Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller is the 3rd mystery in the Bell Elkins series about the County prosecutor after she's returned to her Appalachian hometown in West Virginia (available August 26, 2014).
High summer in Acker's Gap, West Virginia—but no one's enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley—who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past.
In Summer of the Dead, the third Julia Keller mystery chronicling the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her Appalachian hometown, we also meet Lindy Crabtree—a coal miner's daughter with dark secrets of her own, secrets that threaten to explode into even more violence.
Acker's Gap is a place of loveliness and brutality, of isolation and fierce attachments—a place where the dead rub shoulders with the living and demand their due.
The flat-roofed shack was situated along a country road sunk deep in summer darkness, the kind of darkness that comes after a day of brash sunlight and thus seems more intense and deliberate than ordinary nightfall. The lights in the small tavern made it look, by odd contrast with that shadow-blackened road, like a living thing, shimmying and caterwauling and ready to leap up and lurch away, leaving behind a shallow hole and the sullen stink of piss.