The Cold Way Home – Julia Keller

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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.

Addendum:: I just posted reviews on some of the retail sites, and was elated to learn that this is actually BOOK 8 in a series!! That made my day!! 🙂