Bel Reviews: Julia Keller's "A Killing in the Hills"


The title got me going on this book. A killing in the hills evokes images of houses hidden away in remote places and some seriously not nice things happening to the occupants. It seems I’m not completely off target with this tale of how drugs can leave their mark on small back water communities.

“Bell Elkins left a broken teenager, savaged by a past she couldn’t forget. But, as prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, Bell is back and determined to help clean up the only home she has ever known.

As winter sets in and her daughter is witness to a shocking triple murder, Bell finds her family in danger. Can she uncover the truth before her world is destroyed again?”

Acker’s Gap, in my mind, is one of those picture postcard towns you pass through to get somewhere else. You promise to visit someday, but never do. I like to imagine what life would be like for people who live in places like these, because for at least 6 months I was one of them. Living in a sneeze-and-you’ll-miss-it town is generally pretty quiet, but in comparison to my peaceful experience, Acker’s Gap is on its way to hell, complete with a road paved with good intentions.

The setting really holds its own and adds its own brand of stumbling blocks, due to remoteness and socio-economics.

The relationship between Bell and her daughter, Carla, is at times excruciatingly awkward, and I seriously doubt (hope!) if any teenager would actually behave as Carla did. Mum is a workaholic and I find it incredulous that nobody tells her to take one darn minute and just listen to what Carla has to say.

I flew through this stand-alone book in less than 48 hours and though some sections were a tad slow, it mainly bounds along at a steady pace. The body count is getting up there and the gore is nicely shocking.

So if you’ve ever wondered like I have, about the people, who live in those small towns, give A Killing in the Hills a read. This book would be perfect for those long nights by the fire at the most remote Bed and Breakfast you can find.

Paperback, 272 pages

Published August 30th 2012 by Headline (first published August 21st 2012)

ISBN 0755392868 (ISBN13: 9780755392865)


  • Krista

    I am adding this to my to read list, great review!

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