Long Black Veil

Author: Jennifer Finney Boylan
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Crown
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Pages: 304

Author Website|Book Depository|Goodreads

Goodreads SynopsisLong 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.


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There were many great aspects to this novel. It was a read that kept me wondering and full of story. I was filled with different feels though, many of them good, but at times not always fond of the writing to describe characters.

“He was a generously obese young man wearing a striped engineer’s hat upon his head.”

“…but then there he was, invited to the wedding of Jon Casey and the Irish girl, or the Geordie, or whatever she was, the girl with the ironically exaggerated accent.”

Long Black Veil took the reader in, making sure there were never really any dull moments and when we were introduced to the big reveal it was a shocker for sure. There are questions that rise from it, several as to how that person was able to get away with something so life altering without being questioned about it, or discovered in all those years, but it still didn’t drive from how great those parts of the novel were written in.

“The photo in the Post was grisly, a close-up of the skull. It didn’t look like the person I had known. Of course, we’d always assumed that the day had ended in murder. So no, it wasn’t exactly a surprise. But it had taken all these years for the corpse to turn up, and it was still shocking. Waiting there in the line at LaGuardia, I felt all the hairs on my arm stand up. This was it. It was all going to get churned up again.”

It made for an interesting read, as every friend tried to live their life past that dreadful day when one of their own went missing, but none of them really moving forward. As things came back to the surface everyone’s life is shown in shambles, mostly mentally, but all due to what happened that day Wailer went missing and the many questions none of them are able to fully answer.

“It’s funny how you can know a person, think of him as your closest friend, and still never gain access to the secret chambers in his heart. I know I’m the poster child for that, but it’s not just me. The things people carry around in silence–the shames, the weird private dreams, the things they did when they though no else could see–it’s terrible to think about.”

Even though I may have had issues with some of the context, I kept reading because I just had to know what really happened and like I said it was a nice twist to the story. It was a quick enough read, and sometimes that is exactly what I want when my curiosity takes over. Long Black Veil was pretty good, even with its faults.

***I received this copy from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***


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