It’s two weeks before Christmas 1997, and Police Chief Thomas Lynch faces a crisis when Cody Forrand, a six-year-old with a life-threatening medical condition, goes missing during a blizzard. Lynch’s suspicions about who abducted Cody are met with scorn by his detectives, some of whom can’t handle the fact that’s he’s gay. With half the station out sick with the flu, Lynch seeks outside help. It arrives in the shape of an FBI agent for whom Lynch feels an immediate attraction.
To complicate matters, local crime is on the rise and Lynch finds himself the target of prank calls and hate speech that he worries is the work of a colleague. Time is ticking away, Lynch is struggling to discover who is behind Idyll’s crime spree, and he’s beginning to doubt that Cody will ever be found . . .
“If you haven’t discovered Stephanie Gayle yet, welcome to the show. Idyll Fears is a gripping read, a ticking-clock thriller populated with nuanced characters and anchored in convincing police work. Thomas Lynch is one of my new favorite leads—smart, spiky, and struggling to make his own place in a town that needs him, but may not deserve him. I can’t wait to visit Idyll again.” — Glen Erik Hamilton, Anthony Award–winning author of Past Crimes
“Thomas Lynch is a compelling, deeply human character—at once prickly, damaged, and heroic—and Stephanie Gayle’s evocative prose breathes life into every twisty, thrilling page.”
—Chris Holm, Anthony Award–winning author of The Killing Kind
“Smart, spare, and insightful, this compelling procedural has it all: a uniquely endearing main character, realistic dialogue, a surprising and twisty story, and, above all, the talented and stylish storytelling of a confident and sure-handed new voice in crime fiction. Could not put it down!”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author
“Thomas Lynch is a fine, nuanced character—a police chief readers can believe in and root for. The tale is riveting, right up there with the best police procedurals. I highly recommend it!”
—Terry Shames, award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries
“Believable in both characterization and the ebb and flow of police detection.”
“Fans of the first book will be delighted, and newcomers will find a new favorite.”
“Lynch is a finely nuanced and congenial character coping with close-minded outlooks and threats to his career. Gayle handles the potentially prickly plot aspect of placing a special-needs child in jeopardy with finesse and provides a thoughtful portrayal of Cody’s family…. [A] robust police procedural packed with suspense.”
“An involving adventure for the readers, and places front and centre an attractive central character in the person of the beleaguered gay police chief.”
“The character development in Idyll Fears is outstanding. Chief Lynch is far from a put-upon saint, but a fully realized person for whom being gay is part of who he is rather than the sum total of his existence…. Enjoyable and I am looking forward to where this series takes readers next.”
–Mystery Scene Magazine