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Jake Longly #2

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The result is one part Carl Hiaasen mixed with two parts Elmore Leonard and garnished with Robert Parker at his best.—Jon Land, The Providence Journal

... a thriller that is all-out fantastic!—Suspense Magazine

Named one of Bookreporter’s 2017 Favorites.


Indie Bound

Jake Longly and girlfriend Nicole Jamison are still recovering from their ordeal with Ukrainian underworld boss Victor Borkov and life on the Gulf Coast is returning to normal. Then Nicole’s producer uncle Charles Balfour calls asking them to head to New Orleans where his mega-star, A-list actor Kirk Ford, has awakened with the corpse of a college co-ed in his hotel bed. Ford, in the Big Easy for a location shoot, remembers little of the evening and nothing of the murder. As if things couldn’t get worse, the girl is the niece of local mafioso-type Tony Guidry who will do what is necessary to avenge his niece's death.

As Jake and Nicole attempt to put the pieces together, they butt heads with Tony’s muscle, his near-do-well yet aggressive nephews (the dead girl’s brothers), as well as drug dealers Ju Ju and Ragman. Of course, Ray and Pancake arrive to help sort things out with the help of Ford’s  beautiful co-stars in the multi-billion dollar Space Quest franchise, Tegan and Tara James (aka The Twins), who vehemently support and defend Ford. 

But something isn’t right. The facts don’t fit. Who would want Kristi Guidry dead, or Kirk framed for murder? And why? Everyone has an opinion, including Kristi’s friends, her ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Troy Doucet, and even local fortuneteller Madam Theresa. It’s up to Jake and Nicole to decipher who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and exactly who schemed to murder Kristi Guidry. 

Nothing is easy in the Big Easy.


D.P. Lyle hits it over the fence with A-LIST. This mystery, featuring former Major League pitcher and reluctant P.I. Jake Longly, is fast-paced, slick, and funny. Bad times in the Big Easy mean a great time for readers. Head to New Orleans with Jake, and enjoy the trip.—-Meg Gardiner, best-selling author of UNSUB

DP Lyle’s latest in the Jake Longly series, A-LIST, will transport readers into the underbelly of The Big Easy in grand style and have them laughing the entire way---Linda Castillo, best-selling author of the Kate Burkholder Series

D.P. Lyle serves up ample portions of mystery and suspense along with the chicory coffee and sweet beignets as P.I. Jake Longly digs for the truth about a murdered co-ed in New Orleans.  Is A-List actor Kirk Ford the murderer? The slain young woman was found in his bed. But nothing is simple in the Big Easy, and  Longly, along with girlfriend Nicole Jemison, must peel back multiple  layers of intrigue and corruption to solve the mystery at the heart of ‘A-List.’ New Orleans has never been as sexy or as dangerous. Highly recommended!—-Paul Levine, bestselling author of  BUM LUCK

Aptly named, A-List ranks high on the “must buy” list for holiday shoppers. Reluctant P.I. Jake Longly investigates the darker side of the movie business, where professional jealousies and hedonistic habits have deadly consequences.  Fast-faced and funny, the seamless prose will transport you from reality to fantasy. Lyle evokes the sights and sounds of New Orleans in such a provocative manner, you’ll be packing your bags and catching the next flight to The Big Easy for your own adventure.—-K.J. Howe, author of THE FREEDOM BROKER

Former baseball player turned P.I. Jake Longly is back on the trail in A-List. A rollicking thrill ride through the mean streets and tasty restaurants of New Orleans. Murder, mobbed-up bad guys, Hollywood heartthrobs, and laughs! What more could you want? D.P. Lyle is at the top of his game!—-Matt Coyle, author of the Anthony Award-winning Rick Cahill crime novels

D.P. Lyle delivers again with A-LIST—snappy, sexy and speedy on every page. Hang on for this fast, fun tromp through the Big Easy. Readers will love learning more about Longly’s past while they worry about Jake and his entourage making it to the next page.-–Lisa Preston, best-selling author of Orchids and Stone and The Measure of the Moon

