Rigged is part of the Jake Longly series, and my first introduction to both the series and to DP Lyle.
The book opens with Jake in a courtroom, and Pancake (Tommy) in a bakery. The former wins his case, and the latter misses Emily, a woman he’s known since 6th grade and who he crushes on just as he did when they were young.
Emily is in the midst of a divorce, and her lawyer, Walter Horton, is the very same man who defended Jake at the opening of the book. Longly Investigations is hired to look into Emily’s husband’s finances.
Emily fails to show for a meeting and also does not show up for her job, which is unusual. Pancake heads out to look for Emily, only to find her and her boyfriend Jason dead, shot execution style.
We then get moving with the book, as Longly is pulled in to investigate (alongside the police investigation) who killed Emily. Her soon to be ex Sean has an iron tight alibi: he was on an offshore rig, working. Did he find a way to be in two places at one time? Or were the couple murdered by an unknown third party? The team consists of Pancake, Ray (owner of the Longly Investigations business) Jake (Ray’s son, Pancake’s friend), and Nicole, a stunning to all, perfect woman who doesn’t wear makeup because she doesn’t “need to” (and Mr Lyle, please run these things by a woman first).
The plot is decent, and the book is perfectly readable as a standalone, so the question of whether you have to have read the previous books is a no. The books switches back and forth between first an third person, and I found that to be irritating. Also equally irritating is Pancake’s supposed “love” for this woman since they were in sixth grade – this is mentioned over and over again, and I do not understand why writers do this. You told us once. Twice is fine. But past that? Enough. I was also left wondering way Pancake, so in love with this woman, made no attempt to contact her at all in the decades after sixth grade. There are some sex scenes between characters, and when they’re not having sex, but investigating Emily’s murder, we get sex-related dialogue. We get it. We do.
On the plus side, there is a lot of dialogue, much of it pretty snappy, and the book moves along at a quick but steady pace. It seems to me that the dialogue propels the book forward more than the main plot/investigation. The characters are well-drawn, and I imagine if I read the previous books they would be even more well developed for me. There’s enough humor in the book to keep it from being completely macabre. It was entertaining and light enough to be read at the beach or on a plane.
Three point five stars out of five for the teenage-like sex talk banter, four stars for everything else. I went back and forth, deciding between three stars and four.
Ultimately: four stars out of five.
Thanks to Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy.