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Harley Altmyer barely has it together. With his father dead and his mother in prison for murder, he has to work at 2 low-paying jobs and take care of his 3 younger sisters.
With her New York Times best sellingg first novel, Back Roads, Tawni O'Dell proved herself a writer of formidable talent, one who captures the humor and humanity in the bleakest of circumstances. Now, with Coal Run, her eagerly anticipated second novel, O'Dell takes us beck to the coal-mining country of western Pennsylvania, the territory she renders with such striking authenticity, and tells the story of a native son, his fall from grace, and his heroic efforts to rectify the past. Coal Run is a community of ghosts and memories. After a mining explosion took the lives of so many men and transformed their families, the reverberations are still being felt in the generation of survivors thirty years later. Narrator Ivan Zoschenko, the local deputy and erstwhile football legend ("the Great Ivan Z"), his pro career sidelined by a knee injury, spends a week seemingly preparing for an old teammate's imminent release from prison. In doing so, Ivan introduces a rich cast of characters-his unexpectedly wise and comic former beauty queen sister, his former idol Val Claypool, and the young woman whose life he changed forever. And during the events of this week, Ivan confronts his demons and reveals himself to be a man whose conscience is burdened by a long-held and shocking secret that must be reckoned with. Driven by the same raw energy, humor, suspense, and compassion for a place and way of life so evident in her first work, O'Dell has produced an uncompromising and absorbing new drama. A story about letting go of the goals of greatness for the ordinary grace of good work, family love, and an acceptance of where you come from, Coal Run advances on, even transcends, the incredible promise of the powerfully riveting Back Roads.omise of the powerfully riveting Back Roads. FIC ODE
Shae-Lynn Penrose drives a cab in a town where no one needs a cab--but plenty of people need rides. A former police officer with a closet full of miniskirts, a recklessly sharp tongue, and a tendency to deal with men by either beating them up or taking them to bed, she has spent years carving out a life for herself and her son in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, the tiny coal-mining town where she grew up. Two years ago, five of Shae-Lynn's miner friends were catapulted to media stardom when they were rescued after surviving four days trapped in a mine. As the men struggle to come to terms with the nightmarish memories of their ordeal, along with the fallout of their short- lived celebrity, Shae-Lynn finds herself facing harsh realities and reliving bad dreams of her own, including her relationship with her brutal father, her conflicted passion for one of the miners, and the hidden identity of the man who fathered her son. When the younger sister she thought was dead arrives on her doorstep, followed closely by a gun-wielding Russian gangster, a shady New York lawyer, and a desperate Connecticut housewife, Shae-Lynn is forced to grapple with the horrible truth she discovers about the life her sister's been living, and with one ominous question: Will her return result in a monstrous act of greed or one of sacrifice? Tawni O'Dell's trademark blend of black humor, tenderness, and a keen sense of place is evident once again as Shae-Lynn takes on past demons and all-too-present dangers.From the Hardcover edition.
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