By FRANCINE PROSE Caroline Leavitt JOANNA POWELL
March 19, 2007 12:00 PM

By Tawni O’Dell

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NOVEL

With her pink Stetson, tight miniskirts and taste for brawling with male bullies, ex-cop Shae-Lynn Penrose cuts a cocky swath through the tiny coal-mining town of Jolly Mount, Pa. Then, a few months after her 40th birthday, life is upended when her younger sister, long believed dead, shows up after 18 years. In the tale that ensues, O’Dell revisits the hardscrabble terrain of her 2000 Oprah pick Back Roads, unearthing dark family secrets while plumbing the aftermath of a headline-grabbing coal-mine catastrophe. Bitterly poignant in places, it’s also a rollicking good read—and Shae-Lynn’s richly drawn character resonates long after her final wisecrack.

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