Author: Tawni O’Dell
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.
When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.
During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.
Review: There’s something about this book that just grabs you and takes you under. Maybe it’s the brutality of the crime on the opening pages. Maybe it’s that you feel empathy for the narrator, Dove. Maybe it’s because even though the language is startlingly beautiful, you sense the ugliness underneath. Something bad is going to happen, you just don’t know when. With effortless guile and a hidden agenda, O’Dell took me into this horrible family dynamic, so twisted and depraved, and made me question the difference between right and wrong in a world where savages rule and the weak are cannibalized.
When Police Chief Dove Carnahan starts to investigate the death of a young woman found in a burning sinkhole in an abandoned mining community near Buchanan, Pennsylvania, she begins to notice an eerie similarity to things from her own past. It doesn’t help that her mother’s murderer is released from prison around the same time and approaches her with accusations that threaten to destroy her carefully built life.
Who would want to kill young Camio Truly? And why would they try to burn her? The sheer malice of the crime invites speculation from the whole town, stirring up memories of her mother’s death years before. When her long lost brother Champ shows up after a twenty-five-year absence with a son they’ve never met, Dove and her sister Neely realize that for some people, the past never leaves and redemption is an empty promise.
I was totally blown away by the beauty of O’Dell’s words and the thought provoking lines she delivered on every single page. The development of the characters and the immersion into the environment is so complete that it really feels like it’s part of a series, but it’s not. And when the story ends, you’re going to sit there staring at the last page, both terrified and sad that it’s over. I’m going to suggest my book club read this. I’m going to give it to my friends.
It’s just that good.