In the small, sleepy town of Idyll, Connecticut, Police Chief Thomas Lynch assists police officer Michael Finnegan to uncover clues to his sister's disappearance two decades ago. Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found. Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman's corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan's past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woodsif Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister. Both cases reveal old secretsabout the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they've been hiding from each other their whole careers.
About the Author
Stephanie Gayle is the author of Idyll Threats, the first Thomas Lynch Novel, and My Summer of Southern Discomfort, which was chosen as one of Redbook's Top Ten Summer Reads and was a Book Sense monthly pick. Gayle has also published stories and narrative nonfiction pieces, including two Pushcart Prize nominees.
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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1972
Excerpted from "Idyll Hands"
Copyright © 2018 Stephanie Gayle.
Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Love, love, love the Thomas Lynch books!
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The third in the series and as I said yesterday, I believe its best to start at the beginning of this series even though the mysteries are all self contained there are so many characters with true arcs throughout the series that you won't want to miss out on what starts from the beginning. In this book there is more than one narrator, one of the detectives, Michael Finnegan helps narrate a few chapters as one of the mysteries is from his past and his family. His sister went missing 27 years ago and Detective Finnegan has always felt guilty for not be able to help her and his Chief decides to step in and help look for new clues.
3.5 Stars! It’s a credit to Stephanie Gayle’s writing chops that I was able to jump right into this story with her characters, not having read the previous two books in the series. She included a bit of backstory for context but it’s a stand-alone pleasure to read. The best way to describe the tone of it is “neo-noir” – there’s lots of amusing police-chat and razzing, paunchy guys with drinking problems and complicated love lives, dames with sass. It’s interesting that Gayle chooses to write mostly male characters, and that her female characters play only supporting/classic dead girl roles. They’re all three-dimensional and interesting, but as careful as she is to include people of various backgrounds (and not in a token way, either – it all felt very genuine) I would have thought women would have moved and shaken the story a bit more. I didn’t really mind that she didn’t – people can write what and whom they want, IMO, as long as it’s done well – I just expected a modern police precinct to include a couple of female cops. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Boston and New York, and it was fun to have those two cities contrasting with the suburban quiet of Idyll, Connecticut. Settings are characters here, and characters are believable products of their settings, and the plot boiled along nicely. I lost a couple of hours of sleep to see how it all came together!
Michael Finnegan is a rookie cop who puts up with a lot of newbie banter in his job on the Charleston, Massachusetts police force. One matter, however, consumes his life in many ways. In 1972 his sister Susan disappeared. At first no one even called the police as she had run away two years previously. Now, Michael is riddled with guilt wishing he had initially taken her absence more seriously and his attempts to find her are fierce. Twenty plus years later, an arm and then the entire body of a murdered woman is found in the woods. It turns out it’s not Susan but a different woman named Elizabeth. Police Chief Thomas Lynch is a gay cop who is ultra-sensitive about his life style but has “come out,” albeit shyly and quietly. However, he is a sensitive guy internally, albeit gruff externally, who agrees to help Finnegan with his search for his sister if Finnegan agrees to help with the investigation into the murdered woman’s killer. The story is told from two points of view of the past and present which enables the reader to think he or she is also doing the investigation into these two mysteries. It works well even though the course of the searches seems to progress quite slowly, more like the real world and not a TV 60-minute crime story. Small towns have large secrets and there are plenty in Idyll, Massachusetts. No spoilers here! Obviously, the mysteries will be solved as the police pick through the facts and fiction of the town where everyone knows everyone else but are careful about what they reveal. This is a satisfying mystery because the pace is perfect and the revelations about the families, friends, neighbors and acquaintances are clearly clues as to the loves and hates of seemingly innocent, quiet residents. New relationships are forged in the process. Idyll Hands… is a cleverly crafted novel that will truly satisfy mystery fans and even contemporary fiction fans. Nicely fashioned fiction, Stephanie Gayle!