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Fast Falls the Night: Bell Elkins    by Julia Keller order for
Fast Falls the Night
by Julia Keller
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Fast Falls the Night follows Sorrow Road as the sixth in Julia Keller's gritty mystery series starring prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins in Acker's Gap, West Virginia. This episode, based on a real-life event, centers on a series of heroin overdoses resulting from a tainted batch. We open the book to learn that 'This story takes place in the course of a single day.'

Though many of the double digit overdose victims are saved, several die. As Bell strives to stop further deaths in her Appalachian home town, she absorbs a shattering revelation about her own past, and must decide what to do about it. And she continues to struggle with her feelings for her lover, Clay Meckling, who is pressing her for commitment and marriage - he's not prepared to wait much longer.

Along with the horror that unfolds in these sudden deaths in the community, comes disagreement between law enforcement officials, some of whom don't believe that drug addicts should take up their scarce resources. Bell's response is that drug addicts are still human beings, and that the moral character of a murder victim (killed by whoever tainted their drugs) is irrelevant.

On a lighter note, we watch as romance slowly blossoms between two first responders - deputy sheriff Jake and African-American paramedic Molly. As always, Julia Keller lyrically weaves several intriguing plot strands into a complex and thought provoking pattern, with a surprising conclusion involving more than one cliffhanger. This rewarding series is very well worth your time.

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