D. P. Lyle knows how to keep the narrative flowing at a rapid pace and keep the questions coming. A-List by D.P. Lyle, the second book in the Jake Longly series, blends humor with hard-boiled detective fiction to create a fast-paced, entertaining novel that will satisfy fans of the genre—New York Journal of Books

The A-List carries us away to New Orleans where DP Lyle doesn't disappoint. Big Hollywood stars, big egos, big crime, big mob, a young dead girl in a hotel room, beignets, the glory of New Orleans food and fast driving, what's not to love? The sexiness and humor of the A-List will keep you as transfixed as a stolen afternoon in the Monteleone's hypnotic carousel bar. Highly recommended!—Shannon Kirk, author of METHOD 15/33


Suspense Magazine

Author D.P. Lyle certainly knows how to pen a series. With this latest series based on Jake Longly, Private Investigator, readers embark on Longly’s second mystery that takes place in the colorful, one-of-a-kind, “Big Easy.”

Jake and Nicole Jamison are heading to New Orleans to give some aid to Nicole’s uncle, Charles Balfour. Balfour is a movie producer who is in more than a bind when you think about the repercussions that could occur…now that his star actor, Kirk Ford, has woken up in bed with the dead body of a college girl named Kristi Guidry by his side.

“The Big Easy” is the location of Balfour’s movie shoot, and when Jake gets there he is amazed at the reality he finds, seeing as that the details are far more like something a screenwriter would’ve created and not real life at all.

Kirk Ford remembers almost nothing about the evening before. He also has no explanation whatsoever how and/or why this girl was murdered. And just to make matters worse, it just so happens that the corpse was the niece of a local Mafia Don who will make sure that his kin’s death is avenged at once. As money wanes because of the gossip and danger, the movie is stopped in its’ tracks. The actor’s name must be cleared…fast. Add in all kinds of suspects, from Kristi’s friends to her ex-boyfriend; as well as adding in advice from homicide detectives and even a local fortune teller, and you have a thriller that is all-out fantastic!

D.P. Lyle has made sure to give the reader a tale where the slogan: “Nothing is Easy in The Big Easy” will stick with you long after you’re done reading. Jake Longly is yet another character created by Lyle whose next adventure is worth the wait.

Providence Journal Review by Jon Land

With “The A-List," Dr. Doug Lyle serves up a prescription that’s equal shades light and dark, a canny blend of humor, hijinks and just plain fun.

Think classic James Ellroy-like Hollywood gothic relocated to New Orleans when superstar actor Kirk Ford wakes up one morning next to a dead girl whose mob relatives promise to be none-too-happy about her denouement. Enter Lyle’s trusty private eye Jake Longly to weave his way through the tangle before both Ford’s latest movie and his life get shut down for good.

The result is one part Carl Hiaasen mixed with two parts Elmore Leonard and garnished with Robert Parker at his best. In Longly, Lyle has crafted a modern-day Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade, perfect representatives for their age, just as Longly is for ours. His first-person narrative is peppered with snappy, staccato prose that pops clean off the page, making this a series and author you don’t want to miss.


“A-List” by D.P. Lyle features an odd assortment of characters who call the Gulf Coast home. Jake Longly is an ex-baseball player who runs Captain Rocky’s Surf and Turf, while his father Ray runs a P. I. firm, Longly Investigations. Jake and his friends travel to New Orleans at the request of a friend when an A-list actor, star of the “Space Quest” movies gets arrested for the murder of a local girl found strangled in his bed. This celebrity status means damage control and cover up right from the start. Lies, lies, and more lies are entangled so much that the truth is hard to find.

