Acker's Gap is a small town in West Virginia; one of those towns where, not only does everyone know your name, but they also know your business. When Lucinda Trimble is found in a car submerged in the Bitter River, the shock waves are felt across the county.
Lucinda is a well-known 16-year-old local girl. Sheriff Nick Fogelsong and county prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins have their hands full trying to figure out who would murder the young, pregnant girl.
They are also dealing with their own personal issues. Bellís daughter moved in with her husband and his wife, She is also looking for her older sister who just got out of prison, and she is struggling with a 15-year difference in her new relationship with a younger man.
The sheriff not only must break the news of the drowning to Lucindaís mother, but his wife is struggling with a mental illness and needs his constant attention.
Then, a catastrophic event happens that literally shakes the whole town sending physical vibrations throughout the county. It doesnít take long for the sheriff and prosecutor to realize something more frightful is happening in their community. Will they be able to determine who is causing disruption to their lives before more deaths unsettle the town and disturb the peace?
Bitter River was written by Julia Keller, best-selling author of A Killing in the Hills. Keller has written a strong story about small town living and the people who live a hard-scrabbled life in the mountains of West Virginia. She has made good use of descriptive passages that show a strong sense of place and a feeling of being in the midst of the action.
The reader will feel like they are part of the landscape, the mountains, rivers, and life of a small town. They have a birds-eye view of the interactions between the residents of Raythune County.
As in any good mystery, Bitter River takes a few turns along the way leading to a surprise ending, or two. I'm usually pretty good at knowing who "did it" before the end of a book, but this one took me by surprise.
Also, in the closing chapter the author wisely sets up a probable story line for a next book. Bitter River is not a quick read, but it will keep readers turning pages.
A special thank you goes to the Amazon Vine program for providing a complimentary copy of Bitter River for our review. If you are interested in either book in this continuing series, they are available at Amazon.com.