A former NYPD cop has the skills but can’t quite adjust to local politics and a less formal approach to power after his turn from big city to small town.
After Rick, his long-term partner on the NYPD, is killed in a bust gone wrong, Thomas Lynch decides to try small-town life, and Idyll is about as small as towns get in Connecticut. Lynch feels guilty not because he had a hand in Rick’s downfall but because he didn’t give him a hand up. He knew that Rick had gotten himself addicted to the drugs collected from crime scenes, but he couldn’t bear to force his friend into rehab. Even though he’s in a position of power as the chief of police in his new role, Lynch can’t commit to being part of the local Idyll force. Maybe it’s reluctance to get close after Rick’s death. Maybe it’s the small-town lifestyle he can’t buy into; having neighbors discuss the state of his lawn in depth isn’t something Lynch feels prepared for. There's one other thing that separates Lynch from his underlings: he’s gay. Not the type to share this sort of information at work, especially given the intolerance of the 1990s, Lynch is pressed toward full disclosure when his orientation becomes relevant to the town’s only murder case. There’s no motive or witnesses in the shooting death of Cecilia North, though Lynch fears he may have been one of the last people to see her alive. If he can explain to his officers what he was doing with a strange man in an abandoned cabin, where Lynch unexpectedly ran into the vic, he could cut the investigation short, but at what cost?
The balance of identities is well-explored by Gayle (My Summer of Southern Discomfort, 2007), who follows the thread not just through her protagonist, but as an intrinsic part of the plot. Strong enough to kick off a series.