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  Matt Harless tells Bell that no place in the world—not even an isolated town like Acker’s Gap—is separate from the rest of the world these days. What does he mean by that? How do the book’s final chapters prove that?


  Love can be a creative force—and a destructive one, too. Which relationships in the book bear this out, and how?


  Why do you think Bell’s sister Shirley won’t come home? What forces are holding her back?
 

Discussion-starters for bookclubs

  Belfa Elkins is a know-it-all with a permanent chip on
her shoulder. But she's also funny and smart and fanatically loyal to her friends. Do you think you'd seek out her company in real life?


  Is Bell a good mother? (And what does the phrase "a good mother" even mean?) Do we have different standards for women and men, when it comes to the work/family balance?


  Bell and her nemesis, the man who calls himself Chill, seem very different: She's a prosecutor; he's a murderous scumbag. But are they really that different? What are the similarities between them? If things had gone differently
for Bell, might she have ended up the way Chill did?
And vice versa?
 
UPCOMING
CONTACT

A Killing in the Hills

Bitter River

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WHAT’S COOKIN’?
Suggestions on what to serve
at your bookclub meeting.UK_Books.html
UK EDITIONS
  What is Bell's responsibility to her sister Shirley? And what is Lindy Crabtree's duty to her father? How do we decide what we ought to do for others—and
at what point might those actions harm both ourselves and the people we think we are helping?


  A major theme in the novel is a corrupt former West Virginia Governor named Riley Jessup and his impact on Acker's Gap. Are there recent examples from real life of politicians whose greed has harmed the people they were elected to serve?


  After a discouraging day in court, Bell thinks,
"The law wasn't there just to keep the bad guys in line. It was there to keep the good guys in line, too."What does she mean by that? How does Bell's quick temper affect her professional and personal life?
 

Summer of the Dead

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