One of Us, Tawni O’Dell
Published August 19th 2014 by Gallery Books
Hardcover, 304 pages
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.
Forensic psychologist Dr. Sheridan Doyle tries to be nothing like Danny Doyle, the kid who grew up in the town of Lost Creek. Danny was the odd, but super smart kid at school. His mother is a convicted murderer – of his own sister – and his father a hard-drinking and abusive coal miner. Coal is king in Lost Creek with the family that owns the mines ruling over the town for generations. Nearly the only bright spot in Danny’s childhood was his grandfather Tommy. Now Tommy is in his 90s and has fallen ill and Danny (a.k.a. Sheridan) needs to return to Lost Creek to care for him.
Lost Creek is a town with gallows hanging in the center of town. Yes, really gallows. These have been left hanging as a memorial to a group of Irish miners who tried to fight for better working conditions and were hanged by the Dawes family who own the mines. Nearly every resident of Lost Creek is a descendant of these executed miners and the history weighs heavily over the town. The dead miners seem almost like active participants in the day to day town life still. As Danny passes by the gallows on his first day in town he finds a dead body.
At first, Danny is much more concerned with his high fashion label wardrobe than the body he finds, but as the body count grows and Danny’s psychological expertise comes into play, he becomes drawn into the mystery. I did not see the twists coming in this book-nor did I expect to be so entertained by a team of ghost hunters looking to find proof of the doomed miners haunting Lost Creek. While there was a lot of sadness in this book, it was still a really entertaining and suspenseful thriller. I really liked the glimpses into Danny’s career as a forensic psychologist and I would have liked more about his cases. My biggest complaint-the label dropping. There was no need to list every designer known! That made the characters even more shallow in the end for me. Aside from that this was a really good read, I might have predicted some of ending details but that did not take away from the book for me.
Thank you Gallery Books for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.