Review: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle


Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found. Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman’s corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan’s past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods–if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister. Both cases reveal old secrets–about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they’ve been hiding from each other their whole careers.

My review:

As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read Idyll Hands. I didn’t know this series so I hadn’t read the previous books, but I believe this can be read as a standalone and I had no issues following the characters and their backstory.

This is a police procedural set in the 90s, and it features two different cold cases that must be solved many years later. Although the main character is chief Tommy Lynch, we also have Detective Finnegan narrate his side of the story, and the disappearance of his sister was my favorite case out of the two.

I really enjoyed this book, not only because of the mysteries, which were smart and well-written but because of the interaction between the characters. I loved reading about Lynch’s love life, and I found incredibly interesting that he was the gay chief of police, as I haven’t encountered many characters like him in mystery books. He was so likable!

As for the investigation, I did think that the first clue for the Finnegan’s sister case was a bit too coincidental (Seriously? No one thought of that? And are we supposed to believe that many years later someone just spills the truth after speaking to Tommy Lynch for the first time?), but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story at all.

This is a great cop procedural featuring a unique protagonist and a set of interesting secondary characters. Stephanie Gayle is an amazing writer and I loved reading all the references to 90s movies and culture.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review


11 thoughts on “Review: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle

  1. Diana says:

    Great review, Annie. Lynch certainly sounds like an interesting MC. The 90s setting also sounds good. Glad you enjoyed this one even without having read the other books in the series.


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