Thursday, January 14, 2016


Angels BurningAngels Burning by Tawni O'Dell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 2014 I read my first Tawni O'Dell. After just a few pages of One of Us, I wondered why I had never heard of her before. Then I learned that her first published book Back Roads had been an Oprah Book Club selection.

THE STORY: A fifty year old mine fire forced residents to abandon Campbell's Run years earlier. Now someone has tried to hide the body of a teenage girl in one of the fiery surface holes.

Fifty year old Chief of Police Dove (named after the soap) Carnahan narrates how the gruesome death of Cami Truly affects the nearby small town of Buchanan, Pennsylvania and its residents. The investigation brings unwelcome memories of the murder and trial of Dove's mother when she was a teenager. Complicating her life are a relationship with Police Detective Nolan Greely and unexpected family problems.

WHAT I THOUGHT: First of all, any author who can work Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets into a story using it as a paint color has my undying allegiance. And I've always been fascinated by the ghost town of  Centralia, Pennsylvania on which Campbell's Run is based. Beyond that, I marked a number of quotes - some touching and some funny like this one, "My ability to arouse passion in men who arouse nothing is me is the stuff of legends."

Family secrets, lies, and people trying to escape their roots in rural Pennsylvania are recurring themes in O'Dell's stories. In Angels Burning she has created another compelling psychological thriller, with memorable characters. You don't doubt she knows these people. It's the details that make the story resonate. Unsettling issues are handled well which makes the reader feel safe.

There were several compelling story lines that weren't actually wrapped up which led me to suspect (and later verify) that there will be more adventures for Dove!

FIRST SENTENCE: "The last time I was this close to Rudy Mayfield he was leaning across the seat of his dad's truck trying to grope my recently ripened breasts."

BOTTOM LINE: A highly recommended literate mystery.

DISCLAIMER: Invited by NetGalley to request and receive this title for an honest review. Also have to admit I grew up and lived many years in Pennsylvania and that it will always be my home.

Title: Angels Burning
Author: Tawni O'Dell
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating:4 out of 5 stars
No. of Pages: 288 pages
Copyright: January 5, 2016
ISBN-10: 1501132547
ISBN-13: 978-1501132544

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. (from Amazon)

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