Second Chances: Book Review

Second Chances
A D.I. Frank Lyle Mystery (Book One)
Author: Juliet B Madison
Available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

DI Frank Lyle is about to investigate the most emotionally harrowing case of his career to date. He just doesn’t realise it yet...

1982 - . A teenage girl’s body is discovered on a deserted canal towpath. Lyle struggles to balance work and the demands of his embittered ex-wife, Sarah, but he is getting no closer to finding the killer. Then the wrong man is arrested and dies in custody.

1987 - Lyle is still haunted by his failure to solve the case. Then the victim’s father asks him to reinvestigate. A second murder occurs. Working reluctantly with newly promoted DI Simon Ward, Lyle and his team cover old and new ground. But when the killer is finally unmasked can Lyle deal with the shocking truth of his identity?

My Review: Every cop has a case that haunts him. For Frank Lyle, the rape and murder of Rachael Lewis is such a case. It isn't just the brutality and senselessness of the crime. Frank not only doubts that they caught the right killer, but a tragedy that occurs as a direct result of the arrest sends the hardened detective on a downward spiral. Personally and professionally, Frank can't move on until he finds the truth. But will the truth be more than he can handle.

Second Chances is a crime/police procedural novel that takes place in the 1980s. When D.I. Lyle is first introduced, DNA analysis has not yet been introduced as a forensic tool, thus making it more difficult to solve the case. Though I'm not familiar with police procedures in England (and my only knowledge of U.S. procedure comes from television), I found this novel very thorough. Actually, it was quite fascinating. From initial visit to the crime scene to autopsies to inquests, the author was very precise in her descriptions of each step in the investigative process.

Frank Lyle was a well-drawn likable character I could easily sympathize with. Like many fathers, he struggles to juggle his obligations to his son and his obligations to solve a vicious crime. And like many divorced couples, Frank and his ex-wife bicker as she tries to make him feel guilty for not spending enough time with their son. Frank's relationship and interactions with his son are tender and it is clear Frank is an excellent father, even though by his own admission he doesn't spend as much time with him as he'd like. This element to the story adds depth and insight into Frank's character, as does an emerging romance as the book progresses.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed this book and am anxious to move on to the next in the series. I'm impressed by Juliet B Madison's debut novel and hope she keeps writing Frank Lyle mysteries.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  1. Hi Tricia. It's a nice change to see a review by someone who has actually read, as well as enjoyed, the book in question. Most reviewers probably have trouble with all the words over 4 letters long. I really look forward to reading what yoyu have to say about Unholy Alliance.


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