The cold way home

Julia Keller

Book - 2019

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Keller welcomes readers back to West Virginia and a ragged chunk of what was once a high stone wall. This is all that remains of Wellwood, a psychiatric hospital for the poor that burned to the ground decades ago. And it is here that Bell Elkins--prosecutor turned private investigator--makes a grim discovery while searching for a missing teenager: a dead body, marred by a ghastly wound that can only mean murder.an murder.

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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Published
New York : Minotaur Books 2019.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 306 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250191229
125019122X
Main Author
Julia Keller (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Near the ruins of Wellwood, a state-run mental hospital now long abandoned, Bell Elkins finds a woman's body. It's not that of the runaway teenager whom her agency, Investigations, has been hired to find but rather that of Darla Gilley, a lifelong resident of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, who died in the same place where her grandmother, Bessie, had died 60 years earlier, both of them murdered. Investigations, made up of three formers—former prosecutor Bell, former sheriff Nick Fogelsong, and former trooper Jake Oakes, injured on duty and confined to a wheelchair—is asked to work on the Gilley case, the first major homicide in the area in more than a year. Wellwood's dreadful history is a major factor in the crime, but it all revolves around family, a theme that's central to the lives of the major characters. Bell, divorced with her only child an adult daughter in Charleston, considers her colleagues family; Nick, in the midst of a divorce, is in awe at finding love again; while Jake and his live-in lover, Molly, surmount an impasse about their future. Keller's Bell Elkins series sets a standard for its evocation of place and for the sensitive portrayals of its characters, with Bell the most masterfully drawn of all. This is introspective, literary crime fiction at its best. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Having joined forces to create BJ Investigations, former prosecutor Bell Elkins and former cop Jake Oakes have just run into their first hard-to-fathom case. Amber Slight is found dead in the West Virginia woods, with all the evidence washed away by seven days' worth of hard rain. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Mary Higgins Clark–finalist Keller's gloomy eighth Bell Elkins novel (after 2018's Bone on Bone) finds the Acker's Gap, W.Va., prosecutor turned PI stumbling upon a body stuffed in the ruins of Wellwood, a psychiatric hospital that burned to the ground decades earlier. After learning that the victim, Darla Gilley, died of blunt force trauma to the head, Bell works with her business partners, former sheriff Nick Fogelsong and former deputy Jake Oakes, to unravel the murder. They discover that tragedy has plagued the Gilley family for generations, including the murder of Darla's grandmother who worked—and died—at Wellwood. Bell speculates that the two murders are somehow connected, and her sleuthing opens her eyes to a very dark history of psychiatric care during the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, unrelated albeit poignant subplots, such as Jake starting a family with his girlfriend, slow the action. Still, this is a strong addition to the series that can easily be read as a standalone. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, DeFiore & Co. (Aug.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Discovering a body at the ruins of a psychiatric hospital that burned down decades earlier, Bell and her partners confront private torments as well as the site's dark history.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Discovering a body at the ruins of a psychiatric hospital that burned down decades earlier, Bell and her partners confront private torments as well as the site’s dark history. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Killing in the Hills.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"[An] emotion-charged mystery.... Keller's sleuths are easy to like and the murder story is moving; but the object of fascination here is Wellwood, a state-run mental institution with a dark history as a repository for 'rebellious, unruly women.'" —The New York Times Book ReviewPulitzer Prize-winning author Julia Keller welcomes readers back to West Virginia, where her lyrical and moving stories of the people of her native state have unfolded since A Killing in the Hills, the acclaimed first novel in the series.Deep in the woods just outside Acker's Gap, West Virginia, rises a ragged chunk of what was once a high stone wall. This is all that remains of Wellwood, a psychiatric hospital for the poor that burned to the ground decades ago. And it is here that Bell Elkins – prosecutor turned private investigator – makes a grim discovery while searching for a missing teenager: A dead body, marred by a ghastly wound that can only mean murder.To solve the mystery of what happened in these woods where she played as a child, Bell and her partners – former sheriff Nick Fogelsong and former deputy Jake Oakes – must confront the tangled history of Wellwood and its dark legacy, while each grapples with a private torment. Based on a true chapter in the troubled history of early treatment for psychiatric illness, The Cold Way Home is a story of death and life, of despair and hope, of crime and – sometimes, but not always – punishment.