Long Black Veil

From the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There, a new novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past.

Long Black Veil is the story of Judith Carrigan, whose past is dredged up when the body of her college friend Wailer is discovered 20 years after her disappearance in Philadelphia’s notorious and abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary. Judith is the only witness who can testify to the innocence of her friend Casey, who had married Wailer only days before her death. 

The only problem is that on that fateful night at the prison, Judith was a very different person from the woman she is today. In order to defend her old friend and uncover the truth of Wailer’s death, Judith must confront long-held and hard-won secrets that could cause her to lose the idyllic life she’s built for herself and her family.

I’m always intrigued by stories where we see how a seemingly well adjusted, successful, happy person actually started their life on the complete opposite end of that spectrum. I find human psychology fascinating in that some will use difficult or tragic foundations as fuel o demand more from life where others become haunted victims bent on never metaphorically escaping their past.

I felt the author handled transitions between time, settings and characters well so you get a truly complex and seamless story. Besides who wouldn’t love an opening where the story begins in an ostensibly abandoned and unnerving prison that will alter the lives of these characters forever?

I liked what she did with the characters and felt she handled her transgendered character’s conflict with identity respectfully and accurately. Although it very much played into the plot line of the story it wasn’t used as a spectacle but more as a mirror to the character’s humanity and struggles that are often overlooked in society’s quest for judgement. Don’t let the murder mystery part fool you, this is very much a character driven story with Judith being the one to shine the most although all of the characters are given great frameworks in which to thrive and push the story forward.

Along with the mysterious elements there is plenty of melodrama to keep you on your toes with just enough surprising twists thrown in to avoid becoming a cliché. The pace remains steady as Boylan uses her characters as stand-ins to examine the human condition when it’s thrust into an untenable situation of their own making. Bad choices produced bad consequences yet they seem surprised by this; pretty typical of modern society actually.

Ultimately this is a story of secrets; the power they hold, the wounds they create and the healing that will only come from forcing the truth into the light. In that respect, Boylan set off a firework of great writing.

Find at Amazon: http://a.co/2hmjdzx

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