Coal Run, cover“Triumphantly fulfilling the promise of her bestselling debut, O’Dell examines the tangled, enduring bonds of family and community in a Pennsylvania mining town…Once again, O’Dell inhabits a male mind with sensitivity and acuity…[a] searing, tragic vision of working-class people…Powerful and uncompromising, yet radiant with love, this one’s pretty close to a masterpiece.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Rich, compassionate storytelling.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“A fierce, sharply drawn and richly sympathetic tribute to working-class America…O’Dell’s portrait of Zoschenko is deep and penetrating, but even more moving is her portrayal of the coal-town community. Ravaged by disaster and callous corporate treatment, the citizens of Coal Run still can’t imagine any other life…Riveting storytelling and genuine emotional punch…excellent.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Explosive drama…remarkable detail.”
—Philadelphia Inquirer

“Utterly compelling…O’Dell illuminates timeless issues with keen insight…this is a smart book filled with sympathetic, opinionated characters who may be victims of circumstance but are never victims of ignorance or self-pity.”
—The Denver Post

“A work of stark grandeur with powerful emotional links to the under-appreciated masterpieces of John Steinbeck and Clifford Odets, yet with a tender empathy all her own…It’s a pleasure to see such a gifted, ambitious writer reinvigorating the tradition of social conscience combined with personal passion that has illuminated some of the finest, most moving works in American literature.”
—TheLos Angeles Times 

“Her portrayals of the town’s blue-collar residents…[are] pitch-perfect.”
—People (Critic’s Choice)

“A glorious story of love and loss, of achievement and disappointment, of hope and despair…the novel takes place over the course of only one week, yet O’Dell manages to give the story an epic dimension through masterful intercutting of past and present…Like [Richard] Russo’s Miles Roby in Empire Falls, Ivan begrudgingly comes to savor the small-town life he thought he hated. A beautifully written, sweeping story.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“Ivan is the proverbial angry young man, only he’s not so young anymore…Ivan’s sister, Jolene, who works as a waitress and is raising three children who have three different fathers is that fictional rarity, the believable working-class character…O’Dell has an ear for the telling detail.”
—Chicago Sun-Times

“She has a skill for creating characters mired in problems as thick as coal sludge but making them sympathetic enough to hold an audience…a rich, textured story woven with complex moods and mistakes…well-crafted.”
—Palm Beach Post

“As she did in her acclaimed debut, O’Dell displays a marvelous gift for serving up eccentric, believable characters and vividly captures the bleakness and harshness of coal-mining country…Captivating.”
—Library Journal

“O’Dell is an accomplished writer; assured and perceptive, she is especially good with quick dialogue that captures the anger and disappointment these characters carry.”
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette