap, West Virginia, Belfa Elkins and her daughter Carla, are in the throes of mother/daughter drama. Carla is a rebellious teen, and Bell is busy with work as Rathune County's prosecuting attorney, with little time or attention to much else.  Drugs are overtaking this small coal mining town, and many of the county's youth are taken up with this evil. 
As Carla sits at the Salty Dawg one morning waiting for her chronically late mother to pick her up, three elderly men are shot dead at the table next to her as they enjoy a cup of coffee. Carla remains unharmed - at least visibly- but doesn't share with her mother that she recognizes the killer.  He had been at a party she attended without her mother's knowledge.
What both Carla and Bell don't know is that Chill, the man who killed the gentlemen, is also planning on killing Bell.  Carla wants to help her mom and begins to do a bit of investigative work on her own, only to put herself at risk. 
Combine this plotline with a few subplots- a mentally handicapped young man who accidentally kills a neighbor boy he plays with until more evidence arises, Bell's mysterious past and the sister she hasn't seen in nearly three decades, A Killing In the Hills is a rich and easily absorbing mystery.
Just like Julia Spencer Fleming's Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne series, I felt at home with these characters as soon as I began reading.  I will be pressing this book into the hands of friends, knowing they will also find it hard to put down.

No comments: