SUNSHINE STATE

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SUNSHINE STATE
Jake Longly #3

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In SUNSHINE STATE, Jake Longly and girlfriend Nicole Jamison are confronted with the most bizarre case yet. Serial killer Billy Wayne Baker now denies that two of the seven murders he confessed to doing are actually his work. An anonymous benefactor, who believes Billy Wayne’s denials, hires Longly Investigations to prove Billy Wayne right. Yet, Billy Wayne confessed. Not only did he have the motive, means, and opportunity, but also DNA connects him to each murder.

Jake, Nicole, Ray, and Pancake travel to the small Gulf coast town of Pine Key, where three of the murders occurred. The local police, the FBI, and the state prosecutor and crime lab each did their jobs, uncovered overwhelming evidence of Billy Wayne’s guilt, and even extracted a full confession. Is Billy Wayne simply trying to tweak the system, garner another fifteen minutes of fame? Is it all a game to him? But, if he’s being truthful, is there a killer out there getting away with murder? Who? Why? Most importantly, how?

Nothing is as it seems in the Sunshine State.


PRAISE FOR SUNSHINE STATE

A serial killer hires PIs Jake & Nicole to prove he didn't commit two of his many murders. It's another ingenious story from D.P. Lyle, told with his trademark cleverness, intelligence, and wickedly sexy sense of fun--Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author of TRUE FICTION

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“. . . medical specialist Lyle provides suitably gossipy small-town atmosphere, straightforward plotting, a likable, wisecracking hero, and, of course, solid forensics . . .”—Kirkus Reviews

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Sunshine State sizzles with just the right mix of action and mystery, a rollicking roller-coaster ride on a track lined with thrills and spills. The return of Jake Longley and Nicole Jamison crackles with pitch-perfect dialogue and Doug Lyle's traditional textbook plotting. While a bit darker than the previous entries in the series, Lyle sprinkles in enough light to make this a devilishly entertaining thriller that is not to be missed.— Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series and Murder, She Wrote series

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D.P. Lyle is a master.
Sunshine State has more laughs and sideways moments in each chapter than you’re likely to find in an entire novel by anyone else. The smartest, funniest thriller I’ve read in years.

Jake Longly, a modern Lew Archer, with enough experience to know better but with a big enough heart to still get himself into trouble, is a character who would be right at home in the pages of novels by Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard or Tim Dorsey. But, he’s also a true original—smart, funny and self-aware—someone you’d love to grab a beer with, assuming he doesn’t get killed first.

This series is the most fun in print today.—Tim Maleeny, bestselling author of Stealing The Dragon and JUMP

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The release of a new DP Lyle book is a highlight of any
year, and SUNSHINE STATE is his best yet! This is one of those rare novels where everything in your life stops untilyou read through to the end. Jake Longly rocks!--John Gilstrap, author of the Jonathan Grave Thriller Series. 


REVIEWS:


SUNSHINE STATE Publishers Weekly Review: 

In Lyle’s ingenious third mystery featuring retired major league pitcher Jake Longly (after 2017’s A-List), Jake, who runs a restaurant in Gulf Shores, Ala., is again roped into working for his father Ray’s PI firm. An attorney has contacted Ray on behalf of Billy Wayne Baker, a convicted serial killer. Though Baker pleaded guilty to strangling seven women, he insists that he killed only five of them, and wants that assertion validated. When Jake meets Baker in prison, the murderer refuses to name the other killer, claiming that doing so would lead to accusations that Jake’s inquiries were biased. The investigator’s task is made even harder by Baker’s not even identifying which of the dead women were killed by someone else . (To his credit, Lyle makes this complicated scenario credible.) Along with his girlfriend, Jake travels to Pine Key, Fla., the scene of three of the strangulations, where the couple pretend to be researching a documentary examining the impact of the killings on the small community. The clever plot twists will surprise even genre veterans. This entry is the best in the series so far. 

SUNSHINE STATE BookTrib Review

Doug Lyle’s criminally entertaining Sunshine State (Oceanview) welcomes back his investigative team of Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison with a heavier touch and darker tone he handles with wit and aplomb.

As Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen have aptly shown, Florida seems to be where all the country’s weirdness calls home. Good thing Longly and Jamison call it home too and they’re going to need all their sleuthing skills when they find themselves in a small coastal town riddled by murders. The fact that Billy Wayne has already confessed to the crimes puts a crimp in their efforts, until his story starts to unravel and the stalwart team realizes a killer might still be out there, about to claim his, or her, next victim.

Sunshine State sizzles with just the right mix of action and mystery, a rollicking roller-coaster ride on a track lined with thrills and spills.

By Jon Land

SUNSHINE STATE Book Review Crew Review

In this newest installment of the Jake Longly series, Jake is faced with his most bizarre case yet. Longly Investigations is hired by an anonymous benefactor to prove that notorious serial killer Billy Wayne Baker only committed 5 of the 7 murders he confessed to. The investigation brings them to a small coastal town of Pine Key, Florida, where 3 of the 7 murders occured. What they uncover here is more than they expected.

Lyle is a savant of description, never leaving out any detail, fully immersing you in the storyline and the lives of his characters. The suspense built slowly and carefully, only giving a small hint of the truth at a time. I kept guessing until the very end, and I was still wrong! I love that while this is a series, the author gave enough back story that it can be read as a stand alone novel. I highly recommend this book. Heck, I highly recommend this author in general.

SUNSHINE STATE Library Journal Review

In Lyle’s third “Jake Longly” story (Deep Six; A-List), Jake, former major league fastballer and now sometime PI for his father’s detective firm, and girlfriend Nicole pursue a bizarre case. Convicted mass murderer Billy Wayne Baker wants his crimes reexamined, claiming he didn’t kill seven women, only five, even though he confessed to all the killings. He cheerfully admits he’s a murderer but doesn’t want his record besmirched. Nicole and Jake head to the small Gulf Coast town of Pine Key, FL. Three killings occurred there, not one, Billy Wayne’s modus operandi was to kill once, then move on. So who might have murdered the other two, and how can they get people to talk? Working for Billy Wayne won’t do it. Enter Nicole’s Uncle Charles, TV producer. The PIs arrive in town posing as an advance team for a proposed television documentary on the lives of the victims, not the murderer. Here Jake proves his worth: people like talking to him, and he and Nicole need them to talk. That and the 80-mile-an-hour remnant of Jake’s formerly 100- mile-an-hour fastball are Jake’s strengths: both of which he uses to his advantage in this loosey-goosey detective story.

VERDICT
This attractive PI thriller should appeal to lovers of detective fiction.

SUNSHINE STATE Indie Forward Review

Reluctant but effective PI Jake Longly journeys to a sleepy Florida town to prove that a murderer didn’t commit all of the crimes credited to him. Billy Wayne Baker—a self- confessed and convicted serial killer—professes that he only killed five people. Longly and his allies discover that Baker’s MO demanded one kill per town before he moved on to the next—but in Pine Key, three women were murdered. Longly and his girlfriend adopt documentarian personas to ascertain if Baker is playing games or if someone used his killing spree as a cover. 

The unlikely premise becomes an interesting hook for Longly Investigations, whose team focuses on determining which of Pine Key’s seemingly benign citizens had the means and motive to take advantage of Baker’s killing spree. Longly and crew’s cover allows them to interview and investigate without raising flags until they uncover key evidence. Another murder occurs, leading to a satisfying climax. 

This mystery is the third in its series, providing strong context and characterization to entice new readers. The relationships between the major characters build well, with subtle callbacks to previous adventures. Longly anchors the story alongside his girlfriend and PI father. 

The social dynamics of Pine Key steal the spotlight. Following Longly’s investigation provides ample opportunity for humanizing and casting doubt on several of the townspeople, and multiple suspects rise to the top, even though the team struggles to find proof. Snappy dialogue, fantastic scene setting, and polished prose set the action without hampering the pace. 

