IDYLL THREATS is an above-average crime whodunit with a twist: the police chief is gay. Thomas Lynch is the new chief in town and wants to fit in with the police department’s good ol’ boys club. He is neither flamboyant nor over-the-top. He has assimilated himself in the small town of Idyll, Connecticut and wants to retain the image of his post. The murder of Cecilia North proves a challenge for Lynch to keep his identity.
Author Stephanie Gayle solidly writes with the best in class alongside other modern crime writers. She covers the gruff details of the department and the quizzical wonderings of the murder with all the finesse readers would expect of the genre. The orientation of the protagonist is not a gimmick, but rather an enhancement, adding a certain flourish not usually found in these types of typically darker books.
My only hesitancy is the basis of the situation Lynch found himself in: how he knows about Cecilia North. It’s not a spoiler, considering it is at the beginning pages of the book. However, I don’t believe the newly appointed chief would allow himself to be involved in such a vulnerable situation. This makes it tricky to carry the rest of the book, considering the initial meetup isn’t all that plausible.
As for character development and plot narrative, Gayle shines. The people are all enjoyable and the end result feels tangible. A lot of effort went into crafting this and it shows. If you enjoy crime novels, IDYLL THREATS should be on your list to read.