My review of Lou Berney's The Long and Faraway Gone first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it here today with their permission. If you missed my interview with Lou, be sure to check it out here.
First line: "In summer, season of the Hollywood blockbuster, Bingham got to work at eight in the morning and didn't leave until long after midnight."
The Long and Faraway Gone is Lou Berney's third novel, a standalone that deviates dramatically in genre, tone and style from his first two caper novels featuring Shake Bouchon. By trading Shake's madcap humor and exotic locales for a dark, psychologically suspenseful crime story set in Oklahoma City, Berney proves his writing skills reach long and far.
Wyatt Rivers and Julianna Rosales both experienced traumas during the summer of 1986. Wyatt has spent his life running from that past, while Julianna desperately searches for answers, agitating sleeping dogs best left alone. When his job forces him to return to his hometown twenty-five years later, Wyatt's pulled back into the violent tragedy he tried so hard to escape. Meanwhile, Julianna learns recently released felon may be the key to all her questions. She'll go to any length to find out, even if it puts her life at risk.
The dark, ominous tone, coupled with convincingly creepy and immoral suspects makes The Long and Faraway Gone an intensely spine-chilling mystery. But more than that, it's an emotional dissection of crime and those impacted by violent losses. Berney's compassion for each character makes an entire cast of delectably authentic and dimensional people.
Some elements of Berney's style remain the same. Dialogue continues to flow naturally, reflecting character and setting. A strong sense of place triggers vivid imagery. And his subtle, well-placed humor cinches the novel's realism. Readers who haven't discovered Lou Berney yet should take this golden opportunity to get acquainted. Those who have will certainly relish this story-telling gem.
The Long and Faraway Gone is available in trade paperback (ISBN: 9780062292438) from William Morrow.