Creepy and cultural, real and surreal
“Original Sin” by D. P. Lyle is book three in the “Samantha Cody Mystery” series; new readers will be able to follow along without having read the previous books, any needed information is included in the current story. This book combines cultural nuances with creepy and almost surreal events. Things might seem too bizarre to be real, but they absolutely have an authentic foundation.
The story unfolds in alternate narratives mostly by Lucy Wagner and Samantha Cody, although other points of view occasionally appear. Cody, a former detective from California, is visiting her childhood friend Wagner, a heart surgeon in Remington, Tennessee. The tale opens with an adrenalin rush as Wagner performs emergency heart surgery on John Scully, the preacher in the local church who practice snake handling. People are afraid of these “religious nut jobs,” as they call the congregation. Lucy soon finds that she has an unexpected connection to her now-deceased patient.
It is a small town, so everyone knows everyone else and everyone’s relatives. Conversation drives the plot, and the narrative includes everyday activities, easy-going banter, humor, food and drink of all sorts, and, of course, serious discussions about the odd things going on around town including dreams, disappearances, and two unsolved murders from the past. Of course, murders do not happen in a vacuum, and Cody finds that sorting everything out is difficult. This community has deep dark secrets; however, secrets never remain secret forever, no matter how hard people try, especially not now with DNA.
“Original Sin” is well written, compelling and yet disturbing with a unique cultural element. People know each other, and that familiarity provides many motives for murder. I was given a review copy of “Original Sin” by D. P. Lyle, Reputation Books, and Independent Publishers Group. It is quick to read and has danger on every page, and not just from the snakes. Vindictiveness, jealousy, and greed have no bounds.