January 23, 2017

The Long and Faraway Gone

The Long and Faraway Gone
Lou Berney


(January 23, 2017)

This Edgar Award-winning mystery is an accomplished formal experiment, a quadruple-mystery with a half twist. Wyatt, a private investigator, takes a quick trip from his Las Vegas base to his old home-town, Oklahoma City, to find out who is harassing the new owner of a local rock bar. Wyatt avoids Oklahoma City like the plague because, as a teenager, he'd been caught in the bloodbath of a movie theater robbery; he can’t resist looking into that as well. The poor guy has PI written on his sleeve, so much so that total strangers walk up to him and ask him to look into stuff for them. Wyatt unwisely tries to do a favor for one of these strangers. And then we have Julianne, a nurse who has nothing to do with Wyatt except that she, too, found herself at the edge of a terrible, mysterious crime in those long-ago days.

On the whole, it’s done pretty well. Knitting together four braids is hard, and sometimes the seams show. Some of the red herrings aren't quite as interesting as they need to be, given the amount of business required to keep the machinery moving. Still, an exemplary story.