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The Cold Way Home by Julia Keller

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The town of Akers Gap, West Virginia, and the character, Bell Elkins, have made Julia Keller into one of West Virginia’s most prominent contemporary authors. This is her eighth novel to depict that town and that protagonist. Booklist’s starred review affirms that “Keller’s Bell Elkins series sets a standard for evocation of place and for the sensitive portrayals of its characters, with Bell the most masterfully drawn of all. This is introspective, literary crime fiction at its best.”  USA Today proclaims, “It’s wonderful to see a mystery series as literary and reflective as this one flourish.” Publishers Weekly comments on The Cold Way Home: “This is a strong addition to the series that can easily be read as a standalone.” This novel provides ample food for thought as a dead body is found amidst the ruins of a former psychiatric hospital for the poor on the outskirts of Akers Gap.  Detective Bell Elkins, a former prosecutor with a subsequent criminal record, cannot solve this mystery without considering the role of the asylum in the history of this West Virginia town. “Delivered with Keller’s trademark eloquence and sense of morality―and a stunning twist―The Cold Way Home exemplifies literary worth.” Fredericksburg Freelance Star. The versatile Dr. Julia Keller (PhD in literature from The Ohio State University) chaired the jury for the Pulitzer in criticism in 2012 and garnered a Pulitzer herself as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. She was born and raised in Huntington and received her Bachelors and Masters at Marshall University there. She now divides her time between Chicago and a small Ohio town.

New York: Minotaur/St. Martin’s, 2019. 320 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.