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Extended Audio Sample A Killing in the Hills: A Novel Audiobook, 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: August 2012 ISBN: 9781469216447
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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 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. “Shannon McManus does a terrific job narrating Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller’s debut novel. …McManus handles the various ages, accents, and genders with controlled enthusiasm, delivering a gripping performance of Keller’s many shocking plot twists and breathtaking descriptions of Appalachia’s beauty. First-rate listening.” - Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine Download and start listening now!

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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)

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

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryellen Woodside | 2/2/2014

    " This is Julia Keller's first mystery and it is a great one. It takes place in a small town in the mountains of West Virginia. Bell Elkins is the prosecuting attorney for the improvished county. When three elderly men are killed in the local fast food joint, Bell is determined to help find the killer. Little does she know, she's his next target. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne Radcliffe | 1/30/2014

    " First mystery for Julia Keller was great. Look forward to reading more from her. Enjoyed the West Virginia setting, the strong characters and the theme. A very surprising ending, I was totally surprised. Well written and had me hooked right away. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynette Barfield | 1/23/2014

    " I thought the book was quite good. I got a view of appalachia through the authors words. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Monica | 1/20/2014

    " This book was so well written. I was totally floored by the twist at the end and can't wait for the next book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 1/18/2014

    " I am not going to write a full review of this book because I am hoping that it will be re-edited before publication in August. It has a lot of potential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maegan | 1/13/2014

    " I read this book in the space of about 6 hours. If you're going to start it, be prepared to read all of it then and there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue Scheve Zerjal | 1/10/2014

    " I look forward to more of her novels "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 12/20/2013

    " A very good first mystery, that I hope will turn into a series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie Angel | 12/7/2013

    " 3.5--interesting, fresh characters, especially the teenaged daughter. Setting in the west virginia hills is well done. Hope she writes a sequel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shaunna | 10/25/2013

    " This is a new mystery series, I look forward to more from this author. The audio was excellant, the narrator does a great of getting that Virginian accent without giong overboard. Good first book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 4/27/2013

    " Pretty good first novel. A little overdramatic but great twist at the end. I also have a bias b/c its set in West Virginia right outside of Pittsburgh so there is some familiarity with the area and people. I hope she comes along with a sequel soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Kennedy | 4/14/2013

    " This was very good and extremely hard to put down. Written from both perspectives: a 17-year-old girl and her County Prosecutor mother, we see a slice of life in a small West Virginia town that's being overrun by illegal pharmaceutical drug sellers. Fascinating and beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 4/1/2013

    " Not a lot of surprises in this one. There were too many story lines and I think if Keller had stuck to one this book would have been amazing rather than mediocre. I'm assuming that there will be more to come since the end left major gaps. This is a good, quick vacation read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobby | 1/28/2013

    " I really, REALLY wanted to like this book, because I've followed Julia Keller's columns in the Sunday Chicago Tribune for so many years. But really, it wasn't that great -- perhaps because it's her first novel/mystery. I'm hoping her next will be better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Oswald | 1/10/2013

    " good stuff, and this is the first book "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martha Fitch | 12/30/2012

    " I enjoy mysteries but want them to give me a group of authentically voiced and reasonably complex characters. This was not what I found in this book. Instead the characters were stereotypical modern Appalachian people whose dialog was hokey and cartoonish for the most part. It was a waste of time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 10/17/2012

    " not bad, well written and characters you cared about "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/5/2012

    " Predictable plot with a cliched cast of characters. I do not understand the praise for this book. "

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About the Author
Author Julia Keller

Julia Keller was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Ohio. In her career as a journalist, she won the Pulitzer Prize for a three-part series she wrote for the Chicago Tribune about a small town in Illinois rocked by a deadly tornado. A Killing in the Hills was her first mystery.

About the Narrator

Shannon McManus, award-winning narrator, is a Los Angeles–based actor, writer, and voice artist. Her natural vocal abilities and extensive theater training have led to work in audiobook narration, commercial voice-over, and animation. Critical praise includes an Audiofile Earphones Award and a Publishers Weekly Listen Up! Award in children’s and young adult fiction.