The book is primarily written as Jake’s first person narrative so the narrative is mostly dialogue driven. He paints a laid-back, colorful picture of New Orleans “Soon we were out over Lake Pontchartrain, where the wind whipped the water into foam and some of the waves looked as if they might wash over the road.” Comic relief abounds as they try to move the investigation along. “What are you doing? Negotiating the Louisiana Purchase? And when all else fails, call upon the master of mystery “All I’m saying is that this might be an Agatha Christie locked room case. There might be someone else involved.” 

“A-List” was not a nail-biting thriller, but was a quick, fun book to read, considering there was a murder after all. The characters are light-hearted and funny, and no one takes things too seriously. I received a copy of “A-List” from Oceanview Publishing, D. P. Lyle, and NetGalley to review. It was an entertaining book, and I enjoyed reading it."

Cat Ellington Review:

”Jake Longly and Nicole Jemison are the Rick Castle and Kate Beckett of private investigators.

Jake Longly and Nicole Jemison are the Seeley Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan of private investigators.

Jake Longly and Nicole Jemison are the Ryan Booth and Alex Parrish of private investigators.

. . .Catch my drift?

And if you enjoy watching those fictive, made-for-tv characters—zany as they are—by way of any of the respective dramas on which they feature, then you will indeed enjoy D.P. Lyle’s impending mystery thriller, A-List.

Set in the ever effervescent New Orleans—that’s N’awlins to us non-natives—the fun and food-filled, liquor-flowing tale gets underway when the alpha female Nicole receives a phone call from her uncle Charles Balfour, a big shot Hollywood movie producer/director, asking for both Jake’s and her help in the investigation of a murdered young woman inside of a Big Easy five-star hotel room—which just so happens to involve a world-famous, and exceptionally good-looking, albeit whorish, movie star named Kirk Ford.

The young woman, Kristy Guidry, and Ford have had intimate relations in Ford’s room, of course, and when the Hollywood royal awakes the next day to find Guidry laying next to him, literally dead to the world, all hell suddenly breaks loose, especially after the girl’s uncle, Tony Guidry—a mob boss of both local and long distance influence—learns that his beloved niece, whom he, by the way, idolizes nearly to the extreme of perversity, has been killed. Tony suspects pretty boy Kirk. And Tony, the top Don of the Southern Regions, vows deadly retribution.

. . .He wants his niece’s murder avenged. And he wants his niece’s murder avenged now.

Enter a foursome that even the Master of the Crime Caper himself, the same being Carl Hiaasen, would get a kick out of: Ray Longly, founder of Longly Investigations. He’s quite a guy. And he’s also Jake’s father; the big and extra beefy Tommy “Pancake” Jeffers, Ray’s partner and a menacing red head who can pack a hefty punch—on both criminals and food; Nicole Jemison, a ridiculously beautiful—however domineering—P.I. whose only flaw is her tendency to forget that she entered the world from her mother’s womb equipped with a clitoris, vulva, and vaginal cavity, and not with a penis, scrotum, and testicles; and of course there’s our main protagonist, Jake Longly, formerly famous MLB pitcher turned P.I./bar owner and Nicole’s love interest.

. . .Added to this badass, though wacky, quartet of star characters are a supporting cast just as lovable, even if downright scandalous: Kirk Ford, screen idol and one of Hollywood’s biggest moneymaking stars; Tegan and Tara James, gorgeous “identical” twin actresses and Kirk’s sisterish (Is that a word?) co-stars who, like their “big brother” Kirk, are in N’awlins shooting the latest installment of a major multi-billion dollar blockbuster franchise (Space Quest) that the trio have starred in together since its inception; Marty Ebersole, director of Space Quest, who’s all about protecting his interests; and Troy Doucet, NOPD detective assigned to the Guidry murder case, and who, in turn, works with Ray, Pancake, Jake, and Nicole to crack it.

. . .Who killed Kristy Guidry? And why? What had been his or her motive?

A small group of bit players and extras—including the two brothers of the deceased, Kevin and Robert—round out this adventurous mystery. And it is one that is sure to hold your interest as it had mine.

