Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2017
For fans of Donna Tartt and Megan Abbott, a novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past, from the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There.
On a warm August night in 1980, six college students sneak into the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, looking for a thrill. With a pianist, a painter and a teacher among them, the friends are full of potential. But it’s not long before they realize they are locked in–and not alone. When the friends get lost and separated, the terrifying night ends in tragedy, and the unexpected, far-reaching consequences reverberate through the survivors’ lives. As they go their separate ways, trying to move on, it becomes clear that their dark night in the prison has changed them all. Decades later, new evidence is found, and the dogged detective investigating the cold case charges one of them–celebrity chef Jon Casey– with murder. Only Casey’s old friend, Judith Carrigan, can testify to his innocence.
But Judith is protecting long-held secrets of her own – secrets that, if brought to light, could destroy her career as a travel writer and tear her away from her fireman husband and teenage son. If she chooses to help Casey, she risks losing the life she has fought to build and the woman she has struggled to become. In any life that contains a “before” and an “after,” how is it possible to live one life, not two?
Weaving deftly between 1980 and the present day, and told in an unforgettable voice, Long Black Veil is an intensely atmospheric thriller that explores the meaning of identity, loyalty, and love. Readers will hail this as Boylan’s triumphant return to fiction.
Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan is an interesting novel. A thriller that holds a lot of action, intrigue, and danger. Explorations of murder, past secrets, and the truth are found among these thrilling scenes from their past. I was captivated. Jennifer Finney Boylan created a thick mysterious atmosphere in which I couldn’t deny. Her characters were believable. It was fun following them especially, Judith, as the intensity of the situation came unraveling from the past. Friendships tested, complex scenarios, and drama filled characters made for a fun read.
The pacing of this story was slow. Not quite up to my normal steady/fast paced environments that I usually love. The whole position of the friends locked up and things escalating out of control reminded me so much of Pretty Little Liars. I noticed that the book switches from past to future a lot. This was understandable as it explored the backstory of what happened to the cast of characters and what was currently happening to them now. Despite their past that haunts them as adults that they are now, I wasn’t that impressed with the rest of the current happenings of the story. Overall, it was good but not as good as I had expected.