Review: One of Us by Tawni O’Dell

About One of Us

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 Review

O’Dell has a way of capturing the psychological side of people which make her books so darn good. I couldn’t wait to read this book proving once again she never disappoints with her ease of psychological suspense. She had my attention from the start, before I knew it the last page was turned, yes, I was that caught up in both characters and narrative.

Hardscrabble small mining town where everybody knows your name and business. You understand the hardships and struggles miners contend with, such dangerous and laborious work. Miner or not, just about every resident has major issues, fractures, secrets. A town where dreams include escaping as you pursue bigger and better things than a boring no thrills life in podunk where you grew up. Great feel of the atmosphere and its residents.

O’Dell paints such a psychological profile of her characters giving them such dimensionality. Danny had an extremely troubling childhood, we learn he’s never recovered and the scars run deep. Given his profession you would believe he would have dealt with his past, come to terms so to speak, but he hasn’t. Danny’s mother has her share of heavy issues, and last but not least we have the evildoer who is as messed up and demented as they come. The term bad seed can be put to use describing this person.

One annoyance I found grating my nerves – the continual references of designer clothing. Unnecessary and aggravating, talk about over done.

The writing, the psychological edge, the characters, the small town atmosphere all made for an irresistible fascinating read.

About Tawni O’Dell426795817

Tawni O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels including Back Roads, which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection. Back Roads is currently in development to be made into a film by Michael Ohoven, the producer of the Academy-Award-winning, Capote. She is also a contributor to several anthologies including Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female. Her works have been published in over 40 countries.

photoTawniBabyMomDadTawni was born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she writes about with such striking authenticity. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and spent many years living in the Chicago area before moving back to Pennsylvania with her two children.


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