Sorrow Road (Bell Elkins, #5) by Julia Keller
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Bell Elkins is an attorney working in small town America.
- Sorrow Road
- Fast Falls the Night
She is a divorced mother, in her forties. This is a place of neglect; of unemployment and of drug and alcohol abuse. She chooses to live there and to practice law. Bell is at the heart of the community.
The former sheriff, Nick Fogelsong, has been in the background supporting Bell emotionally, since she was a looked after child in the care system. Sorrow Road is the fifth book in this acclaimed series.
In this instalment, Bell becomes embroiled in the mystery of a death at a memory care facility.
A Killing in the Hills
A vulnerable elderly man dies. He was suffering from Alzheimers. On the surface, it looks like this was the death of a man at the end of his natural life. She wants Carla to stay here, but Carla wants to live with her dad, out of guilt and a desire to escape from telling her mother the truth. The other plot thread concerns an adult male, Albie Sheets, with the IQ of a small child that is accused of murdering his six-year-old friend, Tyler Bevins, a boy he plays with daily.
Bell is the prosecuting attorney, and she has concerns about this man's ability to understand the crime, and to comprehend right from wrong.
The answers to this crime were telegraphed too clumsily and visibly, and has remnants of older stories covered in numerous past novels. The author evidently did not feel the need to have the pathologist determine the cause of death of this little boy.
Either Acker's Gap or the author dropped the ball. Apparently, they look at a crime scene and decide cause of death on sight and sound?
SORROW ROAD by Julia Keller | Kirkus Reviews
On witness testimony exclusively? This made no sense to me.
It wasn't stated that the medical examiner didn't conduct an official autopsy, but he couldn't have, based on information that was revealed. The author jettisoned the law, creating an implausible narrative with unwieldy gaps.
Supposedly, Bell is an outstanding prosecuting attorney, but I only know that because the author declares but doesn't show us.
I see little evidence of intrepid crime-solving and questioning of witnesses--the little I do see was stock-in-trade. Moreover, perhaps my expectations were too high, but I thought a Pulitzer winner was going to write a fresh, bold story.
Instead, the graceless muddling left no room for tension, while melodrama, high emotions and boiler plate banality took its place. Rachel pals around with her good friend Melanie, and the two of them build a fort together. Rachel's father helps with the roof.
But that was all before he left for the war in Iraq. When Rachel's father comes back, all is not as it shoul Thirteen year old Rachel is a typical teenager. When Rachel's father comes back, all is not as it should be. Her father is not the same person he once was, and her family is unrecognizable to her. Family and friends, while mostly well-meaning, struggle to connect with the family. And just what DOES a normal family really look like, anyway?
Julia Keller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has managed to tell a heartbreaking story to middle grade readers in a sensitive but honest manner. Rachel, the narrator, is brutally honest in her feelings about her father and her family.
Her honesty was both refreshing and touching. Often, we try to whitewash pain and heartache with young readers. I found Rachel's voice to be strong and would use her as a mentor text with my students in writing characters. Keller is a master storyteller, and I can't wait to share this poignant book with my readers! Mom immediately stood up and went over and sat down on the floor next to Robbie. Shee gathered up all the parts of him in her arms like stray flowers that she'd somehow dropped and needed to put back together right away to restore the most beautiful bouquet in the world.
Nobody can tell you what it's really like. They can tell you stories and you can look at pictures, but you don't know. Being apart of a family is like being inside one of those snow globes, one of those pretty little things you turn upside down and shake back and forth to get the stuff inside to fall down like snow.
You can look out and the people outside can look in, but that's all you can do. You don't know what it feels like to be on the other side. Do parents know how much their children see and hear in a house? Not on purpose, but just because we're always around?
We move in and out of rooms and we drift through doorways and we slide into hidden spaces. We're smaller than they are, and quicker, too.