It was an amazing story, terrible and wonderful at the same time, like my mother’s love, like these precious, poisoned hills that were the source of our survival and our ruin. I didn’t want it to end.
Big shot celebrity psychologist Dr. Sheridan Doyle reluctantly drives his Jaguar down memory lane, cruising back to the ramshackle town where he grew up to check on his sick grandfather. Danny, as he’s known to the townsfolk, or Ghost, as he was called by the rest of the kids in school, has happily escaped the depressed mining town of Lost Creek and doesn’t like looking back. He’s now a forensic psychologist, recognized from appearances on Larry King, testimony at high profile trials, and best-selling books. Danny understands the criminal mind in a way few can–his mom murdered his sister when he was a kid, and Lost Creek isn’t the type of town that forgets a scandal.
Lost Creek has its share of scandals, though. As a mining town in the 1800’s, it was the site of a rebellion in which a group of miners, the Nellies, were hanged by Walker Dawes, the man who owned the mines and everything else, long before unions or worker’s rights were on the horizon. Now the town is said to be haunted by the angry ghosts of the miners. The gallows still stands and has become a tourist site, complete with a dedicated museum and historical society, featured on many ghost hunting TV shows.
Are you scared yet? We haven’t even gotten to the bodies. When people start dying on Danny’s visit home, he rides along with his old mentor Rafe, now the town’s only detective, offering expert advice as a forensic psychologist. Mixed into the Lost Creek milieu are the great-grandson of that Walker Dawes, still living in a house looming above all the rest, smoking cigars, surrounded by priceless portraits, and his ice-cold, fiercely beautiful daughter. Also spicing up the small town are The Ghost Sniffers, a reality-TV crew investigating the paranormal which I would love to see made an actual television show.
O’Dell, with the town of Lost Creek, its myth and its characters, has created a terrifying, but satisfying, book.