Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One of Us

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell
Gallery Books: 8/19/2014
eBook, 304 pages

ISBN-13: 9781476755878

From the New York Times bestselling author of Back Roads comes a fast-paced literary thriller about a forensic psychologist forced to face his own demons after discovering his small hometown terrorized by a serial killer.
Dr. Sheridan Doyle—a fastidiously groomed and TV-friendly forensic psychologist—is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office whenever a twisted killer’s mind eludes other experts. But beneath his Armani pinstripes, he’s still Danny Doyle, the awkward, terrified, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family, plagued by panic attacks and haunted by the tragic death of his little sister and mental unraveling of his mother years ago.
Returning to a hometown grappling with its own ghosts, Danny finds a dead body at the infamous Lost Creek gallows where a band of rebellious Irish miners was once executed. Strangely, the body is connected to the wealthy family responsible for the miners' deaths. Teaming up with veteran detective Rafe, a father-like figure from his youth, Danny—in pursuit of a killer—comes dangerously close to startling truths about his family, his past, and himself.
My Thoughts:

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell is a highly recommended psychological thriller that, although light on the suspense, is extremely well written.

Famous TV forensic psychologist, Dr. Sheridan Doyle is currently living in Philadelphia, but he grew up as an abused child in a dysfunctional family in a coal mining town. Lost Creek is famous for the gallows where some rebellious miners, the Nellie O'Neills, were hanged in the late 19th century. The mine is still in possession of the Dawes family, the same wealthy family who owned it years ago. Sheridan or Danny as he is known in Lost Creek, grew up hearing the stories from his beloved grandfather, Tommy, the one person who saved him from his father. When he was growing up, Danny's mother was in jail for murder.

Danny is back in Lost Creek to see 96 year old Tommy when he discovers a body at the gallows. This discovery leads the town to wonder if there is a paranormal explanation for the murder or is something else going on? As in any small town, everyone knows who is related and there are plenty of secrets people are hiding. It's also clear that the town of Lost Creek has obsessed over the story of the doomed miners for years.

The story is told from the viewpoints of Danny, a descendant of one of the miners, and Scarlet Dawes, daughter of the wealthy family who owns the mine. Clearly, Danny is as psychologically damaged as the killer.

The writing is excellent and O'Dell does a nice job developing her characters in this very much character driven story. Basically, there is no great mystery here regarding who the guilty party is and even much of the why is not that surprising. This is not a novel like Gone Girl or even one with a great deal of suspense. Rather is is more a novel of psychological insight into several damaged characters. It also brings to light the effects of poverty on the residents of the small coal mining town. It is an imminently readable and compelling novel.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of
Gallery Books for review purposes.

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