Sorrow road

Julia Keller

Book - 2016

"From the small towns of Appalachia they came, the young men who joined the fight for liberty in World War II. Now they are elderly, and some of them--like Harmon Strayer, father of prosecutor Bell Elkins's former law school classmate--suffer from Alzheimer's. When Harmon dies in an Alzheimer's care facility from what appear to be natural causes, Bell confronts a mystery that brims with questions about memory, grief and the lethal cost of burying the past. During a winter of ...record snow and cold, Bell and the people of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, face isolation and hardship--and the threat from a killer who preys upon the old and the sick and the helpless"--

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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Minotaur Books 2016.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
354 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250089588
1250089581
Main Author
Julia Keller (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In this fifth Bell Elkins novel (after Last Ragged Breath, 2015) from Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Keller, two story lines—one happening in the 1930s, one unfolding in the present day—come together in a single gripping narrative. Bell, the prosecuting attorney in Acker's Gap, West Virginia, is asked by a law-school classmate to look into her father's death in a nearby Alzheimer's care facility. The classmate then dies in a car crash. Two women are murdered together in a tremendously moving passage. Bell's daughter, Carla, has made a sudden, unexplained return home. And Bell's relationship with Clay Mackling is in suspended animation. All of these events turn out to be interrelated, with resolution coming only after much reckoning, for all involved, with the collective trauma of their pasts. There is not much you can teach Bell about shock and terror and the "wounds that never wash out." She grew up staring "into the face of an evil that seemed to drench the world in endless darkness." Her incredible resilience has allowed her to move on, but she is beginning to realize that others, especially Carla, have not been so fortunate. That sense of endless darkness is matched by the relentlessly bleak and treacherous Appalachian winter and by the poverty and despair of the people trapped within it. The setting and the tone will appeal to fans of both Sharyn McCrumb and Julia Spencer-Fleming, and the introspective protagonist and literary quality recommend it to followers of Tana French and Louise Penny. Another outstanding entry in a superb series. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Readers who have been following Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Keller's mystery-writing career since she debuted with the well-received A Killing in the Hills should be pleased with this next outing. Here, series heroine Bell Elkins confronts a shocking mystery: at a West Virginia nursing home, Alzheimer patients are dying at an unexpectedly quick clip. Something's wrong, never mind that the cause of death always appears to be natural. [Page 88]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the start of Keller's lukewarm fifth Bell Elkins novel (after 2015's Last Ragged Breath), the West Virginia prosecutor gets a glimpse of the road not taken when she meets law school classmate Darlene Strayer for a drink in a rundown bar. Though the women grew up in similar circumstances, Bell, "who had seemed destined for a glittering career in a big city," has ended up in an obscure small town, and misfit Darlene went on to become a celebrated federal prosecutor. But now Darlene needs Bell's help. Darlene's father, Harmon, died the week before, but despite his advanced years, she feels guilt about his passing. In recent months, Harmon was bothered about something he wouldn't disclose, and his daughter believes it was connected with his death. Darlene's fears seem more credible to Bell when Darlene ends up the victim of a car crash. Keller writes well, but a soap opera of a subplot involving Bell's daughter, who has returned home with a secret, distracts from the main narrative. Author tour. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the small towns of Appalachia they came, the young men who joined the fight for liberty in World War II. Now they are elderly, and some of them--like Harmon Strayer, father of prosecutor Bell Elkins's former law school classmate--suffer from Alzheimer's. When Harmon dies in an Alzheimer's care facility from what appear to be natural causes, Bell confronts a mystery that brims with questions about memory, grief and the lethal cost of burying the past. During a winter of record snow and cold, Bell and the people of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, face isolation and hardship--and the threat from a killer who preys upon the old and the sick and the helpless"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When Alzheimer patients start dying at alarming rates at a West Virginia nursing home, Bel Elkins's sister goes undercover to investigate links between the case and the fates of three young Navy soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bitter River.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When Alzheimer's patients start dying at alarming rates at a West Virginia nursing home, Bell Elkins's sister goes undercover to investigate links between the case and the fates of three young soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In 1944, three young men from a small town in West Virginia are among the American forces participating in D-Day, changing the fortunes of the war with one bold stroke. How is that moment aboard a Navy ship as it barrels toward the Normandy shore related to the death of an old man in an Appalachian nursing home seventy-two years later?In Sorrow Road, the latest mystery from Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Julia Keller, two stories—one set in the turbulent era of World War II and one in the present day—are woven together to create a piercingly poignant tale of memory and family, of love and murder.Bell Elkins, prosecuting attorney in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, is asked by an old acquaintance to look into the death of her beloved father in an Alzheimer’s care facility. Did he die of natural causes—or was something more sinister to blame? And that’s not the only issue with which Bell is grappling: Her daughter Carla has moved back home. But something’s not right. Carla is desperately hiding a secret.Once again, past and present, good and evil, and revenge and forgiveness clash in a riveting story set in the shattered landscape of Acker’s Gap, where the skies can seem dark even at high noon, and the mountains lean close to hear the whispered lament of the people trapped in their shadow.