Crime Fiction Review: The Long and Faraway Gone

The Long and Faraway GoneThe Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This 2016 Edgar Award winner is all about the six degrees of separation that link us all, and the sudden flashes of insight that bring the past into focus. Lou Berney writes about Oklahoma City, a big city that’s really just an overgrown small town where everyone knows someone who knows someone who…. Rarely have I read a novel with so many appealing, quirky, yet utterly believable characters. Wyatt, a PI born and raised in OKC, comes back reluctantly to do a favor for a friend. Juliana, a nurse, has never left. Both are haunted by tragedies in their past, but unlike so many novels with that set-up, Wyatt and Juliana are both successful, stable people with a sense of humor, not neurotic, alcoholic human trainwrecks. The fact that they function well even though they’re traumatized makes them much more interesting to me. The flashbacks to 1986 truly capture the goofy recklessness of teenagers everywhere. Wyatt and Julianna meet only briefly, but each reminds the other of moments in the past that later become pivotal in resolving their respective quests. Some readers apparently objected to the fact they their stories never fully intersect, but that glancing interaction is what elevates the novel from neat and predictable to surprising and thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

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