The Big Easy floweth with plenty of gumbo and rice, oyster po’boys, crawfish étouffée, jalepeño cornbread, and of course, liquor, as our exceptional team of P.I.s work both the French Quarter and the gator-infested swamps to find a killer—at least before the Mafiosi do.

Great work of fiction by D.P. Lyle. And if I may say as much, A-List is to me not so much of a thriller as it is a murder mystery. In fact, the narrative is better suited for the action/adventure/crime/mystery genres than it is for the thriller genre. Nevertheless, it was an amusing and hilarious read.

Here’s another thing. Though I do recommend A-List, readers must be informed that the same is a “true-to-form murder mystery.” You won’t find out who killed Kristy Guidry (and why) until the the book is two to three blinks away from its ending.

. . .Okay that may be a bit of an exaggeration, as the figure of speech was only used here to stress a point. But because A-List is overall a genuinely entertaining read, the reader should not expect to bore.

I applaud D.P. Lyle for a work well-penned, but because of the stretch of waiting that it took to get the the heart valve of the mystery, I’m inclined to settle this particular Jake Longly adventure with a four star rating."

NYJB Review:

Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense: Organized Crime; Private Investigators; Amateur Sleuths——D. R. Meredith

“D. P. Lyle knows how to keep the narrative flowing at a rapid pace and keep the questions coming.”

A-List by D.P. Lyle, the second book in the Jake Longly series, blends humor with hard-boiled detective fiction to create a fast-paced, entertaining novel that will satisfy fans of the genre.

It is never good news for a producer when his A-List actor, star of a billion dollar movie franchise, wakes up to find a dead body in his bed and no memory of what happened. Fortunately producer Charles Balfour’s niece, Nicole Jamison and her partner Jake Longly have connections.

Nicole still has her PI license and technically still works with Longly Investigations, so who better to save her uncle’s franchise film empire by finding the real murderer of young Kristi Guidry, thus getting his A-List actor, Kirk Ford out of jail and off the hook? Time is money in the movie industry, and Uncle Charles needs Kirk back on the set ASAP.

Nicole and Jake have a confab with Ray Longly, owner of Longly Investigations and Jake’s father, who asks if Kirk Ford is in the habit of picking up local girls while on location.

Nicole is honest about Kirk’s proclivities. “He screws around, no doubt there, but he’s not malicious about it.” Meaning the actor doesn’t make a habit of strangling his girlfriends.

Ray agrees to take the case, particularly when he learns Uncle Charles will pay triple his agency’s usual fees. “I like the sound of that,” he tells Nicole. Like the film industry, Longly Investigations relies on a decent cash flow.

Jake and Nicole drive to New Orleans at just under warp speed where the film company is on location. “In rapid succession, she dropped a Corvette, a Lexus, and a jacked-up SUV in her wake.”

In New Orleans, the Big Easy, they check into the Monteleone and meet with Marty Ebersole, the film’s director, for the lowdown on Kirk’s close encounter with a dead girlfriend in a locked room. The police found two wine bottles, three joints, one half-smoked, used condoms, and Kristi Guidry strangled with her own bra.

To make matters even more dicey, Ray and his sidekick Pancake learn that Kristi is only 19 and her uncle. Tony Guidry, is the baddest dude in the Big Easy. Ton is alleged to have a controlling interest in prostitution, drugs, fraud, probable murders, and with bought-and-paid-for city officials, including the police, the medical examiner’s office, and a certain Assistant District Attorney, Melissa Mooring, who is handling the prosecution.

Kristi also had two brothers, Robert and Kevin, both big, look meaner than they are, and if not dumber than a post, close to it. While Kristi is—or was—Tony’s favorite person in the world, he merely tolerates the two brothers.

Kirk receives bail, much to the relief of Uncle Charles and Ebersole, so filming can continue on the sixth of the Space Quest movies. However, the little problem of how someone else can have entered a locked hotel room, strangled Kristie, and left without Kirk knowing still needs to be solved.

