What’s 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?
In this powerful, intricate debut from Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Julia Keller, a mother and a daughter try to do right by a town and each other before it’s too late.
©2012 Julia Keller (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I love mysteries for the suspense and the puzzles that are solved by the end of the book. The mysteries I enjoy the most contain multi-dimensional characters with plots being used to develop these characters. Even better, a story that explores a place I have never been and that leaves me with a sense of the smells, the sounds and the colours is a treat. Ms. Keller combines a tightly woven story with characters and a place I became deeply interested in. I don't feel that I have words that can express how much I enjoyed both the prose and the story itself. West Virginia now "lives" in my imagination, in the same way that James Lee Burke's St. John's Parish and Timothy Hallinan's Bangkok have come alive for me. Shannon McManus is superb. I highly recommend this book. Please write more stories about Bell, Ms. Keller.
P.S. I enjoyed the prose so much that I bought a Kindle copy of the book so that I could re-read certain passages. It really doesn't get much better than this!
West Virginia unvarnished, the communities ravaged by poverty and a meth invasion coupled with prescription drugs rampant. Compelling characters, narrator, two stories
intertwining. Unexpected ending and overall job welldone.
Yes on McManus, No on Keller.
I don't think this book belongs in the genre it is supposed to be in. The story is all about rural West Virgina. The crime mystery is upstaged by the setting. The author describes a multitude of things in this book with great detail. It is interesting at first, but becomes mind numbingly tedious as the book goes on. The story could really have used some serious editing. You can tell that the author has some real writing talent, but she really comes up short when it comes to the plot.
She has a unique accent and tempo with her reading that I found very enjoyable.
Can we please cut Belfa, the main character, and start over? She is so unlikeable I found my self rooting for her demise.
There are so many things wrong with this book it is hard to pick out just a few. The story goes nowhere. The characters both good and bad do some of the dumbest things. The motivation of the characters is week.
Avid Audible "reader" of historical & contemporary fiction, detective and crime novels.
I can't bring myself to rave about this book, but I will give it a thumbs up. It is a good read, as opposed to a really great read. While some might find the countless metaphors and analogies the author used as great prose, at some point, they became redundant and predictable as you couldn't help but anticipate that another would be uttered. My favorite? ". . . (was) like grout oozing between ceramic tiles." Oh well. Good plot, interesting characters and a fine finish. Consider that my rave!
This one was a tough call for me. As a mountain born child who moved to the city; then returned to the mountains I relate to both the plot and the character. The characterizations of the townspeople was spot on, as was the lack of expectations for the majority of the area youth.
Now for the negatives. Belle Elkins was not a very likable main character and her daughter was even less so. The ending did not ring true either. it seemed almost as if she decided to redirect the narrative at the last moment. Hopefully Julia Keller's characters will become better as she continues the series. Though I was somewhat disappointed by this selection I will probably give the next book in the series a shot.
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