11 a.m. | McIntyre's Books
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller started writing her first mystery at the age of ten; over the following decades, she got distracted by other genres, and won considerable acclaim, but she always knew she’d return to crime fiction. The wait is over: Keller’s A Killing in the Hills is not only an outstanding first crime novel but a powerful story of a woman’s return to the place that nearly destroyed her. For Keller’s heroine Belfa “Bell” Elkins, home is a depressed region of West Virginia called Raythune County, where as a child she survived a monstrous father. Having passed the state bar exam, she comes back to the town of Acker’s Gap to serve as the county’s prosecuting attorney, but it’s a job even someone without Bell’s harrowing memories would find daunting.
The dismaying situation in Acker’s Gap becomes worse when a shooting in a fast food restaurant leaves three old men dead, and Bell’s teenage daughter Carly as a witness. But Bell and Carly aren’t as close as they once were, and the girl decides to keep what she knows—that she’s seen the shooter before—from her mother. Her own search for the killer’s identity puts her in his path, and even Bell, digging for the reasons behind the murders, might not be able to help her in time.