Old Secrets. Buried Deep.
Tawni O'Dell was born and raised in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania, where she lives with her family: a daughter, 13, and a son, 10. Sister Mine is her third novel. Her first, Back Roads, was an Oprah Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller, her second, Coal Run, has been bought by the movies .
Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster ride with this latest from O'Dell (Coal Run). The author's focus is Jolly Mount, a small Pennsylvania coal-mining town, but abuse and baby-selling figure into the mix. Years ago, adult siblings Shae-Lynn and Shannon escaped their abusive widowed father: single mother Shae-Lynn took a detour, with young son in tow, and did a six-year stint as a Washington, DC, police officer; younger sister Shannon, however, vanished one day and never resurfaced. Feisty Shae-Lynn, now a cab driver back in Jolly Mount, has long theorized about Shannon's whereabouts. So when a variety of shady sorts begins popping up in Jolly Mount searching for Shannon, Shae-Lynn's suspicions are naturally aroused. O'Dell successfully combines the story of negligent coal-mine owners and unfortunate, disabled, or dead miners with Shae-Lynn's own troubled past in this intense, racy, raucous, and often hilarious novel. Although she occasionally includes some jarring topics that veer toward the sentimental, she also packs this gripping tale with loads of action, intrigue, and suspense. Strongly recommended for all public library collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/06; O'Dell's Back Roads was a 2000 Oprah's Book Club pick.-Ed.]-Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
PRAISE FOR COAL RUN 'Rich, compassionate story-telling!' -- Entertainment Weekly 'It's a pleasure to see such a gifted, ambitious writer reinvigorating the tradition of social conscience combined with personal passion that has illuminated some of the finest, most moving works in American literature' -- Los Angeles Times PRAISE FOR BACK ROADS'Tense, conflicted and involving, O'Dell's novel deftly captures the voice of a teenage boy who's in trouble and facing profound challenges!' -- New York Times Book Review 'O'Dell has tackled the real stuff of stories, and she's done it with compassion and a unique voice' -- New York Newsday 'O'Dell's storytelling has natural flair' -- Los Angeles Times 'In the finest tradition of Faulkner and Caldwell' -- L'Express, Paris 'A tough, outstanding novel!' -- Le Monde
O'Dell, whose debut, Back Roads (2000), was an Oprah pick, returns with a terrific third novel set in a Pennsylvania coal country of broken families, altercations and smalltown coping. Policewoman-turned-cabbie Shae-Lynn Penrose, a little over 40 and back in Jolly Mount after a rent-a-cop stint in Washington, D.C., raised son Clay (24 and the town deputy) on her own. For the past 18 years, she has believed that her sister, Shannon, was killed by their abusive father while Shae-Lynn was at college. (Their mother died of complications after giving birth to Shannon; their father was killed much later in a mine explosion.) When a New York lawyer turns up asking for Shannon Penrose, whom he seems to have seen recently, Shae-Lynn is shocked; when Shannon herself suddenly turns up, very pregnant, Shae-Lynn's reaction is primal and tactile. As O'Dell slowly unspools Shannon's very-much-of-her-own-doing predicament, O'Dell demonstrates her mastery of set-piece dialogue, reeling off stingingly acute encounters that are as funny as they can be crushingly sad. Ne'er-do-well Choker Simms (and his two kids, Fanci and Kenny), lawyer Gerald Kozlowski, mine owner Cam Jack, Shae-Lynn's nonboyfriend E.J., Shannon's sort-of-boyfriend Dmitri and others are all wonderfully drawn through Shae-Lynn's keen observations. Family saga O'Dell-style crackles with conflict and a deep understanding of the complications and burdens that follow attachment, sex, love and kinship. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.