Trade Paperback Release – January 5, 2016
Setting – Pennsylvania
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00UDCNJLC
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club pick Back Roads comes this fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who’s forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.
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.
Told from Dove Carnahan’s point of view you quickly find out she is a complex individual. She has not had an easy life and her childhood has left her damaged. She has friends but walls up that prevent her from getting into a real relationship. Her mother was murdered when she was fifteen and the man convicted of the crime has just been released from jail. He is pushing Dove to admit she knows he didn’t do it and she lied when she accused him. Her sister Neely, a dog trainer, is also scarred from the death of her mother. Their brother left town as soon as he turned 18 and they rarely here from him. Dove is the police chief in their rural Pennsylvanian town. She watches over the town and the residents love her. But she has a secret that could change everything. The death of young Camio Truly has stirred up memories and feelings she thought she left in the past.
Tawni O’Dell has created some amazing characters. Dysfunctional families with some huge secrets. From the children to the adults, they are all unique characters and so fleshed out. Derk Truly, Camio youngest brother, is a little boy with no fear and ability to traverse to surprising places. Camio’s mother seems to be in a trace most days, gazing at a television screen while life goes on around her. Even the death of her daughter can’t draw her out. Neely has several dogs herself, all very well behaved. She trains other dogs for many things and she rules her classes strictly, she is a perfectionist. Her way to bring order to at least one part of her life. Dove also needs order in her life so her life has become her job. She tries to keep her past in the past but it comes spilling out all over.
The death of Camio Truly was horrifying. Who would have done this? Who gains by having her dead? Each little twist and each big turn draw us deeper into the well written story. I was truly surprised by the final revelations and the way the past and the future interconnected. I felt a myriad of emotions while reading this book, sadness, sympathy, empathy and more. This was a book that was hard to put down, I appreciated the small minutes of humor because this was a really heavy story. A story of life, lives I am sorry these characters had to endure, but that is what makes it a great read.
Find out more about author Tawni O’Dell on her webpage here.
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