In the small, sleepy town of Idyll, Connecticut, Police Chief Thomas Lynch assists police officer Michael Finnegan to uncover clues to his sister's disappearance two decades ago. 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.
Set in 1999, Gayle's first-rate third Thomas Lynch novel (after 2017's Idyll Fears) finds the former New York City homicide detective still settling in as police chief of the small town of Idyll, Conn. Lynch has a high-strung station house to win over, and his being gay doesn't make his crew more welcoming. Besides being excluded from the annual Cops and Firefighters softball game, the chief has to worry whether Matt Cisco, his hot FBI lover, is faithful. Meanwhile, two major crimes occupy the police. Michael Finnegan, one of Lynch's best detectives, is guilt-burdened because he didn't promptly report his 16-year-old sister Susan's disappearance back in 1972; she's still missing, so Lynch reopens the case as a favor to the grieving man. In addition, the discovery of a young woman's skeleton in the woods signals that a murderer has eluded justice for decades. The characters' emotional conflicts are convincing, as are their dogged persistence and ingenuity. This series keeps getting better with each book.)