Cover Image: Cultured


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

"Cultured" by D. P. Lyle is a gripping mystery that blends elements of suspense, deception, and moral ambiguity. The novel follows Jake Longly, an ex-pro baseball player turned restaurateur, as he gets entangled in a disturbing case involving the disappearance of April Wilkerson from Lindemann Farms, a resort associated with the charismatic self-help and financial guru Jonathon Lindemann.

The narrative kicks off with a call from Jake's private investigator father, pulling him into a web of money, sex, and power surrounding Lindemann and his program, The Lindemann Method (TLM). Jake, with his celebrity status, becomes the ideal person to investigate the mysterious disappearance. As he and his girlfriend, Nicole, go undercover at Lindemann Farms, suspicions arise about the legitimacy of TLM.

D. P. Lyle masterfully peels away layers of deception, revealing the darker sides of Lindemann's empire. The exploration of TLM's unorthodox and immoral recruitment methods adds a chilling dimension to the plot. The author skillfully builds tension and keeps readers on the edge of their seats as Jake and Nicole uncover the truth behind April's disappearance.

The characters are well-drawn, and Jake's background as an ex-pro baseball player adds an interesting layer to his investigative skills. The chemistry between Jake and Nicole is palpable, and their relationship dynamics contribute to the overall appeal of the story.

The novel successfully navigates themes of morality and deception, prompting readers to question the true nature of Jonathon Lindemann and his supposed financial enlightenment program. The unraveling mystery and the urgency to find April Wilkerson keep the plot engaging, and the author's writing style is both compelling and accessible.

In conclusion, "Cultured" deserves four stars for its enthralling storytelling, well-developed characters, and the exploration of moral dilemmas within the context of a suspenseful mystery. D. P. Lyle crafts a compelling narrative that combines elements of crime and psychological intrigue, making it a recommended read for fans of thrilling mysteries with a thought-provoking edge.

Was this review helpful?

My first in this series and part of my quest to find more lighter/fun thrillers - something to fill the Steph Plum/Carl Hiassen type niche.

This had all the elements to do that in the blurb and in theory but the execution just didn’t work for me. There’s something off in the pacing and plotting that means that if just doesn’t flow right and the switches of POV are inconsistent and jarring. Plus Jake doesn’t really have a lot going for him as a main character - he’s not that bright and doesn’t seem to do that much - everyone else is doing the hard work for him and that contributes to the weirdness in pacing and a lack of a sense of peril. Not for me sadly.

Was this review helpful?

.P. Lyle's Cultured is the sixth book in the Jake Longly Thriller series, and it is his first novel to be reviewed on this blog. On the one hand, this is a significant human trafficking story. As a result of my wife's volunteer work on this topic, I've learnt about the global scope of this operation and the targeting of young women in the United States, who one might suppose are immune to such effects. Unfortunately, it is far more common than most naive American guys assume. On the other hand, the first half of this novel is filled with what amounts to junior high school discourse. I almost gave up reading the book until about halfway through, when the immature dialogue stops and the plot picks up. Jake and Nicole go undercover at Lindemann Farms, the headquarters of TLM, the Lindemann Method, a self-help and investment organisation led by Jonathon Lindemann. Rhea Wilson is his right-hand woman, and Lindemann Farms employs a slew of beautiful women to wine and dine prospective investors. They learn that there is more to TLM than Jonathon and Rhea are telling and that April and other TLM employees are in danger.
10 s

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this.

I read this book unaware that it was part of a series. While I found that it could be read as a stand-alone, I also felt at the same time, the previous books would need also to be read, to get a better feel and understanding of the characters Jake and Nichole.

Despite this, I still enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would, and just from reading this, am very interested in reading more of Lyle's books.

Was this review helpful?

This is the first novel reviewed in this blog by D.P Lyle, and Cultured is the sixth in the Jake Longly Thriller series. On one hand, this is an important story about human trafficking. As the result of my wife’s volunteer work on this cause, I’ve learned something about the size of this enterprise worldwide, and the targeting of young women in the U.S. who one might assume are immune to such outcomes as this. Unfortunately, it’s far more common than us typically naïve American men would care to believe. On the other hand, the first half of this book contains an excessive amount of what amounts to junior high school dialogue. I nearly gave up reading the story until after the halfway point when the immature dialogue mostly came to an end at the same time the plot picked up.

Jake Longly is a retired baseball player who earned enough money to buy a restaurant, Captain Rocky’s, which is on the beach in Gulf Shore’s Alabama. The bar is a happening place where Jake’s role is to be a face man, not to really run the place. His manager is Carla Martinez who knows how to run a bar and turn a profit. Jake really lives the life of a drunkard’s dream. His girlfriend is Nicole Jamison and she is one hot and smart woman. She likes to do work for Jake’s father, Ray Longly who is a private investigator. The group of friends includes Pancake, a 300+ pound computer wizard. The author repeatedly talked of Pancake’s ability to consume massive amounts of food all on Jake’s tab. Ray is a tough guy and he does not approve of his son’s post-baseball lifestyle, but Jake continues to help Ray out on his cases apparently because Nicole likes that action.