Sunshine State is an enjoyable murder mystery filled with heart and humor. JOHN M. MURRAY (May/June 2019)

SUNSHINE STATE Booklist Review

As serial killers go, Billy Wayne Baker could out-nice even Ted Bundy. Those who meet him and live use words like pleasant and engaging and note that "he even has small hands." Hard to believe he murdered seven women. Billy Wayne claims he didn't— there were no more than five. He had to confess to seven, he says, to avoid the death penalty. Now he wants those two taken off his list, so he asks author Lyle's series hero, ex- baseballer and unconfident PI Jake Longly, to uncover the truth. 

Jake and his cohorts—lover Nicole plus a pal named Pancake plus Dad, who's a real PI—travel to a picturesque village on the Gulf Coast, only to find that the evidence of Baker's guilt is overwhelming. The investigation, the evidence, the autopsies—all were flawless. Of course, it unravels, thanks in part to a chance conversation accidentally overheard. Meantime, readers are asked to tag along on a genially sybaritic investigation oiled by Blanton bourbon, R & J cigars, and Louisiana po’boys. It's all told in appropriately low-key prose. Until the finale, that is.--Don Crinkla

SUNSHINE STATE Linda’s Book Reviews

PI Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison are faced with a unique, unheard of investigation. Well known serial killer, Billy Wayne Baker, confessed to seven murders in order not to go to trial. Residing in prison now, his lawyer contacts Longly and team. Baker now says that 2 of those murders were not done by him.. but he won't tell them which victims. He says he knows who did them but he won't tell them that. either. 

So where to start? Baker's victims were really spread out. According to him, he would sneak in, commit the murder and promptly leave town before he was caught. But there was one place that was hit multiple times, leaving three dead women.....that's where they think they will be. 

Will they be able to find the real killer of two of these victims .. or is Baker playing a game? 

An ex-big league ballplayer, now a beach bar owner, and working for his dad as a reluctant private investigator, Jake Longly brings his smarts, his good looks, and his sense of humor to the table. Nicole is a smart woman, loves her work helping out the PIs, and she has a playfulness that can't be denied. Pancake is a lifelong friend of Jake's .. a mountain of a man who eats 24 hours a day. He also works for Ray Longly, who owns the PI family business. 

All the characters are finely drawn... quirky in a multitude of ways .... and the small town where all the action takes place is charming. This is not an action packed thriller with guns blasting and road races with police cars. There is mystery, there is some suspense ... but it's more like a fine wine that slowly warms your insides. 

Although third in the 3-book trilogy, this can easily be read as a stand alone. I've read a different series by this author, but I'm looking forward to reading the first two books in this one.

Many thanks to the author / Oceanview Publishing / Edelweiss for the digital copy of this humorous crime fiction. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own. 

SUNSHINE STATE Midwest Book Review

Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison are confronted with the most bizarre case yet. Serial killer Billy Wayne Baker now denies that two of his seven murders were actually his work. An anonymous benefactor, who believes Billy Wayne's denials, has hired Longly Investigations to prove Billy Wayne right. Billy Wayne had confessed to all seven. Not only did the confessed serial killer have the motive, means, and opportunity for murder, but his DNA was found at each crime scene. Bizarre doesn't quite cover it. Jake and Nicole travel to the small Gulf Coast town of Pine Key, Florida, where three of the murders occurred. The local police, FBI, state prosecutor, and crime lab each did their jobs, uncovered overwhelming evidence of Billy Wayne's guilt―and even extracted a full confession. Is Billy Wayne simply trying to tweak the system to garner another fifteen minutes of fame? It's likely all a game to him, but, if he's being truthful― someone out there is getting away with multiple murders. How? Why? And most importantly, who? Dark clouds loom in the Sunshine State. D. P. Lyle's "Sunshine State" is another deftly penned suspense thriller of a read by a master of narrative storytelling. While unreservedly recommended as an addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sunshine State" is also available in a digital book format.—Midwest Book Review 

© Douglas Lyle 2015