Sunday, September 13, 2015

Idyll Threats: A Thomas Lynch Novel - Stephanie Gayle

Idyll Threats: A Thomas Lynch Novel
Stephanie Gayle
Prometheus Books/Seventh Street, Sep 8 2015, $15.95
ISBN 9781633880788

In 1997, following the shooting death of his partner by a dealer last year, NYPD Detective Thomas Lynch leaves his Big Apple job to accept the position of Idyll, Connecticut Chief of Police.  While off duty, a speeder interrupts Thomas’ sad reflection on Rick’s death.  Thomas pulls over the moving violator; but Leo Wilton of nearby Ashford hits on him.  They head to a dilapidated shack near Hought’s Pond; where Thomas and Leo disturb a young heterosexual couple making out.  Leo points out to the trespassers that his partner is a cop, which upsets Thomas as he prefers not advertising his badge when on a gay tryst.

On the Nipmuc Golf Course’s ninth hole, groundskeeper Cal Jackson finds a female corpse.  Thomas arrives at the scene and immediately sees the incompetence of his staff and the body of Cecilia North containing multiple gunshot holes.  The case turns personal when Thomas realizes the victim is the twentyish woman chased out of the cabin last night.  Fearing outing by either his almost sex partner or Cecilia’s, Thomas gingerly investigates the homicide while trying to remain in the closet.

The first solid Lynch police procedural is somewhat linear except for the chief’s desperate tactics to solve the case without being exposed.  Lynch is a unique protagonist whose sex addiction led to his lower head resolving the ticket; while his sexual preference cover-up obfuscates the investigation.  Idyll Threats reminds the audience how far much of society has come to accept LGBT First Amendment rights in less than two decades, but also cautions supporters that the cause is far from over as pockets of resistance remain.

Harriet Klausner

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