One of Us

One of Us

by Tawni O'Dell

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One of Us 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
I usually save opinion for the concluding paragraph, but this novel is so unusual that I can’t resist beginning with an evaluation. To begin with, the story develops in a most unexpected manner, wending its way with all sorts of twists and turns. Initially, one would expect a story about small town life, the hardships of a coal miner’s life, a small boy growing up and variations on the usual themes. It is all that and much more, written with simplicity and flair. And it’s a crime story that is really different and surprising Danny Doyle grew up in Lost Creek, PA, an Appalachian coal mining town, escaping to become a forensic psychologist of some renown. When he was five years old, his baby sister was found murdered and his mother convicted of the crime, serving 20 years in prison. And everyone believes she is crazy. Many years later, Danny returns to Lost Creek to see his 96-year-old grandfather, Tommy, who had just returned from the hospital after a bout with pneumonia. The author portrays the town, its inhabitants and the way of life from immigrant to victim of the coal mining interests with overwhelming detail and pathos. Danny’s return sets the stage for a denouement the reader could not possibly envision and is worthy of the highest praise. Sometimes, a book is “just” a good read. This one is a very good read, and is heartily recommended.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
From its front cover to its last page, prepare for an atmosphere that is full of dark secrets in a town that is breathing its death rattle. One of Us by Tawni O’Dell, a character driven plot filled with layer upon layer of history will leave its reader slightly unsettled as we are led through a maze of greed, deceit and haunting pain that began decades before. Like a barbed vine, the past has grown tendrils that continue to pierce the hearts, minds and lives of those caught in its twisted snare. Lost Creek is a worn out mining town, where there were two classes, the wealthy Dawes family who made their fortune on the backs of the poverty-stricken miners. Having run from Lost Creek and its nightmares, years before, a successful and famous psychologist reluctantly returns when he is told his remaining family needs him. As old memories resurface and Dr. Sheridan Doyle becomes immersed in both past and present entanglements, he is sucked back into the vortex of the drama that persists and the bad blood between the Doyles and the powerful Dawes family. Scarlet Dawes, the rich darling of the Dawes family has also returned, but her agenda is far more sinister as she strives to protect the unspeakable crimes committed that allowed her the luxuries she has always known. She is a mystery, unsettling and challenging to Danny (Sheridan) Doyle as he observes her skewed version of life. What Danny didn’t count on was how closely entwined their lives were or how twisted and mentally deranged the beautiful Scarlett was. Told from the POVs of Danny and Scarlett, this bone-chilling tale is slowly peeled back to reveal a rot that has destroyed the minds and lives of this small-minded town. Ms. O’Dell paints a grim picture of life in an impoverished town and how it has been affected throughout the years. Don’t expect many shining moments in this dark tale, but DO expect to find yourself engrossed in the brilliant style of this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this read. I normally get bored with stories that I can figure out what is going to happen and who done it, but the descriptives kept me reading. And I loved Wade.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Initially I found the book was boring but I'm so glad I stuck with it. I come from "coal country" myself so I understood the dynamic of miner versus coal "baron"; but this is no coal miner's daughter story. The plot is spelled out on the details page of the Nook so I won't bore you with repeating it. I would not call it a psychological "thriller" because the secrets are slowly revealed. If you get bored with descriptions of Irish immigrant coal miners, stick with it! You'll be glad you did & you will learn a little history of the brutal mining industry in the process!
FloridaBookie More than 1 year ago
Well written, with realistic descriptions of life in a hopeless Pennsylvania coal town where growing up and dying are equally opportunistic.
TheBibliophilicBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Never having read any of Tawni O’Dell’s work before, I was intrigued by the synopsis of ONE OF US. We all have the ghosts of our past, and Dr. Sheridan ‘Danny’ Doyle is no different. Now a successful and respected forensic psychologist, he was once just a poor boy growing up in Lost Creek with his mother in prison for murdering his baby sister and his father an abusive drunk. Now he’s back to help the only family who made a difference when he was young, his grandfather Tommy. The town of Lost Creek has its own ghosts – the Nellie O’Neill’s, Irish miners who were strung up for rebellion and murder. Now the Lost Creek gallows have claimed another victim and Danny decides to pursue the truth by assisting the only detective in town, his friend Rafe. Uncovering the secrets this town holds may bring up more truth than Danny can handle. ONE OF US is a good and definitely solid story. There isn’t tons of action, but a steady pace building up to a disquieting and disturbing ending. The setting and atmosphere of Lost Creek became its own character and lent itself well to the movement of the plot. ONCE OF US aptly demonstrates facts aren’t always truth and truth is stranger than fiction. I look forward to reading more of Ms. O’Dell’s work in the future!
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
One of us by Tawni O'Dell  This book could be shown in classrooms to express the sentiment of class struggles. The history of Union struggles at the turn of the century feature as the main structure of the book. Ten men were hung for riots and killings in a small mining town. The patriarch of the mining company was the enforcer whose spectacular execution of the rebellious miners marked the history of the small mining town. Four generations later it’s hard not to see the division of classism.  The wealthy Mine owners live in a monstrosity of an elegant house, one of many. The relatives of the Union men are poor barely struggling along.  The legacy of the family does not hold true for young Danny. He works and struggles earning a scholarship becoming a respected Psychologist. His family history has had more of an influence on his life. He has become a criminal psychologist to understand his mother’s struggle with sanity. This is a dark look into psychosis, and family responsibility.  The tragedy of the story will haunt the reader and bring to question social class struggle. 
