Friday, September 11, 2015

Review of Stephanie Gayle's mystery "Idyll Threats"

Idyll Threats
by Stephanie Gayle

Reviewed by Lisa Haselton

Transitioning from being a NYC detective to police chief in a small CT town is quite a change and Thomas Lynch wants to make it work while keeping his private life separate from his professional life.

When he’s called in to investigate a murder, it’s common ground for Lynch with his introspective and methodical ways of approaching a new case. But it’s not common for small Idyll, CT. In fact, it’s quite inconvenient for the small town as Founder’s Day – a tourist draw – is about to begin. So Lynch and his staff are under a lot of pressure to solve the case quickly.

The realistic details add a lot of dimension to the fictional town of Idyll – whose inhabitants are anything but idle. Everyone knows everybody and secrets quickly become town gossip. As the new guy, Lynch faces a lot of suspicion and questions – especially about why he’d move to a small town from the big city. On top of that, he needs to not only get to know his staff, but also teach them the intricacies of solving a murder, as it’s not someone anyone has any experience with.

Gayle has crafted a main character with real-life flaws. He has doubts, he’s awkward as the new guy, and he’s struggling with his past – not unlike most of us. He’s a likable character and I felt natural empathy as I learned more of his back story. He loves being a cop – it’s a calling more than a career – and he’s good at it. The interactions with his staff are naturally awkward, since he’s so new to the job and change is never easy for anyone.

I loved how Chief Lynch pulled me into the small town’s murder investigation and I enjoyed the contrasts explored from his NYC experience to small-town America. It was also fun realizing how much technology has changed since 1997 – and attitudes toward an individual’s lifestyle. I admit to being a murder mystery buff and this story kept me engaged and curious. I forgot I was reading at times, as it seemed I was in the moment.

This is the first novel in Stephanie Gayle’s new Thomas Lynch series. I have to hope the next one comes out soon! Gayle has published several stories, narrative nonfiction articles, and another novel, My Summer of Southern Discomfort.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Idyll Threats and look forward to more in this new series. I consider this a highly recommended, pleasurable mystery read.

If you’re interested in learning more about Stephanie, visit her website.

Also: she’ll be the guest at The Writer’s Chatroom where you can chat with her live on Sunday, September 13 from 7-9PM EST.

Release date: September 8, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-6388-078-8
Publisher: Seventh Street Books

(I received an ARC of this book with no promise of a review of any kind.)

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