A Killing in the Hills

Keller, Julia

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A Killing in the Hills
In this novel a mother and a daughter try to do right by a town and each other before it is too late. What is happening in Acker's Gap, West Virginia? Three elderly men are gunned down over their coffee at a local diner, and seemingly half the town is there to witness the act. Still, it happened so fast, and no one seems to have gotten a good look at the shooter. Was it random? Was it connected to the spate of drug violence plaguing poor areas of the country just like Acker's Gap? Or were Dean Streeter, Shorty McClurg, and Lee Rader targeted somehow? One of the witnesses to the brutal incident was Carla Elkins, teenaged daughter of Bell Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, West Virginia. Carla was shocked and horrified by what she saw, but after a few days, she begins to recover enough to believe that she might be uniquely placed to help her mother do her job. After all, what better way to repair their fragile, damaged relationship? But could Carla also end up doing more harm than good, in fact, putting her own life in danger?

Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781250003485
Characteristics: 371 p. ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Mar 13, 2015
  • posie12 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Nice cover. UH HUH. This women's writing is like a squirrel crossing the road. How can a prosecuting attorney who claims to have come home to West Virginia to help the poverty stricken rural folks ,not attempt to get her sister Shirley out of jail for murdering her sexual abusive father. She's only been there for 29 years. It gets worse. There are so many southern crime writers who do so much better.

Jan 09, 2015
  • athena14 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Reads like a Lifetime Movie script. When Bell fell into the arms of the handsome contractor she'd just met, all I could think was: romantic sequel!

Dec 22, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Aug 30, 2013
  • chgarland rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This is not a good book, merely OK at best. The plot moves along at a good clip, but there's a cheat at the end because the big bad ends up being someone we had no way of guessing as there were absolutely no clues. As a matter of fact, the big bad is unbelievable as his identity comes out of nowhere.

The other problem is, the plot hinges on the daughter making a decision based on reasoning that doesn't fit at all with the characters' interactions. She really thinks her mother is going to get upset about her presence at a party when nothing else she does seems to get her mother riled up? She really thinks her mother is going to care about her presence at a party when daughter can ID the killer?

And the writing. Oh, my word, the writing is just not good. The author appears to be worried that she might be considered a genre hack for writing what might be considered a murder mystery and so devotes herself to larding the story with countless metaphors that add nothing but bulk. As an example, in describing fall leaves, the author writes, " ... crazy reds, headstrong yellows ...." What on earth does a shade of yellow have to do to be considered headstrong? Does it have to go to a party its mother disapproves of?

It's too bad the author had such literary pretensions as this could have been a good book if she'd had more self-respect and a better editor.

Aug 16, 2013
  • tocch101 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A incredibly well told story that has interesting characters that frustrate the reader and captivate them at the same time. Well written.

Jul 07, 2013

This is a wonderful first novel for this author. The main character is a strong female with a touching and heartbreaking back story. The exciting and suspenseful plot flows and once you start reading it is difficult to put down. I am looking forward to the 2nd book in this great series.

Mar 17, 2013
  • woogie01 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

a wonderful first novel, I hope there are more to come.

Jan 17, 2013

This is a suspense filled debut novel by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. At the start, Carla Elkins, the rebellious teen daughter of Bell Elkins, lead prosecutor of Raythune County, West Virginia, is waiting for her divorced mother at a fast food restaurant in Acker’s Gap when three old men are shot dead at a nearby table. She quickly realizes that she recognizes the killer, but doesn’t tell her mother or anyone else what she knows. Bell investigates the triple murder, and believes it is tied in some way to the growing illegal trafficking in prescription drugs in her county. The author, born and raised in West Virginia, fills this thoroughly enjoyable mystery with well detailed characters and vivid descriptions of the natural beauty of the Appalachians as well as the deep poverty.

Sep 17, 2012
  • grandquilter rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Good book, not too heavy of a mystery. Hope there is a sequel, would like to read more about the 2 main characters.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET