Both Wyatt and Julianna had their lives changed forever in
the summer of 1986 in Oklahoma City. As a young teenager,
Wyatt is spending the summer working in a movie theater and
hanging out with his friends. It all comes to an end when
masked gunmen break into the theater and murder the
employees, everyone that is except Wyatt. Wyatt has spent
twenty-five years wondering why he was spared. He sought to
put it all behind him by changing is name and leaving
Oklahoma City. When a favor to a friend drags him back to
his home town, Wyatt finds himself pulled unwillingly down
memory lane as he finds himself seeking the answer to the
question that has defined his life, "Why me?".
A month after the theater murders, Julianna and her
older-sister Genevieve are wandering the Oklahoma State Fair
around dusk. Julianna loves and admires her older sister
with all the blind love and passion of a twelve-year old.
She's stunned when Genni leaves her alone for a quick party
in the trailers behind the fair. Julianna's hurt and fear
about being left alone turn into twenty-five years of
anguish when Genni never returns and is presumed dead.
Unlike Wyatt, Julianna has spent her life seeking the answer
to the question that has defined her life, "What happened to
With THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE, Lou Berney has crafted a
compelling crime novel, mystery, and story of a personal
journey to make peace with a trauma that can't be forgotten.
Wyatt and Julianna are strangers; their stories are two very
different experiences that intersect as each character
begins to unravel the mystery that defines him or her. The
events of 1986 are revealed over the course of the story as
new information is uncovered in the present and forgotten
memories surface. I was fascinated by the tone that Mr.
Berney sets for the flashes back to 1986. Rather than a
straight narrative, the author writes them from the present
day perspective of the main characters. The flashbacks felt
like memories, giving them fluidity, flexibility, and a
perspective susceptible to revision in light new
information. The present-day search for answers is
complicated and dangerous, raising the question of what the
characters are willing to sacrifice to get the answers to
the questions that compel them. If I have one criticism of
the book, it's that the blurb led me to expect a strong
romantic element that never materialized. I don't think the
story needed more romance but the expectation of it
influenced how I read the story.
With the compelling narrative tension and psychological
complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane,
Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou
Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely
compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of
memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the
lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events
that scarred their lives.
In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City.
Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery,
while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl
vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever
Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those
unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A
private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes
him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper
into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that
left six of his friends dead.
Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day
her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When
Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has
resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.
As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive
quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will
their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them
closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it
help them understand what happened, that long and faraway
gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?