Summer of the dead

Julia Keller

Book - 2014

"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 the third 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"--

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FICTION/Keller Julia
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Keller Julia Checked In
Series
Bell Elkins novels ; 3
Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Minotaur Books 2014.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
354 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250044730
1250044731
Main Author
Julia Keller (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Family problems and a brutal murder are plaguing Bell Elkins, the prosecutor in the poverty-stricken town of Acker's Gap, West Virginia. Bell's older sister, Shirley Dolan, is struggling after serving a prison term for killing their abusive father, who had begun to eye Bell after molesting Shirley for years. As Bell deals with her debt to Shirley and her still-raging hatred of her father, 19-year-old Lindy Crabtree tries to manage her job and care for her widowed father, whose physical and mental health are in a steep decline. Two more murders frighten the people of the small town and raise the possibility of a serial killer for Bell and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, her closest friend. Bell, who finds solace from her vengeful rage by immersing herself in the law, is one of the best-developed characters in all of modern crime fiction, and she is surrounded by a similarly well-rounded cast. Plot lines take unlikely turns in this third installment, but Keller is such an accomplished prose stylist and storyteller that she leaves readers with only one dilemma: whether to read nonstop to reach the outcome or to take time to savor the well-wrought complexities of this exceptional novel. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In the West Virginia town of Acker's Gap, county prosecutor Bell Elkins (introduced in Keller's acclaimed debut, A Killing in the Hills) has her hands full dealing with her sister Shirley's release from prison, as well as trying to identify a killer stalking the streets. At the same time, Lindy Crabtree, a true coal miner's daughter, struggles to keep family secrets from exploding into the world. When these women's lives collide, Bell must do her best to ensure that the body count does not climb any higher. VERDICT Keller seamlessly weaves together Bell's past and present in her third outing (after Bitter River). The gritty Appalachian setting and plot will keep readers' attention locked on the pages. This title will especially appeal to fans of such rural noir authors as Tom Bouman (Dry Bones in the Valley) and Daniel Woodrell. [Library marketing; Keller was recently profiled in NPR's "Crime in the City" series, ow.ly/yFJdp; see also Books for Dudes, ow.ly/yEKqK.—Ed.] [Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

After two savage, seemingly senseless murders within weeks, Bell Elkins starts to feel the heat—and that's even without the mess of trouble simmering at home with her headstrong, recently paroled big sister, Shirley—in Keller's character-driven, plot-compromised third novel starring the steely West Virginia prosecutor (after 2013's Bitter River). As residents of Bell's hardscrabble Appalachian hometown of Acker's Gap shy away from even simple summer pleasures for fear of a serial killer in their midst, she doggedly pursues the scant leads while trying to forge an adult relationship with the sibling whose selfless act decades earlier spared her from their father's abuse. Though the investigation uncovers a sad story behind almost every sagging porch (among them the plight of teen bookworm Lindy Crabtree, who turns the cellar of her crumbling family place into the simulacrum of a mine to comfort her demented and possibly dangerous father, a retired miner), and culminates in a denouement surprising largely because it seems so contrived, the book's prime pleasure lies in joining the complex Bell on the long journey toward making peace with her past. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by PW Annex Reviews

After two savage, seemingly senseless murders within weeks, Bell Elkins starts to feel the heat—and that's even without the mess of trouble simmering at home with her headstrong, recently paroled big sister, Shirley—in Keller's character-driven, plot-compromised third novel starring the steely West Virginia prosecutor (after 2013's Bitter River). As residents of Bell's hardscrabble Appalachian hometown of Acker's Gap shy away from even simple summer pleasures for fear of a serial killer in their midst, she doggedly pursues the scant leads while trying to forge an adult relationship with the sibling whose selfless act decades earlier spared her from their father's abuse. Though the investigation uncovers a sad story behind almost every sagging porch (among them the plight of teen bookworm Lindy Crabtree, who turns the cellar of her crumbling family place into the simulacrum of a mine to comfort her demented and possibly dangerous father, a retired miner), and culminates in a denouement surprising largely because it seems so contrived, the book's prime pleasure lies in joining the complex Bell on the long journey toward making peace with her past. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"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 whoseems 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 the third 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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Hunting an elusive killer who is terrorizing the citizens of Acker's Gap during a West Virginia summer, county prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong find the case complicated by a coal miner's secretive daughter and the prison release of Bell's sister.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Hunting an elusive killer who is terrorizing the citizens of Acker's Gap during a West Virginia summer, county prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong find the case complicated by a coal miner's secretive daughter and the prison release of Bell's sister. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bitter River.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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.