ARC · book review · NetGalley · Polis Books

Black Diamond Fall by Joseph Olshan

Black Diamond Fall

4 Stars

Publisher: Polis Books

Date of publication: September 18th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Black Diamond Fall: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of CLARA’S HEART and CLOUDLAND comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has had a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

BLACK DIAMOND FALL is at once a lush, evocative literary novel, a portrait of love between a younger and older man, and a riveting mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed writer Joseph Olshan.


My review:

Luc is a college student who had finished playing a pickup game of hockey with this friends. Realizing that he lost the class ring of his boyfriend, Luc goes back to find it. He disappears. Sam, Luc’s older boyfriend, comes under suspicion when he cannot provide an alibi for the night he disappears. Hurt in a skiing accident, Sam goes back to Vermont to recuperate and cooperate with the police in Luc’s investigation. What happened after the hockey game? What happened to Luc? Did Sam have something to do with it? Will Luc be found alive?

When I started reading Black Diamond Fall, I thought it was going to be a wham-bam-thank you ma’am mystery. You know the ones that it is obvious who the killer is from the beginning. That isn’t the case here. The author did a fantastic job of keeping exactly what happened to Luc that night under wraps until the end of the book. I was surprised at who it ended up being. Because that person wasn’t on my radar at all. I thought it was the other person that the police kept questioning. To add that twist added to my enjoyment of the book.

I liked how the author interwove Luc wandering around the woods with the police investigation. I was mentally going “Check the darn woods” everytime they brought Sam or Luc’s friends in for questioning. Saying that it was frustrating is an understatement. I also wanted to reach through the book and give Luc some food and a blanket. That was frustrating to read too.

I wish more insight was given into Luc and Sam’s relationship. What they had seemed to be true love, even though they broke up right before Sam went away on his trip. Their relationship was one of the more realistic ones that I have read lately.

I liked how the police investigation didn’t focus on one person. Instead, they had a sizable pool of suspects to question. What I enjoyed about that storyline was how the officers went about narrowing down the field of suspects. I mean, who would have thought that Robert Frost’s Homestead being vandalized would lead to a clue about what happened to Luc. I also like how they caught the person.

The end of the book was bittersweet. I am not going to say much beyond that. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the plotlines. He left nothing hanging. I am hoping that more books will be written with Sam as the main character. I did like him.


I gave Black Diamond Fall a 4-star rating. This was a great read with characters that I could connect with. The plotlines were wonderfully written. The mystery angle kept me on the edge of my seat.

I would give Black Diamond Fall an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language (some homophobic slurs). There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Black Diamond Fall. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank Polis Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Black Diamond Fall.

All opinions expressed on this review of Black Diamond Fall are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


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3 thoughts on “Black Diamond Fall by Joseph Olshan

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