Bone on Bone by Julia Keller
'Belfa. Is that right? Unusual name.'
Bell nodded. She'd been fielding that inquiry or a version therof her entire life. It used to rile her when she was a kid--Yeah, granted, it's not Jane or Sue or Mary, but maybe you could just shut up about it--because, really, why should she give a damn what anybody else thought about her name?
She'd let go of that anger a long time ago. After all, it was unusual. People often mistook it for 'Belva.' Or, if a new teacher back in Acker's Gap High School had been calling the roll and thought it was a typo, she'd ask Bell how to spell it.
B-E-L-F-A? With an F?
Yeah. B-E-L-F-A. With an F. F as in--
Bell would stop herself just in time. Good way to get expelled.
I mentioned recently that I tend to 'hoard' some books by favorite authors and save them for a 'perfect' time for me. Julia Keller's series featuring Bell Elkins is one of those I might 'hoard' - which I did with this 7th entry. Ah yes. My good blogging friend Susan said it best here - it hit her in 'all the feels'. And I say - me too, me too. By the way, Susan is the one that convinced me through her wonderful reviews to try this series. I am deeply indebted. If you're interested in it, the first book is A Killing in the Hills, and you might not want to read any more of this post - spoilers, you know.
Bell Elkins' life is a lot different in this book than in the previous books of the series. She no longer has her job in Acker's Gap, West Virginia. She recently was released from prison. She's finishing up her community service requirement. And deciding what will come next in her life. Her friend, Rhonda, now is the prosecutor. And Jake Oakes, who used to be a deputy sheriff, is now a paraplegic. Acker's Gap though still remains in the grip of drugs and addiction. When the current sheriff asks Jake and Bell for help, they agree and perhaps a new season begins for all of them.
I loved seeing all the characters in Bone on Bone. Many from previous books are revisited or updated. Yes, there will be changes, but my guess is the author has left things open for new vistas and possibilities. The crime solving itself in this one wasn't particularly difficult, but it was poignant. Do I recommend this series? Yes, I do, absolutely. Try it, you might like it.
Bone on Bone, the next powerful chapter in Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Keller's beloved Bell Elkins series, sends readers headlong into the thick of a mystery as young as today's headlines -- but as old as the mountains that hold these lives in a tight grip.
How far would you go for someone you love? Would you die? Would you kill? After a three-year prison sentence, Bell Elkins is back in Acker's Gap. And she finds herself in the white-hot center of a complicated and deadly case -- even as she comes to terms with one last, devastating secret of her own.
A prominent local family has fallen victim to the same sickness that infects the whole region: drug addiction. With mother against father, child against parent, and tensions that lead inexorably to tragedy, they are trapped in a grim, hopeless struggle with nowhere to turn.
Bell has lost her job as prosecutor -- but not her affection for her ragtag, hard-luck hometown. Teamed up with former Deputy Jake Oakes, who battles his own demons as he adjusts to life as a paraplegic, and aided by the new prosecutor, Rhonda Lovejoy, Bell tackles a case as poignant as it is perilous, as heartbreaking as it is challenging.