The Cove starts with a mystery. A man has been hired by the government to drive out and notify residents that the area they live in was going to be intentionally flooded, and also to evict them. He goes into a place called “the cove”, happy that there is no one living there anymore.
The buildings are abandoned. When he uses the well to get some water he finds a human skull. Who was it? What happened? Ron Rash does, eventually, answer those questions for his readers. My first impulse, after finishing the story, was to go back and re-read the beginning portion where the skull was found.