The Cold Way Home (Bell Elkins Series #8)

The Cold Way Home (Bell Elkins Series #8)

by Julia Keller


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"[An] emotion-charged mystery.... Keller's sleuths are easy to like and the murder story is moving; but the object of fascination here is Wellwood, a state-run mental institution with a dark history as a repository for 'rebellious, unruly women.'" —The New York Times Book Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Julia Keller welcomes readers back to West Virginia, where her lyrical and moving stories of the people of her native state have unfolded since A Killing in the Hills, the acclaimed first novel in the series.

Deep in the woods just outside Acker's Gap, West Virginia, rises a ragged chunk of what was once a high stone wall. This is all that remains of Wellwood, a psychiatric hospital for the poor that burned to the ground decades ago. And it is here that Bell Elkins – prosecutor turned private investigator – makes a grim discovery while searching for a missing teenager: A dead body, marred by a ghastly wound that can only mean murder.

To solve the mystery of what happened in these woods where she played as a child, Bell and her partners – former sheriff Nick Fogelsong and former deputy Jake Oakes – must confront the tangled history of Wellwood and its dark legacy, while each grapples with a private torment. Based on a true chapter in the troubled history of early treatment for psychiatric illness, The Cold Way Home is a story of death and life, of despair and hope, of crime and – sometimes, but not always – punishment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250191229
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Series: Bell Elkins Series , #8
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 22,204
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Julia Keller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and former cultural critic at the Chicago Tribune, is the author of many books for adults and young readers, including A Killing in the Hills, the first book in the Bell Elkins series and winner of the Barry Award for Best First Novel (2013); Back Home; and The Dark Intercept. Keller has a Ph.D. in English literature from Ohio State and was awarded Harvard University’s Nieman Fellowship. She was born in West Virginia and lives in Ohio.

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The Cold Way Home (Bell Elkins Series #8) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
SharoninAZ 13 days ago
This is the third Belfa Elkins book of Keller's that I have read, and they are all excellent. Belfa (Bell) is a strong female character. Formerly a prosecutor, Bell is now working with two friends (Jake and Nick) as private investigators in Ackers Gap, West Virginia. In Keller's talented hands, Ackers Gap is as much a character as Bell and the others. In fact, as a reader, I felt overwhelmed by the grayness and coldness that is WV winter. I also felt overwhelmed by the hard times that places like WV are going through right now, with unemployment and hard times and opioids. Keller draws quite a picture., and honestly, I felt thoroughly depressed as I read The Cold Way Home. As the novel begins, Bell and her partners are hired by the mother of a teenaged girlfriend who is missing. As Bell searches for the missing girl, she stumbles upon a dead body deep in the woods of Ackers Gap, on the site of a demolished sanitarium. The town sheriff then hires Bell and company to help her solve the mystery of the murdered woman. As opposed to other books in the series that I have read, I just couldn't really get into this one. I felt that the murderer's motivation was really weak and not at all compelling. Nonetheless, fans of the series will definitely want to pick up this latest offering. It's also an easy book to read as a stand-alone My thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan for providing an advance soft copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
Anonymous 19 days ago
The novels that Julia Keller, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, writes are never easy reads...but, boy, are they good! Each book is set in Ackers Gap, West Virginia, a place that faces far too many harsh realities. There are many drug problems, crushing poverty, a lack of resources and yet...people persevere. This title is the eighth in the series which began with A Killing in the Hills. Long time readers will want to catch up with Bell Elkins, a former attorney (to know why "former" you need to read the earlier books), Jake, who is disabled (to know why, you need to read the earlier books) and Nick, the former sheriff. The three now run their investigative firm. Each has a rich and complex backstory of life events and relationships. Because of the depth of backstory, old readers, like me, are eager for updates but you can also read this novel as a stand alone. I have learned to trust this author, even when the official book description sounds bleak. In this one, the devastating story has to do with a former hospital where lobotomies were performed on women who were "troublesome" and certainly not capable of giving consent or even asked about consent. This historical malpractice figures in the story that takes place in the current day even though the hospital has been long closed. So...oh, no is what I thought. Not sure I can go there but...I am so glad to have read this title. There is despair in this one but also glimmers of hope. There is also a death to be investigated, lots of local color and beautifully delineated characters, even minor ones such as a trucker and a librarian. I give The Long Way Home 5 stars, not something I do often. I recommend it most highly. Many, many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this book in exchange for an honest review. I am already longing for the next in the series.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Ever since her first book in the Bell Elkins series, Killing in the Hills, I’ve been a huge Julia Keller fan and even on her 8th book in the series, she does not disappoint. Keller vividly paints a picture of Ackers Gap, WV, with all its local color. Always when reading her books, I feel like am a part of the setting. In the Cold Way Home, Bell’s story continues as she and her two friends and business partners try to solve a murder that takes them on a scavenger hunt into Ackers Gap’s sordid and not talked about past. Each character is brought to life and very real, including Bell herself. Keller is genius in creating just the right amount of suspense throughout and this was a definite page-turner. The series and writing style is similar to that of Paul Doiron and Allen Eskens. I loved everything about this and highly recommend it to all fans of contemporary mysteries. This is a series not to be missed! Many thanks to Netgalley, Minotaur Books and Julia Keller for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
TropicalDelusions 28 days ago
The Cold Way Home – Julia Keller It’s another night in Ackers Gap, WV, and Deputy Brinksneader is ready to call his shift done, and head home to his wife’s cooking, when a call comes in to assist with an incident at the Burger Boss. Upon entering, it becomes apparent that paramedics are treating yet another drug overdose in the grimy bathroom stall. Until they find a just birthed infant in the toilet… Meanwhile Bell, a former prosecutor, Nick, the former Sheriff & Jake, a deputy who is wheelchair bound after line of duty injury, are settling into their investigative office to review their ongoing cases. Most pressing is the disappearance of a young teenager. Following a lead, Bell walks deep in the woods to the grounds of an old psychiatric hospital in search of the missing Dixie Sue, and stumbles across a prone body that bears the evidence of a homicide. As local police arrive and turn the victim over, Bell realizes it’s not the missing teen at all – its Darla Gilley, the sister of a local, Joe Gilley. But why in the world would she be up at the old Wellwood Hospital site? And who would want to kill her? Why? Nick & Bell visit the family in hopes of finding some clues, and what they learn is perplexing. As they work to find the missing teen, they also work to solve Darla’s murder, As Bell digs deep, she finds and old diary, and learns some very unpleasant things about the old psychiatric hospital in the woods…and in doing so, she inadvertently crosses paths with a killer. A killer determined to keep the past where it belongs… This is my first novel by Julia Keller and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it! The main characters are all likeable and I enjoy the insights into their pasts as well as who they are today, particularly the dilemma that Jake and girlfriend Molly have to contend with. I do not know if this is a standalone or not, but I sincerely hope that these characters appear in future works – I’d love to learn more of Nick & Bell’s past, which she alludes to a bit in this story. So, here’s hoping!! Ms. Keller gets an A+ from this reader! I look forward to reading more of her works! I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Loved this. I’ve read the whole series and don’t like like waiting for the next one