The twins, Tara and Tegan James, Kirk’s twin sidekicks in the Space Quest series are adamant that Kirk is innocent. “No way,” they said in unison.” The twins also say that “Kristi being around for a whole week meant he totally liked her.”

If Kirk really liked Kristi, then why would he kill her? When ketamine is found in both Kirk’s and Kristie’s blood, as well as in the half-smoked joint from the hotel, but not in the other two, the question becomes where had the joint come from. Kirk says Kristi brought it, and neither of them knew there was ketamine in it. The ketamine does provide a defense of diminished responsibility for Kirk—if he is guilty.

Kristi’s Uncle Tony learns of the ketamine from his source in the medical examiner’s office, and is incensed. He sees it as a way for Kirk to escape a murder charge. If Kirk doesn’t go down for Kristi’s murder, Uncle Tony has other means of seeing the actor punished.

New questions arise almost daily. The hotel’s computer shows that Kirk’s key card was used at about the time of the murder, but there was only one key card to the room, and it was found by the police exactly where Kirk says he always put it. Who used the key card? Was it Kirk? Or Kristi?

All of Kristi’s friends say that she was sweet, innocent, and had no enemies. Is Kirk really the target of the murder: drug me, kill Kristi, and frame him? But who hates Kirk enough to put him at risk of the death penalty?

D. P. Lyle knows how to keep the narrative flowing at a rapid pace and keep the questions coming. He also demonstrates to those in doubt that humor can have a place in noir fiction. Jake is a likeable wise ass who keeps the really nasty scenes from becoming too sickening. An example is Uncle Tony’s body disposal method.

The discerning fan may solve the who, how, and why more quickly than the author might wish, but still will read to the end of the book just in case. Given all the misdirection in the story, even those careful reads can always be wrong.    

BookLoons Review: Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Can A-List mega movie star Kirk Ford wakes up in bed with a bit of a problem – his latest heartthrob lies beside him with the bra that strangled her still wrapped around her neck!

Panic setting in, he calls police and a lawyer. After all, he was in a locked room with just the dead girl and himself. She obviously didn't commit suicide and he is the only other person in the room.

Being a big movie star is not going to save him. He remembers nothing of the fatal evening. To make matters worse, the dead girl is a college co-ed and the niece of a local Mafioso-type kingpin who vows to avenge her death.

Enter Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison, PIs who find themselves embroiled in the local underworld. We get to meet some extremely interesting characters – a fortune teller who makes a prediction Jake is not at all happy with; the dead girl's two dim-witted brothers; a movie director who is working against the clock to get location shots finished so the cast and crew can leave New Orleans (taking a murder suspect with him); various people immersed in the drug trade; and identical twin sisters who are not really identical and have an aversion to alligators.

A-List by D.P. Lyle is fast-moving, full of suspense, with delightful dialogue and an unusual plot that really works well. Jake and Nicole are an interesting couple who keep the plot racing. Don't miss this one. Lyle's first in the Jake Longly series, Deep Six won high praise. I am sure A-List will do the same.

InD’Tale Review by Chantel Hardge

When A-list actor Kirk Ford wakes up with a dead girl in his bed, Jake Longly and his girlfriend Nicole are hired to look into what appears to be a pretty straightforward case. As much as Nicole wants to believe that her old friend Kirk is as innocent as he claims, the fact remains that two people were in a locked hotel room, and Kristi Guidry wound up dead. Be that as it may, this case is not as open and shut as it would seem. Newfound evidence casts substantial doubt on Kirk's guilt.

As Jake and Nicole continue to unravel the curious details surrounding the crime, the question looms: if Kirk did not kill Kristi, who did?

Set in spectacular New Orleans, the second book in the Jake Longly series explores the city and all its trappings in exquisite detail. Mr. Lyle has written a deliciously entertaining book filled to the brim with colorful characters. 

