I recently picked up A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller. Set in West Virginia, this mystery surrounds three murders related to drug violence, highlighting the issues that Appalachia has been facing with painkiller abuse.
I’m a sucker for a rural setting, especially an Appalachian one. And Keller does some interesting things with character conflict and point of view. But I didn’t finish the book. Instead of a review, I’ll provide this quote.
The morning was milky-gray and cold.
Head turned to peer out the back window, right arm stretched across the top of the passenger seat, Bell backed the Explorer out of her driveway. Once in the street, she gave a quick look around to make sure Shelton Avenue was clear — no kids, dogs, cats, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, or snapping turtles, all of which, at one time or another, she’d had to swerve to avoid when she squirted out of her driveway in a hurry — and then shifted from reverse into drive. All systems go.
In ten minutes she’d be on Route 6, climbing the side of the mountain, which meant accelerating her way into a series of dizzy, lurching turns of legendary peril.
If that sounds okay to you, then you should go pick up this book. If not… look somewhere else. This passage is typical of at least the first eight chapters.