One of Us

One of Us

by Tawni O'Dell
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Overview

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

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.

In this masterfully told psychological thriller in the vein of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the past and present collide to put Lost Creek’s long-lived ghosts to bed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476755878
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 08/19/2014
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

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. She is also a contributor to several anthologies, including Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female. Her works have been published in more than forty countries.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for One of Us includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Tawni O’Dell. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

From New York Times bestselling author Tawni O’Dell comes a fast-paced thriller where a forensic psychologist is forced to face his own demons when he returns to his childhood home of Lost Creek to find the community terrorized by a serial killer.

Dr. Sheridan Doyle is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office whenever a twisted killer’s mind eludes other experts. But beneath is accomplished exterior, he’s still Danny Doyle, the awkward, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family, haunted by a past marked by tragedy.

When Danny returns to Lost Creek, his hometown, he comes face to face with the town’s legacy of violence when a dead body is discovered at the famous gallows where the Nellie O’Neills, band of rebellious Irish miners were executed one hundred years prior. The body also has an eerie connection to the wealthy mining family behind the deaths of the Nellie O’Neills. When Danny teams up with veteran detective Rafe to get to the bottom of the crimes, he realizes he’s coming dangerously close to uncovering secrets of his own past.

In this masterfully told psychological thriller, the past and the present collide to put Lost Creek’s long-lived ghosts to bed.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Why do you think O’Dell chose to call her novel One of Us? Who does the “us” in the title of the novel refer to? Discuss the importance of allegiances in Lost Creek. How do those allegiances play out throughout One of Us?

2. Of the Nellie O’Neills, Danny says “it was impossible to live in Lost Creek and not know something about them even as a young child.” (p. 4) What is the story of the Nellie O’Neills? Do you think that they were correct in their actions and the reasons behind them? How does their story affect the citizens of Lost Creek?

3. Max tells Danny that he was inspired by Danny’s writing, particularly the quote “What lies in our power to do, list in our power not to do.” (p. 19). Discuss the quote. Where did it initially appear? How does this advice apply to Max’s life and to Danny’s own? What actions does Danny take that ultimately change his life?

4. Although Danny has achieved success as Sheridan Doyle, almost everyone in Lost Creek still refers to him as Danny. What does each name indicate both the people who refer to Danny as such and about Danny himself? Discuss the importance of names throughout One of Us.

5. Danny first encounters Rafe as a young boy, on the day that his mother is being arrested and “for the first time in my young life I felt I could be honest.” (p. 35). Why does Danny feel safe and able to speak truthfully in Rafe’s presence? Later Danny calls Rafe “A man I admired but didn’t envy. A man I wanted to mimic but didn’t want to be.” (p. 75). Discuss their relationship. What lessons has Rafe taught Danny? How do the two men relate to each other as adults?

6. After her encounter with Marcella Greger, Scarlet says “I probably could have trusted her to keep her mouth shut. That’s not the point. I didn’t like the idea of her knowing.” (p. 105) Do you believe Scarlet? Why do you think she acted in the way she did with Marcella? What were your initial impressions of Scarlet? Did they change throughout One of Us? If so, how? Were you surprised by her secret? Why or why not?

7. Who is Carson Shupe? Why does Danny maintain a relationship with him, visiting him in jail and planning to attend Carson’s execution? When Carson asks Danny, “Do you think I deserve this?” (p. 271) about his impending execution, were you surprised by Danny’s response? Why or why not? How does Carson’s crime serve as a counterpoint to the other crimes in One of Us?

8. In recounting her reaction to seeing the effects of the mine explosion, Scarlet says, “What I saw bothered me but I didn’t feel bad . . . I didn’t feel in any way responsible for what I was seeing or that my father was responsible either. I sensed something wasn’t fair, but injustice without a defined villain is only bad luck.” (p. 83) Do you think Anna was right to take Scarlet to see how the citizens of Lost Creek were reacting to the tragedy? Do you agree with Scarlet’s assessment that, without villains, injustice is simply bad luck? Are there villains in One of Us? Who are they?

9. Danny says that, as a child, he let Tommy believe that his nightmares were about his mother and his sister “because I could never reveal to him what they were really about. They were shameful. I was afraid of the mines.” (p. 55) Why is Danny ashamed of his fear? Does he ever overcome his fear? If so, how? What’s Tommy’s reaction when Danny does admit to being afraid of the mines?

10. Describe Danny’s first meeting with Scarlet. Why do you think that the encounter induces a panic attack for Danny? Does their initial meeting foreshadow their final one? If so, how?

