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Extended Audio Sample A Killing in the Hills: A Novel, by Julia Keller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,173 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Keller Narrator: Shannon McManus Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Bell Elkins Novels Release Date:
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What’s happening in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia? Three elderly men are gunned down over their coffee at a local diner, and it seems 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, teenage daughter of Bell Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County. 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A Killing In The Hills is a gripping, beautifully-crafted murder mystery that shows that small-town West Virginia is no longer Mayberry. Great reading.”

    Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Julia Keller is that rare talent who combines gripping suspense, a fabulous sense of place and nuanced characters you can't wait to come back to. A must read.”

    Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author

  • A Killing in the Hills is a remarkably written and remarkably tense debut. I loved it.”

    Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Julia Keller’s A Killing in the Hills is a terrific debut—atmospheric, suspenseful, assured. I hope there’s more to come in the story of Bell Elkins and Acker’s Gap.”

    Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Outstanding…Keller does a superb job showing both the natural beauty of Appalachia and the hopeless anger of the people trapped there in poverty…Unforgettable.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A page-turner with substance and depth, this is as suspenseful and entertaining as it is accomplished.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A fictional debut for a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, born and raised in West Virginia, whose love for the state, filled with natural beauty and deep poverty, pervades a mystery that has plenty of twists and turns and a shocking conclusion.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Selected for the September 2012 Indie Next List
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August 2012
  • Winner of the August 2012 AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
  • Winner of the 2013 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Allison | 2/18/2014

    " Set in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains, this debut mystery by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller is both atmospheric and fast-paced. The story centers around Belfa Elkins, a prosecuting attorney, who is strong, independent and doggedly determined to rid her community of the drug dealers who are dragging it's people further into the depths of despair and poverty. Little does Belfa know that her anti-drug crusade will bring death to her town and danger to her family. The plot has several twists and the author provides the reader with a haunting sense of place and great characters. I hope this book is just the first in a new series. I look forward to reading more of her stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Dana | 2/11/2014

    " This wasn't a bad debut--until the end. No spoilers other than to say the ending felt completely out of left field. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/10/2014

    " 3 elderly men are murdered in a West Virginia diner on a Saturday morning and no one knows why. The main character is the prosecuting attorney, Bell Elkins, a woman with a difficult past who has made it her mission to fight the increasing prescription drug trade. Her teenage daughter witnessed the murders and decides, on her own, to help find the killer. The book was much less about the mystery for me and more about Bell, the setting and the descriptions of desperate, multigenerational poverty. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Lois | 2/6/2014

    " I picked up this book because of the attractive cover. The story was a little thin with too much description. I guessed the culprit about half-way through. "

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