“Wink of an Eye,” written by Lynn Chandler Willis, introduces us to a hunky P.I. named Gypsy Moran. Think Gerard Butler, with a Texas drawl (IMO). Gypsy’s colorful past is catching up with him and he returns home to Wink, Texas to hide out for a while. Wink is a small town where everybody knows your name, what you did with whom and how long it took.
The last thing he wants to do is take on a case while laying low, but he is staying with his sister and she can push his buttons as only sisters know how to do. A former student of hers needs help proving that his dad, a deputy in the sheriff’s department, did not commit suicide. And, by the way, his death may be related to an investigation into some missing teens.
“Just hear him out,” sis says. Wow, do people get in trouble when they relent and get persuaded after that plea. When the boy, Tatum McCallen, keeps nagging at Gypsy to help, Gypsy’s first reaction is to say that nothing can be done. But, seriously, how can anyone refuse a 12 year old that is so persistent, or a case that reeks of cover up and injustice and maybe even human trafficking, laced with corruption in the police department?
Of course, we know that Gypsy will take on the case, and the way “Wink of an Eye” unfolds, Willis keeps us guessing and laughing and thoroughly engrossed all the way through.
Gypsy runs into old flame, Claire, who can ring his chimes and make him lose all his brains and common sense, just as she could back in high school. They have history and at first, Gypsy has selective memory for only the good parts. He meets a sexy reporter while looking into the overlapping cases and life gets more complicated.
Gypsy can’t catch a break with his love life, but as a P.I., he’s a phenom. He does the work, has a great brain, can stay one step ahead of his enemies – well, mostly. Snake bites, hospital stays, and a need for frozen peas slow him down a bit.
There are multiple story lines in “Wink of an Eye” – what happened to the missing teens, what actually happened between Gypsy and Claire back in high school, how and why did Ryce McCallen really die, why is Gypsy hiding out in his sister’s house, and more. Willis has given Michael ‘Gypsy’ Moran a complex back-story, interwoven throughout the book in bits and pieces. We are brought into his thoughts as if they were our own. We experience his ‘aha’ moments as the facts surface and clarity is revealed.
I lived in Texas for more than a dozen years, and Willis (a native North Carolinian) has truly captured the clothes-sticking-to-you August-in-Texas heat. The dust covers your shoes on the dry days and people will walk for a couple of blocks just to park the car in the shade. I laughed out loud when one of Gypsy’s romantic fantasies was cut short by the reality of sweat.
The supporting cast is an absorbing mix of innocents, nasty sorts, loyal relatives, savvy contacts, and anxious illegals. Gypsy, himself, is such a well-written character that he could easily carry a successful series for years to come.
“Wink of an Eye” was the winner of the Best First Private Eye Novel Competition in 2013, deservedly so. Willis was the first woman in a decade to win that award. Wahoo!
Interesting trivia information for fans: Which Country & Western singers does Willis listen to while she is writing? George Strait and Garth Brooks. 🙂
For information about Lynn Chandler Willis, her other books, as well as the next Gypsy Moran book, please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com
Award update: "Wink of an Eye" has been nominated for the Shamus Award, an award that focuses on Private Investigators in the mystery field. The winner will be revealed at the international Bouchercon Convention in Raleigh, NC on October 9th. 🙂 Congratulations to Lynn for the nomination!