Reviews: THE OC, Jake Longly #5
A terrific read. Retired major league baseball player turned restaurateur turned reluctant and wisecracking P.I. Jake Longly returns in fine form in The OC, a poignant and wickedly funny tale set in Southern California. When Jake and his movie-producer girlfriend, Nicole Jamison, head to Orange County for a little R and R, they get more than they bargain for. Nicole's friend, TV-reporter Megan Weatherly, has picked up a stalker. Jake and Nicole pick up the case with help from Jake's PI-father and longtime pal, Tommy "Pancake" Jeffers. Jake and Nicole banter like Tracy and Hepburn as they develop a plan and pursue the bad guy. D.P. Lyle's prose is stylish, smart, and compelling. Another grand slam in an immensely entertaining series. Highly recommended. -- Sheldon Siegel. New York Times best-selling author of the Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novels.
"Breezy, lively, fast-moving fun, and a hint of terror, in the sun. If you're ready for an escape, this is your ticket. You don't even have to pack a bag."---Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Snappy dialogue, fun characters, smart writing, a juicy mystery-- all had me flipping pages until I reached The End. Jake and Nicole remind me of my favorite mystery duo, Nick and Nora Charles, with a modern twist. The Jake Longly series never fails to entertain.~ Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author
In this fifth book revolving around former baseball player Jake Longly, author D.P. Lyle has given readers yet another exciting, thrilling story in this already entertaining series. As a sincere fan of Lyle, all the books in this series have been among my favorite reads of all time. Lyle has that gift of being able to introduce a character that people end up liking so much, they have to read more. When it comes to this series, the stories are always fresh!
This time around, we meet up with the former baseball star and restaurant owner Jake and see that he’s excited about having a few weeks of fun with his beloved girl, Nicole Jamison, in the warm California weather. Yup, that’s right, Orange County: The infamous OC. Unfortunately, that “vision” of paradise they’re hoping for turns out to be a completely different situation.
When they first arrive, they find that a friend of Nicole’s, named Megan, who happens to be a TV reporter, has gained an unwanted stalker. Although Megan tries to shrug off the danger the stalker intensifies his unwanted attention to the point where Jake makes a call to Alabama and brings in the rest of his unlikely detective squad. Pancake and Ray appear on the scene and the trio works together to protect Megan. Unfortunately, her stalker leaves no clue about his identity behind.
But as the men find themselves immersed in the realm of celebrity stalking; they’re pushed to their limits as they go up against a possibly unbeatable foe that leads to an incredible climax.
Now, although all the books in the Jake Longly Thriller series stand alone and can be read in any order, there is no reason to miss even one. The dialogue, as always, is witty, fun and the characters wrap you up in a mystery that remains suspenseful through the very last word. I can’t wait for the next D.P. Lyle ride! ---Reviewed by Amy Lignor, author of “The Double-Edged Sword” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine
Edgar finalist Lyle’s sparkling fifth Jake Longly thriller (after 2020’s Rigged) takes the cheerful Alabama investigator, who describes himself as an “ex-pro baseball player, restaurant/ bar owner, and lover of women,” and the woman he loves, Nicole Jamison, to Orange County, Calif., to watch preparations for filming a screenplay by Nicole based on an actual Hollywood murder case. At a restaurant, they meet Nicole’s TV newscaster friend, Megan Weatherly, who tells them she’s been receiving disturbing emails from an anonymous fan. When the messages become more threatening and are accompanied by gifts such as a dozen dead roses, Jake and Nicole summon serious help—first, their gargantuan, tech-savvy buddy Pancake Jeffers, then Jake’s grimly serious PI father, Ray. The tension rises as it becomes clear the stalker is someone close to Megan who’s eagerly looking forward to terrorizing, torturing, and killing her. There’s little doubt, though, that Jake, Nicole, and company will catch the culprit before too much harm is done. Snappy patter lifts this bright look at a dark subject. Lyle should win new fans with this one. Agent: Kimberly Cameron, Kimberly Cameron & Assoc. (Oct.)
Book Review Crew:
Jake Longly, retired ball player and current restaurant owner, heads to Orange County, CA, with his girlfriend, Nicole, for a little vacation before filming begins in LA for Nicole’s new screenplay, which may be a mega hit. They meet up with Nicole’s friend, TV reporter Megan Weatherly, and find out she has a stalker. Megan seems unconcerned, but her intern Abby, as well as Jake and Nicole, think she could be in danger. As the stalker’s behavior escalates, it appears they’re right. The stranger becomes more and more threatening, and Jake calls in for help to track this person down, before it’s too late for Megan. This is a very entertaining read, with a slapdash of humor mixed in, good dialogue and character development, and a great climatic ending. Very well written.
