“Three people stood on the south bank of the Bitter River.” And we stand there, too, plunged immediately into this remarkable melding of urgent mystery story and literary novel. Nick Fogelsong is the sheriff of Acker’s Gap, a depressed burg in West Virginia with a sky-high unemployment rate and a plague of prescription drug addiction, surrounded by starkly gorgeous scenery. He is on the river directing the removal of a car spotted within the water. It feels like a routine morning until the sloshing tow truck operator finally reaches the car, where he finds a body inside.
Bell Elkins, the county’s prosecuting attorne