Bitter River by Julia Keller

bitter riverThe murder of a teenage girl brings outrage to the small West Virginia town of Acker’s Gap.

Lucinda Trimble, despite being the daughter of the town eccentric, was full of promise.  She excelled at sports, scored well in school, and had a sweet personality.  When her car is dredged from the Bitter River with her body in it, the case is one more among many for prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins, Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, and their overworked county office.

Bell has other things to contend with, in particular a personal life.  After her own teenage daughter moves back in with her father in Washington D.C., Bell starts dating a much younger man.  Considering her tendency as a natural workaholic, the stress of keeping her new relationship discreet, plus maintaining a long distance contact with her daughter, has made a nearly sleepless life for Bell.

There’s also another face, another kink in the story – Matt Harless, a mutual friend of Bell and her ex-husband. He is facing an early retirement and wants to spend a few weeks winding down in the Acker’s Gap area.  Matt has a back story that’s varied, secretive, and vaguely sinister, and certain bad things happen during his sojourn in the area – gracious plenty to sorely try the soul of this small community.

The author introduced us to Acker’s Gap in A Killing in the Hills, and in Bitter River, the action doesn’t let up.  In this alleged sleepy town, intrigue is as thick as the fog in a valley morning, everyone knows everybody else, but too many have secrets.

(William Hicks, Information Services)






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