REVIEW: Idyll Hands (Thomas Lynch novel #3 ) by Stephanie Gayle
I obtained the ARC paperback of this book from Amazon Vine same as the first two books in this series that I reviewed previously.
Book is available September 4.
Dear Stephanie Gayle,
Thomas Lynch, the title character of these series, charmed me from the very first book in the series. I really liked the guy, his flaws and all, and wanted him to be happy in his personal and professional life. More importantly, I really liked his voice, sprinkled with occasional sarcasm and this book did not disappoint in this regard.
I love how Thomas is slowly, very slowly feeling more comfortable as a police chef in the tiny town of Idyll, how he is slowly getting respect of his detectives, even if initially they were not eager to work under a police chief who happens to be gay.
Both mysteries in this book are cold cases and both are missing person cases. In fact initially I was not too excited about the resolutions for both cases. It is hard to explain, but I think it is because especially in the case of Michael Finnigan’s missing sister. I did not really expect anything surprising. I expected them to find out that his sister was dead because after so many years it was impossible to hope for the better outcome and it was hard for me to imagine that anybody who so far had been presented as an interesting and important character would be implicated in the murder.
As far as the second case was concerned (and unless I majorly misunderstood the story, the second case was also a cold one – it was just a much earlier cold case. The bones were found several years ago, not in 1999 contrary to what blurb states.) I was more interested in the outcome and I am not sure I can explain why.
The narrative, however, quickly won me over. Neither of the two investigations were moving fast. In fact, they were moving quite slowly for the most of the book, but the work detectives did feel real to me, even if calling people, visiting people, talking to people, talking to people did not feel very exciting, but I felt it was very necessary.
The main reason why the narrative won me over though was because of the human factor. The relationship between Thomas and his two main detectives Michael Finnigan and Lewis Wright grows by leaps and bounds by the time the book ends and it was not always hearts and flowers.
Even at the beginning of the book Lewis and several other men are not too eager to invite their chief to play in the annual baseball competition and Lewis still does not show too much eagerness to investigate the case with Thomas, but we do hear him admitting closer to the end that Thomas is many times better than their previous chief. Hey maybe one day Lewis will get in his thick head that homophobic comments are not okay to make to anybody, not just to the chief whom you now appear to like and respect.
Since the older case is about Michael Finnigan’s sister, we do learn a lot about him, but the blurb talks about his secrets in such an ominous way that I thought it would be something terrible. I was not sure what terrible things we were supposed to discover, because I have not noticed one.
In this book Michael Finnigan also narrates some chapters and I was glad that the chapters are marked accordingly because I honestly did not notice that much difference between Michael and Thomas’ voice and I thought I should have noticed that.
We also get to observe Thomas’ attempts to have a romantic life and I felt for the guy so very much. I have faith in him eventually finding someone :).
Thanks for the review, Sirius; this sounds like a series I might enjoy. And how wonderful to find that my library already owns the first two and has this title on order!
Kareni I hope you will , I think these books deserve a wider audience so I hope it will work for you .
As an aside I also wanted to ask for recommendation for gay mysteries / mm mysteries . For the purpose of this request gay mysteries are preferred because I have read very few m/m mysteries where mystery storyline was developed as well as a romance storyline . However if you know mm mystery with the big emphasis on mystery , I will be delighted to read it . Note that I have read all the usual suspects :), Thanks !
I’m in the middle of this and really enjoying it.
@Sirius: I was going to recommend Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy’s A Solitary Man but I see you already reviewed it. You didn’t review it, but I’m guessing you’ve already read Think of England by K.J. Charles. Have you read S.E. Jakes’ Hell or High Water series? How about A Reason To Believe by
I haven’t read them but there are books by Manna Francis, Pandora Pine, and Devon McCormack that look intriguing.
@Kareni: I have read those thanks Kareni. Actually SE Jake’s series didn’t work for me, but everything else I did read. I mean, no, Pandora Pine and Devon McCormack I have to check out thank you.
Kim I am happy to hear that.
Thanks for the review. I haven’t read this series and it sounds interesting. I’ll be checking it out. Have you read Marshall Thornton’s Boystown series? Michael Nava? Neither series has individual titles that are romances but the mysteries are well done, and have some romantic elements. I also like Elle Parker’s Dino Martini mysteries (there are only 2 that I know of) and AJ Thomas’ A Casual Weekend Thing.
Thanks ! I have read Michael Nava ( and Joseph Hansen too :)), I have read the first book of Marshall Thompson video store mysteries but actually meant to try Boystown and haven’t yet . Thanks for reminding me . I have read Elle Parker’s series ( I also only know of two books ) and have read several books by AJ Thomas but this one I keep wanting to get to .
BTW, I can’t not mention Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson series. It is not mm, but terrific mysteries with a relationship arc over several books. Clare is both an army reservist and a brand new, female minister in a small New England town. That was all it took to pique by my interest, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Excellent mystery series, that starts with In The Bleak Midwinter.
And there is Laurie R. King’s Kate Martinelli series. I don’t distinguish between mystery and suspense (they seem very similar to me and I’m one of those readers who sort of lumps them into a single category), but I think it might fit your criteria as well . . . ?
@nblibgirl: Thanks. I had a feeling that I already looked at Clare Fergusson series and decided it was not for me ( critical reviews mention heroine with military training acting stupid and I am afraid it may not work for me), but I will definitely check out Kate Martinelli. Thanks again.
@Sirius: I finished the first book in the series, Idyll Threats, last night and quite enjoyed it. I will definitely be continuing on with the series. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Sirius.
@Kareni: Oh excellent :).
Me too. Finished the first two and about to download this one. Great recommendation!
@Nblibgirl: Oh fantastic! And I am actually reading the first Kate Martinelli book right now so thank you as well :).