Nicole is intelligent and resourceful, while Jake is the very antithesis of the stereotypical private investigator. The narrative is fun and quirky, but this book should not be read as a standalone. Readers will almost certainly feel lost without the necessary backstory to 8ill in  the gaps. As enjoyable as this book is, the alternating point of view from first to third person in various chapters may be disconcerting to some. 

Additionally, the subdued ending does not offer one enough closure. In short, if readers are looking for a fast-paced read set in a wonderful locale, "A-list" is sure to satisfy! 

 Killer Nashville A-LIST Review by G. Robert Frazier

When A-list actor Kirk Ford wakes up next to a deceased woman in a New Orleans hotel, his arrest for her murder threatens to derail his career and ruin a multi-million dollar Hollywood film series. Enter Jake Longly and a team of investigators determined to find the truth behind the murder.

A-List, written by cardiologist and forensics expert D.P. Lyle, is billed as a thriller, but more accurately is an old-school whodunit mystery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Longly and company – his father, Ryan, girlfriend and fellow investigator Nicole Jamison, and computer expert/muscle Tommy Jeffers, aka Pancake – are more than up to the challenge, whether it comes from the begrudging police detective in charge Troy Doucet to the less-than-friendly assistance of the local mafia don, Tony Guidry, whose niece was the victim.

After a tox screen by the medical examiner reveals both Kirk and the victim had traces of the date rape drug Ketamine in their systems, the clues point to a possible third party involved in the murder whose intent was to frame Kirk for the crime. Jake and Nicole spearhead a line of questioning of potential witnesses and acquaintances to both the victim and beleaguered actor, turning up occasional clues and red herrings along the way. Guidry, meanwhile, is intent on seeing Kirk punished for the death of his niece and uses his own streetwise resources to bully his way to truth.

Lyle’s medical background is a plus here as he is able to succinctly explain the technical details of the death while keeping the plot churning. The head-to-head confrontations between Longly and Guidry are entertaining reads, with snappy dialogue masking underlying threats. The clues ultimately pit the team of investigators in a thrilling head-to-head confrontation with Guidry in the violent finale.

Bless Their Hearts Mom Review

This is a FUNNY mystery, as Jake and Nicole have to not only deal with the drama of a film set, but all the drama NOLA can sling at them! You don't have to read the first book, to get the background of the characters, as Lyle gives you enough, to have a sense of their past. The mystery is a bit predictable, but the characters and dialogue will have you turning pages long into the night )I finished the book in 2 sittings!). if you are looking for something to boost the pre-winter doldrums, this book is it!

Fresh Fiction Review by Viki Ferrell

Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison are called into private eye duty once again in A-LIST. Jake is an ex-MLB pitcher and Nicole is a screenwriter. Jake and Nicole met in their last escapade as part-time private eyes for Jake's dad Ray, who owns a PI business in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Nicole receives a call from her uncle, Charles Balfour, a big-time movie producer, that his A- List movie star Kirk Ford has been arrested in New Orleans for the death of his latest fling. Kirk found Kristy Guidry dead in his bed after a night of wine and weed. 

Nicole talks Ray's dad into taking the case (not a difficult job), and Jake and Nicole head to New Orleans. They learn that Kristy was strangled to death with her bra. They also learn that she is the niece of Tony Guidry, a New Orleans entrepreneur with mob connections, possibly the old Dixie Mafia. Jake and Nicole set out to find Kristy's killer and attempt to clear Kirk. But they run into lots of opposition from Tony and his thugs. Tony seems to have his hands in everything, including law enforcement, the ME's office, and the District Attorney's office. He stays one step ahead of them all along the way. Where will their investigation lead? 

A-LIST is the second book in D. P. Lyle's Jake Longly series. Jake and Nicole are strong, intelligent and resourceful characters. There's a quirky mixture of supporting characters, some returning from book one and others new to the scene. Mr. Lyle develops the character of Ray, Jake's dad, quite a bit in A-LIST and discusses more of the dynamics and reason for the strained relationship between father and son.

