Growing up Michael “Gypsy” Moran could not wait to leave the isolated town of Wink in far west Texas. He would not be back now if not for a problem in Vegas that required him to make a very hasty departure. A problem that very well might have gotten him killed if he had stuck around. A problem that came about because of his work as a private investigator.
The last thing he needs now after driving 18 hours straight in his van with his few possessions is a case. But Rhonda, Gypsy’s sister, is a force not to be denied. Rhonda, with the help of twelve year old Tatum, wants Gypsy to dig into the alleged suicide of Ryce McCallen. The deputy, who worked for the Winkler County Sheriff’s Office before his death, was quietly investigating the disappearance of eight local girls. All were illegals which meant that other than the families involved—and sometimes not even them— nobody besides Ryce McCallen cared enough to do something. The former deputy didn’t involve his old department as he didn’t trust them. He maintained an investigative file at home and said file is now in the possession of his twelve year old son, Tatum.
It has been twenty years since Gypsy left Wink, Texas and swore never to return. It has been a little over two hours since he got back and Rhonda and his grandmother, “Gram” act like he never left and is still 18. Nothing has really changed back home except he is a bit older and more aware sometimes when things don’t feel right. The fact that the Sheriff’s department made sure that the autopsy requested by the family was not done and handled all the funeral arrangements under the guise of helping the grief stricken family does not sit right with Gypsy. That fact and a few other things make Gypsy’s taking of the case inevitable.
Through in an old romance, long buried secrets, and the desolate landscape of west Texas in summer and the result is a complex mystery with multiple storylines and agendas. Authors such as Bill Crider and Terry Shames, among others, have done very well by writing about life in small Texas towns and the depravity that lurks behind closed doors before occasionally erupting into the open for all to see. Small town secrets and engaging characters drive their novels and the same is true here. You can easily add author Lynn Chandler Willis to the mix with a debut novel of what hopefully will grow into a steady series.
Winner of the 2013 PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition, Wink Of An Eye: A Mystery, brings to life an intriguing cast of core characters, a complex mystery, and the desolate beauty of west Texas that can fry your brain in a heartbeat if the rattlesnakes don’t kill you first. It does not matter how big your TBR pile is — move this one on up there.
Wink Of An Eye: A Mystery
Lynn Chandler Willis
A Thomas Dunne Book (Minotaur Books)
Hardback (e-book available)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015