Coal. Julia Keller plays me like a fiddle. Just when I expected that the fourth installment in her Bell Elkins series of mystery novels set in West Virginia would be on cruise control, Keller offers her best novel yet titled, Last Ragged Breath. Having proven how well she does character, plot and descriptive language that keeps an intelligent reader engaged, she finally reveals the story of coal in this part of the world. She does it ruthlessly and with great skill, approaching a preachy tone only once or twice. She really finds a way to express what home can mean, and how callous behavior by companies can destroy communities. Readers of the series will likely love this one, and new readers can either start here or read from the beginning.
Rating: Four-star (I like it)
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