The storyline moves through the streets of New
Orleans and into the bayou at warp speed,
heading to an unexpected conclusion. You'll also get a good directory of the best restaurants in the Big Easy. Lots of eating and drinking in this novel! This is a dynamic, fun series you do not want to miss! 

Nothing is easy in The Big Easy 

PI Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison head to New Orleans at the behest of Nicole's uncle, movie producer Charles Balfour, when his megastar, A-list actor Kirk Ford, awakens in his hotel bed with the body of Kristi Guidry, a local college coed. Ford, in the Big Easy for a location shoot, remembers little of the evening and nothing of the murder. And, to make matters worse, Kristi is the niece of a local mafioso-type who will do whatever is necessary to avenge her death. Balfour is losing money every day the filming is stalled —he needs his actor cleared, and quickly. 

Surrounded by glitzy Hollywood stars and intimidated by seedy underworld characters, Jake and Nicole encounter nothing but obstacles. Something isn't right. The facts don't fit. Who would want Kristi dead? Why frame Kirk for the murder? Everyone has an opinion, including Kristi's friends and ex- boyfriend, the local homicide detectives, and a fortune-teller. The clock is ticking as Jake and Nicole struggle to decipher who's lying, who's telling the truth, and exactly who schemed to murder Kristi Guidry. Nothing is easy in The Big Easy. 

Bookreporter Review by L. Dean Murphy

D.P. Lyle hits a homerun with A-LIST, following the Jake Longly series début, Deep Six. A pitcher for the Texas Rangers sidelined by an injury, Longly now is an Alabama bar owner unwittingly sucked in by his private investigator dad to occasionally play the part of a bumbling Sam Spade. A week after Longly and Mensa-member babe-friend-with-benefits Nicole Jemison were almost deep-sixed off a yacht, they’re on the road to N’Awlins, the Crescent City.

Somewhat in the humorous vein of Rob Leininger’s Gumshoe series, Hollywood a-list actor Kirk Ford wakes in a New Orleans hotel room, the cold body of 19-year-old Kristi Guidry next to him. The name Guidry has many implications, loosely meaning “powerful”. Claude Guédry staked his powerful claim in the Bayou State during the 1670s. The name morphed to Guidry, as in “Dixie Mafia” boss Tony Guidry—Kristi’s uncle, who pulls strings attached to the NOLA prosecutor’s office. Tony “isn’t someone you mess with.” Murder investigation isn’t easy in The Big Easy.

Doppelgänger twins Tegan and Tara are actors on location filming the next Kirk Ford Space Quest movie. Although each answers questions for the other in sort of a telepathic doublespeak way, neither can solve for Longly and Jemison the riddle of how Kirk and Kristi were alone in a locked room that no one could enter without a hotel keycard. The investigation becomes as murky as bayou water.

Nefarious characters populate the French Quarter in New Orleans—and pages in this quirky action-packed thriller. No one’s life is safe. Despite a telegraphed conclusion, A-LIST earned a spot on my Bookreporter Top Picks for 2017 A-list.

California cardiologist D.P. Lyle has earned a Macavity Award and Edgar Award nomination. The prolific writer and member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers has worked with writers of police procedural TV shows—CSI: Miami, Law & Order, Women’s Murder Club, Cold Case, and many others. He is the author of 17 fiction and nonfiction books, and two anthologies.

Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms

A-List by D.P. Lyle (Oceanview Publishing, 2017, Oceanview Publishing, $14.95/$9.99) is a lively, detective procedural set in New Orleans, which always provides lots of local colorful characters to story lines. Kirk Ford, a movie star with a “pretty” face has woken up in his hotel room with the dead body of his current girl friend lying beside him. That’s the entry to the plot of the second outing of the Jake Longley Novel by D.P. Lyle, a veteran writer of crime fiction and real crime books. Jake Longley, something of a slacker son ex-baseball player son of P.I. Ray Longley, proprietor of Longley Investigations, is eyeing the beautiful, lithe, Nicole Jamison as she exercises and he fantasizes, when the phone rings, providing an entry into the fast-paced, intriguing world of this second book in a new series set in New Orleans, where the death occurred. In strong, hard-boiled detective writing, A-List starts off with plenty of snappy dialogue, strong place-setting description, and driving plot to capture the reader and propel the story forward with these two likable problem solvers whose looks and tastes for life and each other make them both attractive and the nutrient for the pleasant diversion to come.

While Jake seems to be a reluctant detective and Nicole a willing and talented apprentice, the chemistry between the two jumps off the page. They often appear, almost, as willing, attractive sex kittens eager to roll around in the hay or luxuriate in the shower before getting on with the business of solving the crime. However, considering the present climate, this might not be an auspicious theme for a contemporary who-done-it’s interpersonal plot line. Nevertheless the setting and situation are made for a good story. The murdered girl is the niece of Tony Guidry, identified as a local mobster well connected with the political and law enforcement authorities. The initial bail hearing with its gawking crowd in the background sets the hierarchy of power in notoriously corrupt New Orleans. It’s up to Jake and Nicole to find the keys to this very promising romp.

Lyle uses well-wrought, fast-paced dialogue to reveal character and plot. He is a real pro at this, combining punchy, brief description with dialogue to make the book a consistent page turner. This combination often differentiates the newcomer to genre fiction from more experienced writers. Early in this reading, the first with this writer for me, I couldn’t tell whether the dramatic tension resulting from these strong story telling traits would continue. His continued precise, vignette descriptions of characters and settings throughout the book display his ability to sustain the tone. Such sparse immediacy is often the work of very careful paring down to essentials found in good popular writers of contemporary fiction, where readers insist on getting on with it.

As the story proceeds, it develops that both Kirk and the dead Kristi had Ketamine in their systems, suggesting the possibility that a third party has somehow entered the locked room to strangle Kristi. The book is flawed, with a guilty suspect emerging too soon, as the trick in a who-done-it is to introduce the character, yet keep guilt hidden as long as possible, allowing the guilty person to emerge as a surprise. This separates it from a procedural, where we may know the guilty party but find intrigue in the process of discovering who it is. Let me know if you find the same issue.

A-List contains an interesting emerging father/son relationship between the seemingly shiftless Jake, a former major league pitcher whose career was shortened by injury, and his father Ray, the head of Longley Investigations and a smart, hard-working guy who always puts work first. It adds some depth to Jake who turns out to be less of a slacker than he tries to appear.

Lyle is at his best when revealing plot and character through dialogue. Setting becomes the backdrop for the revealing dialogues he creates between his people. He has a clear idea of what motivates each one as characters emerge in their discussions with others, each one letting the reader in on important details. He is an experienced writer who has written several other series as well as several books about how to write detective fiction. After many years practicing medicine as a cardiologist, he now writes non-fiction about forensic medicine with an eye toward supporting other crime writers. He also maintains The Crime Writer’s Forensics Blog.

A-List by D.P. Lyle (Oceanview Publishing, 2017, Oceanview Publishing, $14.95/$9.99) resonates with skill, insight, and the plain hard work of good writing. But, about ¾ of the way through the book, I think I solved the crime. This is a disappointment in a book with fairly intriguing characters, lots of excellent dialogue, and the always intriguing setting in New Orleans, to discover a plotting flaw that may give away the doer through a plotting error. Nevertheless I enjoyed this book while discovering a new, to me, writer who has the added attractiveness of having written several other series as well as books designed to help aspiring and practicing mystery writers cope with technical details about writing. I read A-List as a pre-publication electronic book provided by the publisher through Edelweiss on my Kindle app.

© Douglas Lyle 2015