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*Starred Review* The world intrudes cruelly on Acker's Gap, West Virginia, the hometown to which D.C. lawyer Bell Elkins has returned to try to make a difference. As county prosecutor, Bell is working with childhood friend, Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, on the murder of 16-year-old Lucinda Trimble when a potentially fatal shot is fired into the courthouse and soon followed by a tragedy at the local diner. The town mourns Lucinda bright, beautiful, bursting with potential, but pregnant and planning to marry her high-school boyfriend while both Bell and Nick display blind spots in the course of pursuing their investigation. The town is in shock after the diner incident, and Bell's theory about what may be behind it comes just a little too late to prevent further bloodshed. With her 17-year-old daughter, Carla, now living with Bell's ex in D.C. after the dangerous events in Keller's highly-praised A Killing in the Hills (2012), Bell occasionally longs for the excitement of the city, but a single compelling personal reason keeps her in Acker's Gap, however isolated it is. Once again, Keller combines masterful storytelling, a vivid sense of place the beauty and poverty of Appalachia a complex cast of characters, and a suspenseful, superbly executed plot that displays a depth rarely seen in mystery fiction.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal
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Keller's follow-up to A Killing in the Hills finds Ackers Gap, WV, prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins in something of a holding pattern. She's in a secret, casual relationship with a much younger man; her beloved daughter is living in Washington, DC, with Bell's ex-husband and his girlfriend; and Bell's still fighting the good fight against the prescription drug abuse that's destroying good men and women in her hometown. Then the body of a bright, beautiful, pregnant teenage girl is found in the river and evidence shows she was strangled first. Keller handles the main plot deftly, juggling suspects and motives with confidence and dexterity until the final reveal. Unfortunately, a somewhat ludicrous subplot involving an Iraqi terrorist and an old friend of Bell's defies credibility. Verdict Even an imperfect Keller novel is still well worth readers' time. Recommend to mystery lovers who enjoy richly drawn settings and whip-smart heroines.-Stephanie Klose, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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The murder of 16-year-old Lucinda Trimble, whose strangled body is found in a car in the Bitter River, propels Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Keller's worthy sequel to her well-received adult fiction debut, A Killing in the Hills (2012). As West Virginia prosecutor Bell Elkins and the rest of closely knit Acker's Gap struggle to fathom who could have wanted to kill the popular high school honor student, a sniper fires at the county courthouse, almost killing Bell's assistant. Days later, a devastating explosion levels Ike's diner, moments after the divorced attorney finished breakfast with her much younger lover, Clay Meckling. Suddenly, remote Acker's Gap seems under siege, with Bell, stalwart sheriff Nick Fogelsong, and their team scrambling to find answers before the next attack. Ultimately, some of them prove less interesting than the questions Keller, a native West Virginian, poses about the nature of friendship and family-as well as the engaging, unsentimentalized Appalachian community she has created. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.