Posts filed under ‘50 page fail’

Gosh darn rubber bands and shoelaces – “A Killing in the Hills” by Julia Keller

“A Killing in the Hills” by Julia Keller, Published in 2012

I knew this was going to go terribly wrong when the opening act of this book is three old men getting shot in a fast food joint and after reading this attempt at what should have been a riveting opener I thought “what’s on t.v. tonight?”

Ms. Keller is trying really, really hard to show the reader what a great writer she is and I have no doubt that is true. But her characters are so cliché it is just painful. Let’s review:

  • There is Bell, our heroine, a hard-working attorney trying to seek justice against all odds but still trying to overcome a storied past and a broken heart.
  • Carla, Bell’s angst-ridden teen daughter, who is on the brink of making bad life choices but can still be saved.
  • Sheriff Fogelsong, a good old boy with a heart of gold who has remained true to his sense of justice.
  • The elderly neighbor who is a sweetheart and in remission from cancer – she is obviously going to die about three-quarters into the book, I just know it.

While Keller hits some good emotions and descriptions in her book then she writes things like “the case…was a daunting one, fraught with moral and legal dilemmas as tightly tangled as miscellaneous string and single shoelaces and ancient rubber bands nested in the back of a kitchen drawer.”  I guess I was previously unaware of the close connection between jumbled rubber bands and moral dilemmas. Thank you Keller for your clever turn of phrase.  But even being annoyed with this type of writing, I kept reading, hoping the story would carry the day.

Then, around page 70, Keller writes “Fashion advice for this time of the year generally came down to one word: layers.  It was critical to have options. To not commit to anything you can’t shed the instant it doesn’t work anymore. Not such bad advice for a marriage, either, she thought.” And at that I laughed so hard my stomach hurt, I closed the book, and turned the T.V. on. while remaining vigilant lest my rubber band dilemmas get the best of me.

English: Rubber bands in different colors. Stu...

English: Rubber bands in different colors. Studio photo taken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Other reviews to check out (they actually read the whole book and liked it):

From Reactions to Reading 

From Jenn’s Bookshelves

From Book’d Out


February 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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