Never Bring A Rock To A Gun Fight… Unless You’re A Former MLB Starting Pitcher Turned Private Eye. Full confession here: These books have seemed interesting enough over the years, and they’ve been at the right price points often enough ($2.99 or less, and likely free) that I’d actually picked up the entire series before this book… and never read any of them. So even while I already had the previous four books in this series in my library, this was the first book in it – or from this author at all – that I had actually read. And it totally works as a standalone, as long as you don’t mind commentary that references the previous stories in ways that absolutely spoils many of them.
So far as this book itself is concerned, it was a fun tale full of quite a bit of banter between Jake Longley and his friends and colleagues, with a bit of “oh, crap, our friend is in trouble in a way that we might be able to help with” thrown in. So even while many of the characters are PIs, this isn’t a case they are getting paid for. And it is a stalker case, with only the last few chapters having any real, direct action. Which is actually where the title of this review comes in. Early in the book – possibly when Jake is first introduced, that early – it is mentioned that Jake often travels with baseballs both in case he runs across fans *and* to use as a weapon if the need arises. Well, in our finale… he doesn’t have his baseballs with him. So he gets creative, in ways that even by that point in this book – even if it is your first book in this series – you’ve come to expect. Very much recommended.
The title initials represent Orange County, California’s third most-populous canton, nestled between Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Combined, those three densely tenanted areas have about 17 million residents, more than a third of the state’s population. The OC’s landmarks include Disneyland and Huntington Beach, the shire of surf and sun. And, like neighboring LA, movie stars.
Following 2020’s RIGGED, self-deprecating Jake Longly is “an old, washed-up athlete,” a former pro-baseball star. He and screenplay writer gal-pal Nicole Jamison jet from costal Alabama to the Left Coast. “Her new film [Murderwood] was teed up to begin shooting in three weeks.”
Nicole’s small-scale TV newshound friend, Megan Weatherly, has received increasingly disturbing emails. One that came “in a half hour ago, was definitely more aggressive.” Megan’s assistant, Abby, says, “That is major-league creepy.” Megan has a stalker.
At the TV station, Jake and Nicole read the anonymous messages and enlist Jake’s PI papa Ray and behemoth buddy Pancake Jeffers from Alabama, for investigation and tech analysis. Pancake knew “his way into the dark corners of the cyber world.” As a private eye, though, he stands out like “a rhino running with a herd of gazelles.” Thus the need for non-descript Ray. Jake’s dad blends in like a shadow --- the perfect PI.
A few red-herring characters are tossed into the mix, but Lyle fans may note the telegraphed whodunit. Perhaps because of the dark nature of celebrity stalking and innuendo of Nicole’s movie, Murderwood, this book lacks the humor found early in the series, excluding refrigerator-sized Pancake’s non-stop gorging and Jake’s alcohol consumption OCD. Still, the witty banter entices readers. THE OC dives into the thriller deep end, amid sharks of terror, torture and murder.
In award-winning author D.P. Lyle’s newest detective thriller, The OC (Oceanview), former pro baseball player Jake Longly — reluctant private investigator, lover of women and irreverent smart-ass extraordinaire — once again finds himself in the middle of a tough investigation.
Readers first met Jake and his girlfriend, Nicole Jamison, in Lyle’s novel Deep Six. Against his better judgment, Jake agreed to help his private-eye-dad Ray (head of Longly Investigations) with surveillance only to have the target murdered right under Jake’s nose. Not a great start. He probably should have just kept to his responsibilities owning a beachfront restaurant and bar — Captain Rocky’s — in his town of Gulf Shores, AL.
VACATION GONE WRONG
Now, Jake and Nicole travel to the West Coast for the filming of Nicole’s new screenplay, Murderwood. Nicole has a home on Newport Beach in Orange County, CA — lovingly referred to as The OC. What should have been a fun and relaxing vacation turns anything but. Nicole’s best friend and local Channel 16 news anchor, Megan Weatherly, has a fan whose devotion is out of control, spiraling from innocuous infatuation to dangerous threat.
For months, her admirer has sent Megan emails, texts and gifts expressing his affection; she believes he’s just overzealous. But when his communications become threatening and he invades her private space, Jake and Nicole convince Megan the situation is serious — she’s got an unstable stalker. When Nicole was an actor, she’d had many experiences with stalker fans and knows you have to put a stop to them. They need to find him, but Megan doesn’t know who he is or what he looks like.
THE PI POSSE ARRIVES
Jake and Nicole enlist the help of Ray, and Jake’s best friend Tommy “Pancake” Jeffers. Pancake is Longly Investigations’ computer wizard — a huge, red-haired eating machine who’s excellent at research and securing confidential information no one else can get. Ray and Pancake also bring the firepower. (Instead of carrying a gun, Jake travels with an assortment of baseballs he can use as weapons by throwing them at the bad guys ... or sign for the occasional fan).
