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?
"A wonderful treat!"
High summer in Acker's Gap, West Virginia - but no one's enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley - who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past.
Royce Dillard doesn't remember much about the day his parents - and one hundred and twenty-three other souls - died in the 1972 Buffalo Creek disaster. He was only two years old when he was ripped from his mother's arms. But now Dillard, who lives off the grid with only a passel of dogs for company, is fighting for his life one more time: He's on trial for murder. Prosecutor Bell Elkins faces her toughest challenge yet in this haunting story of vengeance, greed, and the fierce struggle for social justice.
Phone calls before dawn are never good news. And when you're the county's prosecuting attorney, calls from the sheriff are rarely good news, either. So when Bell Elkins picks up the phone, she already knows she won't like what she's about to hear, but she's still not prepared for this: sixteen-year-old Lucinda Trimble's body has been found at the bottom of Bitter River. And Lucinda didn't drown - she was dead before her body ever hit the water. With a case like that, Bell knows the coming weeks are going to be tough. But that's not all Bell is coping with these days.
"Liked the writing but not the story"
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.
Soon after its debut at the time of the Civil War, the Gatling gun changed the nature of warfare and the course of world history. Discharging 200 shots per minute with alarming accuracy, the world's first machine gun became vitally important to protecting and expanding America's overseas interests.
"Please save your credits..."
Karin Slaughter has called Julia Keller 'a rare talent', and Dennis Lehane has praised her 'remarkable writing'. Now Bell Elkins returns - a high-profile development has been green-lit in Acker's Gap, but with one resident refusing to sell his land, tensions are running high, and when a body is found it's up to Bell to find out the truth.
The second in the Bell Elkins crime series from Pulitzer-prize winner Julia Keller. For fans of Linwood Barclay, Dennis Lehane and Henning Mankell. In a small town, everybody is next of kin to everybody else. When a local high-school student - sixteen, promising and pregnant - is found murdered in a car in Bitter River, the hunt is on to find her killer.
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 as 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.