O’Dell., Tawny Back Roads. Berkley, 2004 (reprint). ISBN 978-0451212450 343 pp. $14.99
20-year-old Harley, just arrested, bares the skeletons in his family’s closet in this gritty tell-all. On the cusp of manhood and forced to grow up too soon, Harley juggles two jobs, a shrink, a married woman, and his three younger sisters. Eventually, a ball has to drop. O’Dell has written a tense and exciting novel filled with gruesome and exquisite sensory details of sex, violence, art, lust and crime. Not for the faint of heart! The most remarkable thing about the novel is Harley’s voice–honest, real, and true. Readers will empathize with this young man who is bitter, loving, wise, resigned and innocent.