Friday, August 1, 2014

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

Release Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Sheridan Doyle, aka Danny, was used to obstacles. He overcame them to escape the poor, broken home he was born into and to climb the tower of success as a forensic psychologist. Putting the past behind him gave him the freedom to explore the complexity of the human mind, a fascination that never left him.

When his beloved grandfather fell ill, Danny made the decision to return to his hometown, Lost Creek. Among the expected onslaught of memories, secrets waited their turns to be unearthed and threw his world into chaos. Can he decipher the clues around him before it's too late?

Receiving permission to read this from NetGalley, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. From the description, I knew it would have elements of a paranormal and a thriller. I wasn't sure how it would play out. The further I read, the more enjoyable the book became. With the book's setting and subject matter, the story was dark, twisted and an interesting twist on the idea of secrets always finding a way to the surface, no matter how deeply they're buried.

The book introduced Danny first, carrying the story through his point-of-view. The reader was given his thoughts, feelings, and emotions as the past and present collided for him. As he returned to his hometown, it became clear how the isolation and bleakness of the town played a major role in many of Danny's decisions later in his life. Ingrained traditions from his childhood followed him whether he acknowledged them or not. The author presented Danny's family in such a way that the reader both empathized with his plight and cheered as he moved beyond the clutches of the small town.

Lost Creek was a major character in the story as well. The town's own history bled into everything that the townspeople did, mirroring the way the coal dust settled onto and into everything. The actions of early settlers brought consequences upon their descendants. About a third of the way into the book, the point-of-view shifted from Danny to another character and a whole new perspective was added to the small town. I admit, the change was a little confusing at first because I missed the subtle way it was announced. As with nearly everything else in the story, the two characters were nearly complete opposites of each other and provided another layer of intrigue to the mix.

Despite the confusion with the change in characters, the only other drawback I found with the story was in its pacing. There were several chapters were it sailed smoothly at a pretty steady pace. I didn't want to stop reading and kept going until I hit a patch where the pace lagged. The weight of the town's history seemed to bog down the pace, even though it added depth to the overall story. I dreaded the revelations that came out and how they impacted others. All in all, I enjoyed the twists and turns as well as the darkness of the characters. If you're looking for a book with polar opposites mixed with layers of intrigue and ghosts, then definitely pick up a copy of this book!

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell will be available at major retailers upon its release in August 2014. It can be pre-ordered in either hardcover or Kindle format. Click the link below to reserve a copy from Amazon.
One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

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