“Sunshine State” by D. P. Lyle is book three in the “Jake Longly” series, but it has enough suspense and hilarious antics that new readers will have no trouble following Jake and friends along the Gulf Shore.
“Sunshine State” is largely Jake Longly’s first person narrative, and he obligingly introduces himself and the various players. He talks to himself; he talks to others, and he talks to readers. He shares, strategizes, plans, and sometimes even thinks. The plot is conversation driven, so readers know what he says to people and what they say to him. He comments on everything, including what he thinks about people, the case, and the food.
Jake begrudgingly works for his father at Longly Investigations but prefers working at his bar on the sand on the Gulf Shore. Longly Investigations now has a very unusual case, one filled with mystery and intrigue, one that makes absolutely no sense. A serial killer in a Florida prison wants to prove that he only killed five people instead of seven. Since someone is footing the bill for the investigation, Jake and his familiar crew head off to check out the multiple murders, multiple players, and multiple conspiracies. Readers follow along as the case unfolds with the clues and the miscues, the revelations and the theories.
There is plenty of humor, starting with the players, “This is Tommy Jeffers. Folks call him Pancake.” and their feelings about the situation, “More like an exchange program. We can ship them a couple of liquored-up good old boys complete with pick-up trucks, and they could send us a serial killer.”
Lyle immerses readers in the geography of the area with relaxed and flowing descriptions, “The air held a salty must, and a gentle breeze came off the water. The sky was blue and pock-marked with wads of fluffy clouds”
“Sunshine State” is an entertaining book, with a proposition so outrageous and improbable that readers are compelled to turn the pages to see just how this absurdity plays out. I received a review copy of “Deep Six” from D. P. Lyle, and Oceanview Publishing. It is not a headache-inducing thriller; it is an entertaining book to read, considering it is about a serial killer, of course. Jake and his cohorts are not intense investigators, dedicated sleuths, or even excessively thoughtful; they are just fun.