Autumn2 More than 1 year ago
I received this book via NetGalley. After reading the blurb I really thought this book would be right up my alley. I wasn't truly on the edge of my seat until more towards the end as I was ready for the big reveal of a secret. There seems to be a killer, suspense all done within a small town. But it was more of a town that has been haunted by their past. It wasn't as exciting of a book for me as I hope. There are secrets that come to light but does it help those involved or does it hurt them?  I have to say I really liked the town name Lost Creek and how it made money was by mining. You don't hear about towns like those in books. I have to say I loved Tommy who was Danny Doyle's grandpa. He just had that witty personality about himself even though he doesn't play a major role within the story.  Danny has came back to check on his grandfather since he has gotten sick. While there, he enters into a murder or two, he learns that there is a secret between his family and the family that owns the mining company.  The characters are well written to where you can understand how they feel about certain things. You can see why Danny left Lost Creek and why he doesn't want to really go back. You get Scarlet who is a main character but she is cold and calculating, and you sure enough find out why. You get the story told by different points of characters and I thought that was pretty good for the author to do so you don't read from just one character. Overall great book to read.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
If you look up the term cold-hearted bastard in the dictionary, you’re liable to find a picture of Scarlet Dawes. She has evil figured out so well she could suck your soul out of your body from three feet away. And then she’d kick your decaying corpse with her stiletto heel while carrying her Gucci purse. She’s so evil that her mom resorted to the gin and tonic years ago (heavy on the gin light on the tonic), and her dad was born without a soul, and there’s an empty void where his heart should be. I bet their Christmas cards are wonderful. Dr. Sheridan Doyle knows how to fill out a pair of high end jeans and Cole Haan loafers and finish up the ensemble with a tailored coat. But he also still hasn’t completely outgrown his awkward phase now that’s he back home, and dealing with more than a few of his own demons. He’s a strong, confident man who still has a little boy lingering underneath his covers. By dividing the book in sections and including multiple perspectives, I really started to feel like one of the family, even if the clan was a bit demented, and would probably eat my heart and liver with a spoon. The pace was more of a slow, heated burn, like sitting out in the Pennsylvania sun for two hours too long in the middle of August. And my West Virginia roots appreciated the mining subplot and small town background. ONE OF US offered up plenty of enjoyment, even if it managed to produce a few nightmares in the process. So grab your sleeping pills and sunscreen because it’s liable to be a bumpy ride. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Set in a poverty stricken desolate mining town where generations of miners have lost hope for a better life, this story was not only boring but depressing as well. On top of that the writing style was choppy and hard to follow. There was too much description in between dialogue so much so that I kept forgetting what they were talking about to begin with. There are too many characters, too many generations of related characters, living & dead, made it a chore to read. Plus the small town smug mentality was especially irritating. The only interesting character didn't turn up until 3/4ths of the way through yet played a major roll in the story! So sorry I wasted so much time reading this book- a major letdown. Will never read another book by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read. It had a surprising prepared for a page turner. I enjoyed from start to end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like it started out kinda slow I had a little trouble getting into it, but boy once the story picked up I was hooked!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
This is the first Tawni O’ Dell novel I’ve read, and I must say I’m mightily impressed. The only thing that slightly bothered me was the constant brand name promotions of the clothes the two MCs were wearing, but at the same time it did manage to convey how these two characters stood apart from the people in their childhood hometown.  Danny and Scarlet were both raised in dysfunctional homes. Scarlet’s character simultaneously intrigued and repelled me, but mostly I was morbidly fascinated by her coldhearted rationalizations. She reminded me of Amy’s character in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and I think she was the main reason why I devoured this book. Danny is also a complex character, but in a vastly different way from Scarlet. I liked his back story and was captivated by the fact that his mentally unbalanced mother was accused of murdering his one-week old sister, yet through all her years in prison and when she was released she still maintained that the dead infant wasn’t her daughter.  More shocking than Scarlet’s loathsome actions are those of Danny’s father. But actually it is an array of characters that contributed to what happened all those many years ago before Scarlet’s nanny allegedly committed suicide; and all of it is intricately woven into a mining town’s rich history that spans generations. For me, this was the drawing point of the story that kept me riveted. The reader is steadily immersed in the history of Lost Creek and instead of one big reveal right at the end, we’re given pieces of the puzzle to fit together throughout the story. I think the author did a magnificent job with the construction of the plot.  I can’t really say that I related to any of these diverse characters, or that one stood out more for me than the other. They were all well thought out and splendidly developed, but as much as I’d like to say this novel’s strong point is the characters, it’s really the mystery of the murders, manipulation and identity theft, and finally the sweet irony and justice that comes into play to put the past to rest, that makes this book shine. One of Us is an atmospheric psychological thriller that delivers with every element that was neatly sown into its multi-faceted plot, and I’m looking forward to being thrilled by more of this author’s novels!   I received an eARC copy of One of Us by Tawni O’ Dell from Flux via NetGalley. It was provided to me for free in return for my honest and impartial opinion. Thank you for a wonderful read, Gallery Books!