Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller

Earlier this year, I discovered Julia Keller's dynamic new crime series featuring prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins.  I was delighted to be able to get an early review copy of the third entry in this group.  The publisher tempted me by offering
High summer in Acker's Gap, West Virginia-but no one's enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley-who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past.
In Summer of the Dead, the third Julia Keller mystery chronicling the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her Appalachian hometown, we also meet Lindy Crabtree-a coal miner's daughter with dark secrets of her own, secrets that threaten to explode into even more violence.
Acker's Gap is a place of loveliness and brutality, of isolation and fierce attachments-a place where the dead rub shoulders with the living, and demand their due.
Keller is doing an excellent job developing these characters, fleshing out their motivations to stay in Akers Gap, while presenting the reader with sterling mystery plots.   This is a series to watch, and one that gives us not only strong characters, but a definite sense of place to anchor them.

Title: Summer of the Dead
Author: Julia Keller
Publisher: Minotaur Books (2014), e-galley 368 pages 
Genre: mystery
Subject: poverty, family secrets, murder
Setting: Akers Gap West Virginia
Series: Bell Elkins Novels
Source: e-galley from publisher via Edelweiss


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