With the compelling narrative tension and psychological complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives.
In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.
Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.
Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.
As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?
I will start with saying that this was a really good book with a very interesting story, or stories since it is actually two stories that parallel each other even though they take place in the same town.
Wyatt returns twenty-fives later to Oklahoma City. He has changed his name so we do not know among the people in the movie theater he was. If it weren't for his latest case would he probably have stayed as far away from Oklahoma City that could, but he owned a friend a favor so he is in the city and the memories comes back. He can't let the movie theater murders while he investigates his case and he soon begins to question things about it.
Meanwhile in the city is Julianna, the little sister of Genevieve. Genevieve disappeared a while before the murders and Julianna has never been able to let it go completely. Then, she finds out that the person that the police suspected the most for the disappearing is back in town.
It was really engrossing following these two lost souls in the city each with their own memories of a night twenty-five years earlier. I thought in the beginning that they would have more interactions, but the random encounters were much more interesting then that they would somehow meet and start to work together or something.
They are both damaged people, both with one memories that have shaped their lives, but not really able to live the lives to the fullest because they can't let the past go. Wyatt is asking a simple question; why? Why did he survive? Julianna is wondering what happened to her sister, why did disappear? Did someone take her?
A great read, I enjoyed it immensely!
Lou Berney is the author of two previous novels—Whiplash River, nominated for an Edgar Award, and Gutshot Straight, nominated for a Barry Award-as well as the collection The Road to Bobby Joe and Other Stories. A television and film screenwriter, he also teaches writing at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.