Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Reads: Long Black Veil

 Broadway Books; 308 pages; Amazon
Typically, I don't read a book right away after receiving a review copy, but that wasn't the case with Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan. The book arrived in the mail on Tuesday afternoon and I ended up reading several chapters that night. I had the story on my mind throughout that night, so I finished reading it yesterday morning.

Long Black Veil is a murder mystery thriller that spans over thirty-five-years. It all began in 1980 when six college friends (Jon Casey, Rachel Steinberg, Masie Lenfest, Tripper Pennypacker, Wailer Curtin, and Quentin Pheaney), a boy (Lenny Lenfest), and a college professor (Nathan Krystal) went inside the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. They only wanted to take a look around the supposedly "haunted" prison, but they ended up staying the entire night, as someone traps them inside the place. Eight people went inside the prison, but only seven come out the next morning.

Thirty-five-years later, a body is found inside a prison cell's wall and the prime suspect is celebrity chef John Casey. As the media gets a hold of the story, the remaining survivors of the1980 incident come aware that one of their friends died that night. If Casey is innocent, then who is the murderer?

The answer to the truth might lie within Judith, a fifty-something journalist who knows a bit too much about what occurred that miserable summer night in 1980.

The paperback edition has a Reader's Guide and a few recipes in the back of the book.

Final Thoughts

I had never even heard of the author's name before I'd started reading this book, but I'll have to keep an eye out for other titles. I definitely enjoyed reading Long Black Veil! This was one of those books that I grabbed before going to bed with the intention of only reading a few pages, but I got sucked right into the story by end of the first paragraph. At first glance, the novel does seem like a ghost story, but there's no supernatural elements involved here; well, besides for part of the story taking place in a haunted prison. It's just a well-written murder mystery with several twists that I didn't see coming.

Overall, I simply enjoyed reading Long Black Veil. It's a extremely well-crated mystery that stays with you long after you finish reading the final page.

*Note - I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of fourteen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. She also serves as the national cochair of the board of directors of GLAAD. She has been a contributing writer for the Op-Ed page of the New York Times since 2013. Jenny also served on the board of trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and is special advisor to the president of Colby College in Maine.

She lives in New York City, and in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie, and her two sons, Zach and Sean.

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