Everyone agrees that Megan’s situation is “some crazy shit,” number two on their PI hit parade. Their most disturbing case was when serial killer Billy Wayne Baker, living in Union
Correctional in Raiford, FL, hired them to prove “he’d only killed five of the seven women he confessed to killing.” Ray and Pancake join the group in Orange County to do the super-
sleuthing while Jake and Nicole keep Megan close. As the case progresses, the team considers whether the stalker is a stranger or someone Megan knows but would never suspect. What they find is something they never expected.
LIFE’S A BEACH
The story takes readers into the realm of celebrity actors and producers, especially Nicole’s famed producer uncle, Charles Balfour, who is producing her movie. We experience the lavish Beverly Hills party thrown in Nicole’s honor, the sandy shores of Newport Beach with painted orange sunsets and sailboats bobbing in the Pacific, and the chili cheese omelets from the iconic restaurant Charlie’s Chili.
Although most of the book is narrated in the first person by Jake, Lyle elevates the tension with an unknown narrator taking us into the mind of the stalker.
Readers will revel in the witty banter between Jake and Nicole. As Megan observes, they love to “word joust,” like “Tracy and Hepburn reborn.” Jake admits, “We did like to jab each other. Well, Nicole did most of the jabbing. She said I was a target- rich subject, whatever that meant. I was afraid to ask.” Reminiscent of Nelson DeMille’s former NYC homicide detective character John Corey, Jake Longly’s sardonic quips will make you laugh out loud. Who doesn’t love a handsome, snarky knight-in- shining-armor who can throw a mean fastball?
Looks At Books:
Power, personal relationships, and the price of celebrity
“The OC” by D.P. Lyle is a story of power, personal relationships, and the price of stardom. It is part of the “Jake Longly” series, but everything a new reader needs to know about this unique group of characters is included in the first few paragraphs. The story unfolds in Jake’s first-person narrative with some alternating chapters from other perspectives. The plot is conversation-driven and full of casual exchanges and friendly banter, but it is also heavy on the attitude. Jake talks to readers as if he were talking to friends over dinner and drinks – lots of drinks! The fun and familiar people from the previous books return, and Jake and first-time filmmaker Nicole leave the Gulf Shores of Alabama to work in Sunny California.
Nicole’s rich and famous relatives and friends in the film industry provide the background as Nicole begins work on her first feature film, the action thriller “Murderwood.” The trip is also supposed to be a vacation of sorts — work mixed with relaxation on sunny beaches, but the group soon finds that Orange County, California is filled not only with fun, sun, and sand, but also with treachery, intrigue, and danger. Celebrity certainly has its perks and privileges, but it can hold peril as well.
“The OC” moves at a deliberate pace with an undercurrent of peril balanced with lighthearted celebrations. The story is about the characters; they do not just drop into the story; they are the story. I was given a review copy of “The OC” BY D. P. Lyle and Oceanview Publishing. While the conflict and its resolution are important to readers, “The OC” is really just an excuse to spend time with this group of colorful and entertaining characters.
The Providence Journal
A sunny mystery in Southern California
Here’s a little secret: Some of the best and most fun books out there are written by authors who are anything but household names. Count D.P. Lyle among those, and the reasons why he deserves far more readers are clearly on display in THE OC. This light mystery with a sharp edge stars series hero and former pro baseball player Jake Longly. Trouble always seems to find Jake, even when it’s the last thing he’s looking for. That’s exactly what happens when a vacation to Southern California’s Orange County pits him and longtime girlfriend
Nicole Jamison against a stalker who’s targeted Nicole’s celebrity pal. A solid supporting cast is there to aid their efforts in a book that gets better and better as the pages fly
THE OC by D. P. Lyle. Restaurant owner and former professional baseball player Jake Longly is hoping for a few weeks of fun with Nicole Jamison in the warm Orange County, CA sun—The OC, baby. After that, they’ll be on their way to LA for the filming of Nicole’s sure-to- be-a-hit screenplay.
On arrival, they discover that Nicole’s friend Megan Weatherly, a local TV reporter, has picked up an anonymous stalker. Megan downplays any real danger, but her new intern Abby, as well as Jake and Nicole, don’t agree. Bit by bit, as the harassment escalates and the shadowy man invades Megan’s world, Jake calls in the big guns from back home in Alabama: Ray and Pancake. But will Ray’s military black ops experience and Pancake’s technical skills be enough to expose the predator in time?
The stalker is no fool and likely has a predatory history. He makes no mistakes and manages to cover his trail completely. So, how do you identify and locate the untraceable? How do you protect Megan from a potentially lethal phantom?
Suddenly the sunshine and safety of The OC seem more facade than reality. Jake and crew must punch through that facade and dig into the dark world of celebrity stalking. The clock is ticking.