"A Killing in the Hills," by Julia Keller, and "After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy family 1968 to the Present," by J. Randy Taraborrelli.
In her first mystery novel, Chicago Tribune journalist Julia Keller has produced a hard-to-put-down thriller set in a distressed part of rural West Virginia. Drug abuse is a growing menace in the town of Acker's Gap, where three old men are gunned down in a restaurant. The mystery lands in the lap of Bell Elkins, the local prosecutor, a job she sought after divorcing her husband and returning to the town with her teenage daughter.
Bell, with her childhood of not-so-secret family violence, is just one of the well-drawn characters in this mystery. Good writing and a tense plot line make up for the story's implausible climax. By then it doesn't matter much, because Bell's pursuit of a heartless, gap-toothed killer will have you in its bite.
DAVID SHAFFER, BUSINESS REPORTER
The author who brought you "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot" has written an ambitious (to say the least) chronicle of the entire Kennedy family -- parents Joe and Rose, their nine children, 30 grandchildren and dozens of great-grandchildren, with emphasis on the years after Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The book is full of delicious inside stories about Jackie and Aristotle Onassis, Ethel's out-of-control kids, Ted's rivalry with brother-in-law Sarge Shriver, the story of Rosemary and her lobotomy, multitasking Eunice and her lifetime passion to serve, JFK Jr.'s love life and his tragic plane crash, and repeated stories of addiction and triumph, and addiction and tragedy, and much more.
If you can't get enough of the Kennedys, this book is for you. The author seems to have done his research, conducting hundreds of interviews with both the well-known and the anonymous people who worked for the Kennedys through the years. Taraborrelli does a good job of documenting the dark side as well as the good. And the book has lots of good photos.
PAMELA HUEY, COPY EDITOR