11. When Gwendolyn Dawes and Arlene Doyle meet, Danny describes them as “a wild rose and a hothouse orchid who have both managed to survive in the same scorched earth.” (p. 291) Describe both of the women. Is Danny’s description of both accurate? Why does Danny believe that his mother is “better equipped to deal with the inconceivable than the rest of us” (p. 284)? Were you surprised to learn the truth of Molly’s disappearance and how it related to both of the women?

12. When Scarlet asks Danny how he feels about his mother, his response is “I love her.” Scarlet says, “I’m stunned. I expected so much better from him, yet at at the same time, I realize this means he fully understands the rules of the game.” (p. 201). Why is Scarlet stunned by Danny’s response? What does this show about Scarlet? Do you think she’s misread the situation when she says Danny “fully understands the rules of the game”? If so, how?

13. In the mine, Rick tells Danny, “Your problem is you think too much.” (p. 237) Do you agree? How do Rick’s works cause Danny to rethink his mother’s actions? Do you agree with Rick that Arlene Doyle is a strong woman? Why or why not?

14. When Danny returns to Lost Creek and sees Tommy, he says “My dejection lifts as I realize wanting to lay eyes on [Tommy] again isn’t the only reason I needed to come home.” (p. 53) What other reasons does Danny have for needing to come home? Do you think his trip was successful?

15. Of his time in Vietnam, Rafe says “It may have been the worst thing that would ever happen to me, but it was also the most significant.” (p. 247) What does he mean? How was he changed by his time in Vietnam? What do you think that the most significant thing to happy to Danny has been? Why?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. After one of Tommy’s stories, Danny asks him what the point of the story was, to which he replies, “Does there have to be a point?” (p. 225) Do you think that there has to be a point to a story? Discuss what you look for in a book when you read with the other members of your book club, taking care to consider how your book club selections, including One of Us, have measured up to your criteria.

2. Of his hometown, Danny says, “The history of the entire region is summer up in a glance: Man ruins Nature; Nature ruins Man.” (p. 23) Read about the history of the mining industry and discuss the statement. How is it particularly true in Lost Creek?

3. One of Us has drawn comparisons to Gone Girl. Read both books, then, compare and contrast them in your book club. In what ways are Scarlet and Amy alike? How do they differ?

4. To learn more about Tawni O’Dell, read more of her writing and connect with her online, visit her official site at http://www.tawniodell.com/

A Conversation with Tawni O’Dell

You are the author of several New York Times bestselling novels, including Black Roads, which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick. Did the experience of writing One of Us differ from writing your previous novels? If so, how?

One of Us was the most difficult novel for me to write so far, but this had nothing to do with its content or any outside factors. I’ve discovered as an author that the process of writing a novel becomes harder over time, not easier. I used to think the reverse must be true, that it would be like any task, and the more I practiced, the more adept I’d become. I do believe I’ve become a better writer with each novel and I like to think that each novel has surpassed the previous one. But as I struggle to find my way with the latest one, I’m always convinced I’ll never finish it and if I do, it will be awful.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Does your process differ when you’re writing essays rather than stories?

Writing an essay is like a school assignment: I have my topic, I organize my thoughts, and I write it. I have complete control over what I’m doing. Writing a novel is like setting out on a journey without knowing who or what I’ll encounter, how long it’s going to take, or where I’m going to end up. It’s exciting but also nerve-racking. It takes me several years to completely understand my characters and decipher their stories. I often feel as though I have no control over the process even though I know on a subconscious level that I do. My mind is constantly creating and searching, but I can’t make myself put the right words on paper until I’m ready. Once I’m ready, I’m a focused, disciplined writer who will put in twelve hours a day at the computer, but I also spend a lot of time away from the computer getting to that point.

The legend of the Nellie O’Neills is incredibly compelling. Was it based on any mining stories? Can you tell us how you fleshed out their story?

The Nellie O’Neills were inspired by the Molly Maguires, a secret society of militant Irish coal miners living in central Pennsylvania in the 1870s who battled their exploitation by mine owners with violence, intimidation, and sometimes murder. Twenty of them were eventually executed. Growing up in a Pennsylvania coal town, Molly Maguire lore was all around me and I’ve always been engrossed by their story. It’s an intriguing one, partially due to the fact that there has been enormous disagreement over who they were, what they did, and why they did it. I’ve wanted to write about them for as long as I can remember but didn’t want to be creatively shackled by historical accuracy, so I made up my own version of them. For anyone wanting to know more about the Mollies, I highly recommend Kevin Kenny’s book, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires, and checking out the 1969 Paramount film The Molly Maguires starring Sean Connery and Richard Harris. (It’s worth watching just to see Sean Connery and Richard Harris in the same movie.)

