“Skin in the Game” by D. P. Lyle entices readers with a skillful story set in a small town in Tennessee. It is filled with beautiful geography but also with terror, madness, and cunning. The account is firmly grounded with a “down-home storytelling” style; it is entertaining and focused but with colorful details that keep readers captivated. The action is conversation driven, so readers hear what people say to each other, say about each other and, and say about the events. Incidents are described from various points of view with all intertwined into a frightening and intricate plot line. The investigative process on all levels is detailed, specific, and at times almost clinical.
The characters provide the foundation of the story. This is not just the account of a terrible crime; it is the story of those who perpetrated it, suffered because of it, and most importantly, those who solved it. The main characters, Bobby Cain and his sister Harper McCoy, are flawed, but dedicated, focused, and well skilled. They have intricate backstories that endear them to readers. Readers learn how they grew into their present day selves, and how they developed the skills needed for the task at hand. Additional characters, both good and not so good, are complex, true-to-life, and a supplement to the action.
Of course Lyle includes in a nice plug for books and authors when characters are cautioned to be careful what they say; “Mother’s a crime writer. You might end up in one of her books.” There is also a reminder for readers as well; “I expect you to go to Amazon and give it five stars.”
I received a review copy of “Skin in the Game” from D. P. Lyle and Suspense Publishing. It was a little creepy, but still enjoyable to read, and yes, per the narrative’s instructions, I gave it five stars.