A Jake Longly Thriller
by D.P. Lyle
Oceanview Publishing pub date: 05-Oct-2021
AMBER LOVE 16-Aug-2022 This review is a courtesy provided by NetGalley. To support this site and my other work, please consider being a monthly donor at Patreon.com/amberunmasked; you can also buy my books through Amazon (or ask your local retailer to order you copies). I’m also an Amazon Influencer so you can shop through my lists of recommended products.
Thrill-a-minute crime fiction—infused with wry humor
Restaurant owner and former professional baseball player Jake Longly is hoping for a few weeks of fun with Nicole Jamison in the warm Orange County, CA sun—The OC, baby. After that, they’ll be on their way to LA for the filming of Nicole’s sure-to-be-a-hit screenplay.
On arrival, they discover that Nicole’s friend Megan Weatherly, a local TV reporter, has picked up an anonymous stalker. Megan downplays any real danger, but her new intern Abby, as well as Jake and Nicole, don’t agree. Bit by bit, as the harassment escalates and the shadowy man invades Megan’s world, Jake calls in the big guns from back home in Alabama: Ray and Pancake. But will Ray’s military black ops experience and Pancake’s technical skills be enough to expose the predator in time?
The stalker is no fool and likely has a predatory history. He makes no mistakes and manages to cover his trail completely. So, how do you identify and locate the untraceable? How do you protect Megan from a potentially lethal phantom?
Suddenly the sunshine and safety of The OC seem more facade than reality. Jake and crew must punch through that facade and dig into the dark world of celebrity stalking. The clock is ticking.
Perfect for fans of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich
This was my first foray in Dr. Lyle’s fiction work and it’s the fifth installment in his Jake Longly Thriller Series. The main criticism I have is that Jake, the main character, is tangentially associated with his father’s private detective agency, Longly Investigations. Jake’s girlfriend Nicole, his best friend Pancake, and his father Ray Longly – are far more critical to the actual sleuthing.
What’s positive is that this group works well as team in that they are efficient and skilled. None of Ray and Pancake’s super special government-acquired hacking skills are discussed in any sort of detail. Too techy wouldn’t be good, but there’s a void in this instance since 99% of the solving comes from those expert hacking skills. Ray was barely a glitch on the radar when it comes to development. He was mostly silent and didn’t add to the narrative at all. Pancake’s role covered everything Ray did. Jake would have been better utilized as a sidekick to Nicole as a main character. His back story is interesting: former baseball pitcher with enough money to own a restaurant he never has to manage personally.
Jake is along for the ride while Nicole heads to the wealth of the west coast, staying her movie mogul uncle’s mansion, so that they can be near Hollywood as her screenplay is turned into a movie. Nicole’s friend Megan is a local TV reporter with a stalker problem. Nicole had a history with stalkers during her acting years which gives her the connection to be right friend at the right time for Megan.
Author D.P. Lyle does an adequate job of escalating the threats against Megan. Megan’s intern, Abby, is introduced as a character who provides additional support for her which allows her to move from subordinate to trusted friend. Abby seems to fit in easily with the whole sleuthing team.
It’s unusual that the main character of the book is actually one of the least compelling. In The O.C., Jake Longly plays third fiddle to Nicole and Pancake. The dramatic tension of the stalker’s behaviors towards Megan are well-crafted. The big reveal comes at the beginning of the third act, 86% through, speeding up the action and ticking clock.