Tuesday 25 January 2022

D. P. LYLE - A-LIST (2017)

Synopsis/blurb ...

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.

A-List is the second in the Jake Longly series after opener, Deep Six. I enjoyed it, but maybe a tad less than the first. 

The main characters are the same as the previous book. Jake is our narrator, but its more of a PI collective with girlfriend, Nicole; BFF Pancake aka Tommy and his dad, Ray who runs Longly investigations making up the team. 

Nicole's uncle is a hot-shot Hollywood type and he needs some help. His star man, Kirk Ford is on location filming in New Orleans and there's a dead girl in his bed. The girl is the niece of a New Orleans gangster type and he's not happy. Kirk's in the frame for murder and he's going to pay one way or another. 

The Longly team de-camp to New Orleans and do some investigating. Not everything is as it seems. 
I like the dynamics of the book and the interactions of the main characters, in particular Jake and Nicole. There's a subtle wit to their exchanges and it makes for one of those easy reader-character relationships that would be diminshed if one of the pair was missing. 

New Orleans as a setting, I can take or leave to be honest. I've read a few books set there (James Lee Burke - maybe peripherally from memory), and in truth it doesn't excite me as much as say Chicago or Detroit, plucking a couple of US cities from the air.

The story unfolds with the Longly's investigating and I think at the three-quarter mark I guessed who did it, if not necessarily the exact why they did it. I don't think my realisation spoiled the last quarter, in some ways it's kind of nice to be ahead of the curve.

Humour, characters, story and pacing were good. There's some action and conflict. Pancake dishes out some bruises to get information and there's a good guys - bad guys vibe with some dumb guys hanging in the middle. Lyle has an easy style of writing which keeps you engaged. Setting was so-so. Overall more to like than dislike. 

4 from 5  

Read - January, 2022
Published - 2017
Page count - 331
Source - review copy from Net Galley. Apparently I bought a copy as well.
Format - Kindle


  1. That's exactly what I was thinking as I read your post, Col - that there's more to like than dislike about this one. I do like a novel with solid interpersonal dynamics. And the case sounds interesting, too. I wonder if this is best enjoyed after reading the first novel?

    1. I've actually now read all 5 in this series, Margot and to be honest it probably doesn't make a difference if you started here, there or anywhere. They all work independently of each other. The second beook does reference the odd happening in the first, and likewise the third with the previous ones, but never enough to bump you out of the story or irritate. Me as a rule, I like to read them in the order they are published.