At the end of One of Us, Danny says, “I suddenly understand that a man’s life story is written before it even begins, all of his choices made for him by a history he’s helpless against yet he believes is of his own making.” (p. 294) How does Danny’s statement apply to your own writing? Did you know the outcome of Danny’s story before you began writing? Or did the plot take several unexpected turns that were not in your initial imaginings of the story?

That quote actually sums up my writing process fairly accurately. Somewhere deep in my psyche my characters’ life stories are “already written before they begin,” and I have to discover them and then document them. Like Danny having this epiphany that he’s powerless against his fate but wants to believe he controls it—I know I am the creator of my characters and their stories but I often feel more like a farmer who can only do so much with his land then has to wait for the whims of nature to determine whether anything will grow. When I begin writing, I have no idea what my novels are ultimately going to be about. I don’t have a plot. I never consider a theme. I don’t make notes or outlines. (By the way, I don’t recommend writing this way if you can avoid it.) I think this comes from the fact I’m not someone who wants to write a book and then searches for an idea. I get an idea and need to write a book.

You write so compellingly in Scarlet’s voice. Given that she is responsible for some truly horrific crimes, was it difficult to channel her?

Being Scarlet was fun. Not that I have any desire to run around killing people, but it’s liberating to write a character who only thinks about herself and her desires and gives no thought to anyone else. Just as in real life, caring about others, weighing right and wrong, navigating societal expectations, takes energy in a character. Making decisions based purely on what makes the character feel good is easy. When I wrote in Scarlet’s voice I needed to feel what she felt and she felt no pain or regret so even though she was repellent on many levels, she didn’t cause me the kind of empathetic anguish I’ve experienced writing some of my other characters.

One of Us is told from Danny and Scarlet’s perspectives. Why did you choose to structure One of Us in that way? Was it difficult to change points of view while you were writing?

From the beginning this was Danny’s story, but Scarlet appeared in my mind as such a powerful, compelling character that I felt she needed her own voice. It was definitely difficult switching back and forth from their perspectives. I have to write chronologically since my novels unfold as I go along so I’d write as Danny and arrive at a point where I felt it was time to find out what’s going on with Scarlet and then have to become Scarlet. I was always glad at first to switch from one to the other, though. After writing as Danny with all his emotional baggage, it was a relief to turn to Scarlet who was an unencumbered narcissist. Then after writing as a monster, it was a relief to get back into the head of a good guy.

Danny’s profession, as a forensic psychologist, helps drive the action of One of Us and helps the reader understand both his motivations and that of other characters throughout the story. How did you research both the job and the various types of mental illness some of the characters suffer from?

Novelists are amateur psychologists. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes people tick, why they do the things they do, what factors in their lives form their personalities, and then applying the answers to the creation of our fictional characters. I often find myself talking to my characters like a shrink: “How does that make you feel? Do you think that was a healthy decision? Let’s talk about your father.” I’ve always been interested in the subject of psychology so I’ve gathered information about it throughout my life and in the process have also learned about various mental illnesses. I’m not ever going to have a character pop into my head that has a profession I know nothing about since he’s originating in my thoughts. It made sense to me that eventually I’d write about a psychologist.

The Denver Post has praised your writing, calling you the “master of [your] craft” and complimenting the “authenticity of character” that is a mark of your writing, and, indeed, your portrayal of life in the coal-mining town of Lost Creek is incredibly authentic. How did you create the world of Lost Creek? Are any of the characters drawn from your own childhood in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania?

I don’t base my characters on specific people but obviously they’ve been influenced by people I’ve known throughout my life just as the towns I’ve created in my novels have sprung from the towns I’ve lived in. As a writer, everyone I’ve ever met and every experience I’ve ever had provides material for my work. Authenticity is very important to me. I strive to make my characters as real to my readers as their own neighbors and the places where they reside as vivid as their own back yards yet remain true to the area I write about. Even if you’ve never been to a Pennsylvania coal town, after reading one of my novels I want you to not only think you know what it’s like to live there but feel that you have lived there, if only briefly and if only in your mind.

What would you like your readers to take away from One of Us?

When I finish reading a great novel, my faith in and connection to humanity is revived. I feel that I’ve experienced the immenseness of our world and everything we value and abhor, everything we question and know for sure, while absorbed in the highly intimate world of the individual. This is what I hope my readers take away from One of Us and all of my novels. Despite our flaws and limitations, I want them to feel hopeful and restored in a way that ironically can’t be put into words.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on my next novel. I’d like to tell you what it’s about but I’m not sure yet.

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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 ending.be prepared for a page turner. I enjoyed from start to end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent
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!