Nobody has received more recognition and popularity in writing contemporary mystery novels set in West Virginia than Julia Keller. This novel, the latest in her series that features the protagonist, Bell Elkins, has an enthusiastic built-in audience ready and waiting for it. USA Today notes that “what particularly distinguishes Julia Keller’s series about Bell Elkins, a West Virginia prosecutor, is its sense of social conscience.. . Powerfully affecting when matched with the right character and story.” Michael Connelly notes “Bell Elkins is one of the most fully realized characters in fiction today.” Oprah.com says, “her real accomplishment is the unflinching depiction of rural poverty and the ways the inhabitants of Acker’s Gap hold on to their dignity despite few and terrible options.” Booklist summed it up: “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.” This book takes place on the day it becomes clear that contaminated drugs are causing multiple deaths in Aker’s Gap. Julia Keller was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, and received both a bachelors and a masters from Marshall University there. She became a reporter for Jack Anderson in D.C. and for the Ashland Daily Independent and the Columbus Dispatch, and received her doctorate in English Literature from Ohio State. While working for the Chicago Tribune she received a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. Her first book was a biography of the inventor of the Gatling Gun published in 2009.
New York: Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2017. 286 pages. Hardback in dust jacket