Last Ragged Breath (Hardcover)
A Novel (Bell Elkins Novels #4)
Minotaur Books, 9781250044747, 384pp.
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
From the night-black depths of a coalmine to the sun-struck peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, from a riveting murder mystery to a poignant meditation on the meaning of love and family, the latest novel in the critically acclaimed series strikes out for new territory: the sorrow and outrage that spring from a real-life chapter in West Virginia history.
Royce Dillard doesn't remember much about the day his parents-and one hundred and twenty-three other souls-died in the 1972 Buffalo Creek disaster. He was only two years old when he was ripped from his mother's arms. But now Dillard, who lives off the grid with only a passel of dogs for company, is fighting for his life one more time: He's on trial for murder.
Prosecutor Bell Elkins faces her toughest challenge yet in this haunting story of vengeance, greed and the fierce struggle for social justice. Richly imagined, vividly written and deeply felt, Julia Keller's Last Ragged Breath is set in West Virginia, but it really takes place in a land we all know: the country called home.
About the Author
Praise For Last Ragged Breath: A Novel (Bell Elkins Novels #4)…
“What particularly distinguishes Julia Keller's series about Bell Elkins, a West Virginia prosecutor, is its sense of social conscience...powerfully affecting when matched with the right character and story...It's wonderful to see mystery series as literary and reflective as this one flourish.” —USA Today
“Keller crafts a cracking whodunnit with many a red herring, but her real accomplishment is the unflinching depiction of rural poverty and the ways the inhabitants of Acker's Gap hold on to their dignity despite few and terrible options.” —Oprah.com
“A satisfying mystery must excel at plot, people and prose, and Keller masters all aspects...Summer of the Dead confirms that this immensely talented writer summons her best, and West Virginia's best, in this chillingly beautiful novel.” —The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Julia Keller's third novel set in the Appalachian community of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, expertly explores how people in small towns hide in plain sight many of their flaws, hopes and even a propensity for violence. Keller's insights into the vagaries of families provide a solid foundation as the character-driven Summer of the Dead delivers a plot rich with believable action and intriguing twists.” —Associated Press
“Keller conveys smalltown mind-sets with a folksy style that richly evokes a part of Appalachia still grappling with its past.” —Publishers Weekly
“A beautifully crafted mystery in which Keller explores love, hate, and poverty in a place of stunning natural beauty with pockets of overwhelming ugliness. The ending may leave you in tears.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)