Book Reviews

Book Review: Cultured

By D.P. Lyle

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

305 Pages

This is Book 6 in the Jake Longly Detective Series and the author promised it can stand alone.  I suppose it can, considering that all of the backstory you need is dumped into the first three pages.  This was followed by on-the-nose physical descriptions of most of the characters (i.e., a character’s height and weight followed by an exact description of what they were wearing) and I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting here.

Still, the story sounded good.  Ex-pro baseball player Jake and his girlfriend, Nicole, get called in to investigate John Lindemann and his company, TLM (The Lindemann Method).  The company bills itself as a method of self-help and financial advice.  To Jake, it smells like a cult.  The client is concerned because her daughter worked at the nearby lodge that housed TLM and went incommunicado a few weeks prior.  After posing as potential clients, Jake and Nicole discover that not only does the financial aspect appear to be a Ponzi scheme, but the attractive young women who work there are encouraged to “entertain” the wealthy clients.  As they dig deeper, more girls turn up “missing” and the darker the TLM scheme seems to run.

“Cultured” interpreted by Wombo Dream

This started with in your face descriptions/backstory and never really picked up from there.  I realize that’s a bit harsh; maybe I’m just not the target audience for this book.  I definitely think this was written for a male reader because as hard as I tried, I could not connect with the MC.  Most of the book is from Jake’s point of view; although, chapters veer off to other characters at the convenience of the story (a huge turn off for me).  What didn’t I like about Jake?  He seemed like an okay guy, but he had no drive, except to hang out on the beach, and the constant sexual innuendos between him and his girlfriend, who is treated as little more than eye candy despite having written a smash screenplay, got tiresome.  Even though I think Nicole got short shrift (she probably would have made a better MC), her “being a sugar baby is fine and understandable” attitude didn’t sit well with me.

Why would I root for Nicole as the MC over Jake?  Because when it came right down to it, Jake didn’t do anything.  I’ve seen him described as the reluctant P.I., but that’s being kind.  He’s not a private investigator.  His father (Ray) is, his best friend (Pancake) is, and Nicole is part-time.  Jake makes it extremely clear he wants nothing to do with the business and for most of the book, just goes where the wind blows him.  Or where Nicole drags him.  To my recollection, Jake didn’t really do anything except crack jokes, feed Pancake, and try to get Nicole into bed.  In fact, they didn’t actually solve the case of the missing girl.  Granted, Pancake did follow the financial trail but (and I’m not a lawyer) I think a lot of what Pancake did was illegal and most of the evidence he collected probably would have gotten thrown out at trial.  Don’t get me started on Ray going Rambo with no repercussions (I might have missed a pertinent backstory to explain Ray’s connections).

While not a bad novel, it just wasn’t for me.

2.5/5 stars ⭐⭐+

Thank you to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for providing the ARC ebook.  I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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