The Mask of Midnight by Laurie Stevens

Rigged
by D.P. Lyle

Oceanview Publishing
$26.99
ISBN 9978-1608093380
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
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Rigged

Review by G. Robert Frazier

Jake Longly may be one of the most reluctant private investigators you’ll ever come across. If it weren’t for his father Ray, who owns the company, and his girlfriend Nicole who pushes him into the business, he’d be just as happy running his Gulf Coast restaurant. But at least once he takes a case, he puts everything he has into it.

Jake is back for the fourth time in D.P. Lyle’s newest novel, Rigged (Oceanview Publishing, $26.95, 9781608093380). But if you’re unfamiliar with him, rest assured this adventure is easily accessible to newbies without having to read any of the prior novels to catch up.

His latest investigation begins simply enough with a routine probe of a couple’s finances ahead of a steamy divorce settlement. But when the female and her newest boyfriend is discovered slain execution style on a beach, the scope of the investigation takes a decidedly sharper turn.

The case is of personal interest to one of Jake’s associates, Tommy (Pancake) Jeffers, who knew the female victim in his grammar school days.

The team quickly divvies up a list of potential witnesses to interview and leads to follow, all with the blessing of the local police chief who welcomes the extra help in solving the twin murders. A packet of drugs found on the male victim opens the door to a possible drug deal gone awry, while the woman’s estranged husband is a natural suspect as well, despite his seemingly airtight alibi on an oil rig at sea at the time of the murders.

Lyle, who is an award-winning author of numerous books and short stories, screenwriter, and host of the Criminal Mischief podcast series, lets the reader in on who did the deed fairly early on, spoiling some of the mystery but amping up the suspense as our intrepid team moves closer and closer to the killer.

The fun part, as in all the Longly books, is in the snappy dialogue exchanges between Jake, his team, and the assorted suspects, making for a somewhat humorous literary escape compared to Lyle’s more serious thriller novels.

G. Robert Frazier is a freelance writer and former reporter and editor at several Middle Tennessee newspapers. He also reviews books for BookPage and BloggingforBooks and has served as a script reader for both the Austin Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competitions.