Select one of the keywords
Summer of the Dead    by Julia Keller order for
Summer of the Dead
by Julia Keller
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Summer of the Dead follows Bitter River as the third of Julia Keller's noir mysteries starring West Virginia prosecutor Belfa 'Bell' Elkins, a strong heroine with grit and guts. Divorced from her lobbyist husband Sam (who has been joined by their daughter Carla in Washington, D.C.), Bell lives and works in small town Acker's Gap. She works with town sheriff Nick Fogelsong, who is also a close friend and father figure.

In the previous episode, Bell's lover, the much younger Clay Meckling, was terribly injured in an explosion and their relationship is in limbo. And Bell found her her older sister Shirley, who was jailed for thirty years after killing their abusive father to protect her younger sister. Bell had long searched for her, but it's not easy now having the reckless Shirley in her life. Bell is too controlling as Shirley seeks to make a life for herself in her own way.

As Summer of the Dead opens, Nick, Bell and Bell's assistant Rhonda investigate a series of murders whose motivations are obscure. As this develops the author introduces readers to valiant young coal miner's daughter Lindy Crabtree, who does her best to cope all on her own with her father Odell's increasing dementia. She worries about what her increasingly violent father does when he goes out at night on his own. As matters escalate, former West Virginia Governor Riley Jessup comes to town to donate a new MRI unit to their medical centre (his beloved grandson has very serious health problems).

Julia Keller masterfully pulls these plot threads together and has Bell race against time to save someone totally innocent and totally vulnerable. Along the way she comes to terms with some of her own demons. Summer of the Dead is another excellent mystery - if you haven't found this series yet, jump in!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews