Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Killing in the Hills

Title: A Killing in the Hills

Author: Julie Keller

Number of pages: 384

Started: 16 August 2012

Finished: 21 August 2012

Opening words:

She didn’t come here often, because there was nothing left.

When she did come, it tended to be at dusk, and she would stand and look at the bare spot, at the place where the trailer had been.  It was only a few dozen yards away from Comer Creek.

Above is the beginning of the Prologue, read chapter 1 here.

Plot summary:

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, visitors see only its stunning natural beauty. But for those living there it's a different story. The mountain roads harbour secret places, perfect for making the prescription drugs that tempt its desperately poor. Bell Elkins left a broken teenager, savaged by a past she couldn't forget. But, as prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, Bell is back and determined to help clean up the only home she has ever known. As winter sets in and her daughter is witness to a shocking triple murder, Bell finds her family in danger. Can she uncover the truth before her world is destroyed again?

What I thought:

I really liked this book. From the very first page, it was apparent that the author, Julia Keller, really could write. That is perhaps not surprising given that she is a Pulitzer winning journalist.

I think this was a book of two halves. The first half, whilst starting with a very brutal crime was about character formation and scene setting, with the crimes stories interweaved. I really enjoyed that style. I enjoyed each page and it was always a pleasure to pick the book up again and continue reading. The second half of the book was more crime driven and perhaps more of a traditional crime novel. On balance, I probably preferred the first half of the book, but it was all very readable and well written.

My only criticism of the book is that I am not sure I found the final resolution totally credible. I won't comment further for fear of giving the ending away.  That said, this is meant to be the first of a series and I will definitely be reading the next one.

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