I was intrigued by this new one from Tawni O’Dell based on one of her previous books I enjoyed, Back Roads. And I must say, as much as I liked Back Roads many years ago, this latest venture was even better for me.
Danny Doyle is a famous forensic psychologist who’s been involved in some very well-known cases. When he returns to his home town to check up on his elderly grandfather, he unwittingly becomes caught up in another mystery, this one seemingly spanning several generations. Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country lies the mystery of not only the latest murder but also unsolved murders from Danny’s past.
This was an intriguing story for the mystery aspect alone. It’s very much a police procedural story but so much more. The author tells a great story, and her descriptions of backwoods Pennsylvania are hauntingly beautiful. It was dark and mysterious enough to keep me interested and will appeal to anyone who likes a good mystery.
Loss is powerful. So powerful that sometimes people lose themselves because they are so distraught from the grief of losing someone else. In Just One Thing, Lexie didn’t function as her normal self anymore. She created a shell of a person in order to get through her days. Bartender Sam did the same thing.
And because they couldn’t crack their shells, to all at once release their authentic selves, they did it one thing at a time. Lexie and Sam exchanged one statement, one feeling, one story each week, until they formed a friendship– a real, honest, trusting friendship.
I loved hearing their “one things.” It’s rough to climb out of grief. It’s painful to trust someone again. Telling a friend one thing and being able to hold back the rest makes the climbing easier. It makes telling the NEXT thing easier. I totally sympathized with Lexie’s loss and grief and feeling of emptiness. And I knew she’d feel fulfilled again once she shed her shell.
I read for fun, you know, so I appreciated the wit, the poignancy, and the romance in Just One Thing. The story was about lifting up, healing, overcoming.
Lexie and Sam’s love story may have started out slowly and reluctantly, but when they healed enough to open up fully, they loved deeply and joyfully. Sigh. Dreamy, right? The whole book is dreamy. Deep and joyful love… that’s a happily-ever-after all day long.