IDYLL THREATS by Stephanie Gayle

Police Chief Thomas Lynch is charged with protecting the small town of Idyll, CT from danger — but he’s also protecting a secret of his own. Author Stephanie Gayle has created a complex and believable hero in this first book in a series set in the 90’s, when an out gay police officer was even more uncommon than murder in small-town New England.


In the summer of 1997, Thomas Lynch arrives as the new chief of police in Idyll, Connecticut—a town where serious crimes can be counted on one hand. So no one is prepared when Cecilia North is found murdered on a golf course. By chance, Chief Lynch met her mere hours before she was killed. With that lead, the case should be a slam dunk. But there’s a problem. If Lynch tells his detectives about meeting the victim, he’ll reveal his greatest secret—he’s gay.

So Lynch works angles of the case on his own. Meanwhile, he must contend with pressure from the mayor to solve the crime before the town’s biggest tourist event begins, all while coping with the suspicions of his men, casual homophobia, and difficult memories of his former NYPD partner’s recent death.

As the case unfolds, Lynch realizes that small-town Idyll isn’t safe, especially for a man with secrets that threaten the thing he loves most—his job.


“In Idyll Threats, Stephanie Gayle has crafted a fascinating mystery and—even more engaging for this reader—a believable, complicated hero. Thomas Lynch is a flawed, sympathetic man struggling with the benefits and risks of coming to terms with himself. I was rooting for him the whole way.”

STEPHEN McCAULEY, author of The Object of My Affection and Insignificant Others

“Stephanie Gayle strings a tightwire of psycho-sexual tension, then gives it a radical twist in this smart, riveting tale of small-town murder and homophobia.”

CRAIG FAUSTUS BUCK, author of Go Down Hard

“Lynch is a deeply compelling character. . . . Readers will want to see how the next two decades treat this intriguingly complex cop, should this fine crime debut launch a series.”




Stephanie Gayle is the author of Idyll Threats (Seventh Street Books) and My Summer of Southern Discomfort (William Morrow.) She’s been twice nominated for a Pushcart prize for her short fiction, which has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Potomac Review, and Minnetonka Review. She created the popular reading series, Craft on Draft, in Boston. When not dreaming up fictional crimes, she is often found playing games. Her Settlers of Catan skills are exquisite.