The action begins when the mother of April Wilkerson, Clarice, gets Ray to take the case of her daughter who has come up missing. The trail quickly leads to Jonathon Lindemann, founder of The Lindemann Method (TLM) which is meant to make people rich and to provide them with all pleasures possible in life. Essentially, TLM is a cult which drafts college age girls to work at his enterprise and provide sexual favors to all of the TLM members. The cost of membership is $120,000, so nearly all college age girls could not afford to join. Lindemann’s right hand person is Rhea Wilson. This is a story about wealthy people who make poor decisions, sex trafficking, beautiful women, money laundering, and a ponzi scheme. As noted above, after character development, the pace of the plot picks up at the halfway point.

So, the novel is one of good news and bad news. As noted, it’s a very important story that is too little understood in the U.S., and nearly intolerable juvenile dialogue.

West Coast Don

Was this review helpful?

An entertaining and engaging story. Terrible crimes are being committed, especially ones involving women. Fortunately the tale is told with some light-hearted humor inserted which helps keep one from being completely distressed and depressed by the situation. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.

Was this review helpful?

Mary Beth's review
May 26, 2023 · edit

really liked it
bookshelves: thrillers

Cultured is a fun thriller set in coastal Alabama and Florida featuring Jake Longly. Jake and his girlfriend Nicole are chilling at his restaurant, when his father Ray, a P. I., asks them for help on a new case. April Wilkerson went missing a few weeks ago, and her mother is concerned that her employers have something to do with her disappearance.

Jake and Nicole go undercover at Lindemann Farms, home of TLM, the Lindemann Method, which is a self help and investment group led by Jonathon Lindemann. His right hand woman is Rhea Wilson, and they employ numerous beautiful women at Lindemann Farms to wine and dine prospective investors. They discover that there is more to TLM than Jonathon and Rhea are saying, and that April and other TLM employees are in trouble.

Cultured is an easy, quick read with plenty of action. This is part of a series, but I hadn't read any of the previous books and enjoyed this one. I am interested in going back and reading the others in the series.

Thanks to Netgalley for the advance copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

Lyle’s latest hooked me from the start. I really liked all the characters. A fun read, even with the serious subject matter. I will be adding the other Longly series books to my reading list.
4.5 Stars

Was this review helpful?

I could not finish enough of this book to be able to leave a comprehensive review, but I hope it finds its audience and I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
First of all, I did not like the main character, Jake Longly, I've never seen an MC and an amateur sleuth as useless as him. He doesn't work and lives as a Victorian era gentleman. Although he went undercover and it was his father and Pancake that were in charge, he could have done better. The person who made it possible for the case to be solved was his girlfriend, Nicole. Nicole was my favorite character, i'd have loved Pancake, but he eats too much.
I liked the storyline, but it was way too slow. There was no urgency, no danger, and it was off-putting. I expected Nicole and Jake to be in danger since they went undercover, but there was nothing.
I loved the author's approach with the Lindemann Method Cult, I loved the setting, self-help, and money-making guru.
And I didn't like the ending, I didn't like what Pancake did. They solved the crime, though, so I guess it was good enough.

Was this review helpful?

Cultured by D. P. Lyle is a recommended investigative mystery and the sixth novel in the Jake Longly detective series.

Jake and Nicole, are at his restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama, when his PI father, Ray, calls him into help with the investigation of a missing young woman. April Wilkerson has gone missing from Lindemann Farms, the resort built by financial guru Jonathon Lindemann, founder of The Lindemann Method (TLM). Lindemann recruits wealthy people to join his program, promising healthy returns on their investment. Ray needs Jake and Nicole to visit Lindemann Farms posing as potential investors. The goal is to see if TLM is a scam and look for the missing young woman.

You can read Cultured as a stand alone mystery. The writing is great, the pace is fast, and the investigation is interesting. Jake, Nicole, Ray and the always hungry Pancake are all here, working to uncover the truth. The banter between the characters can be lighthearted and quick, which is entertaining, but it can also turn serious when required. The subject matter is serious in this investigation. This is my giving Jake and Nicole another chance book as their suggestive banter between each other dampened my enjoyment of The OC. While it is still present here, it was less distracting in Cultured.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Oceanview Publishing via NetGalley.
The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Edelweiss, and Amazon.

Was this review helpful?

I love the Jake Longly books by D P Lyle, and I was so glad to read this one. If you are new to this delightful detective series you will have no problem reading this as a standalone.

I am not going to give any spoilers, that is what the blurb is for. Once again Jake is roped into one of his father Ray's cases, and works with the gorgeous Nicole and his childhood friend Pancake. The witty dialogue is terrific, and the smoke and mirrors plot keeps the pages turning.

If you are looking for a hard-boiled detective story this is not the book for you. If you are in the mood for a truly enjoyable, rather light-hearted mystery with a swell narrative voice, pick up a copy of "Cultured." I loved this one as much as the earlier installments, and that is saying something. Five stars.

Was this review helpful?

I had no idea that this was part of a series as the book made sense without any prior knowledge. I loved the light hearted nature and tone of the book, and loved trying to solve the slow burning mystery. I thought the topic was interesting as it did not seem far-fetched in today's world. As a southern girl who has spent a lot of time in both Florida and Alabama, I loved the setting. 

I must admit that I got frustrated with Jake's incompetence at times. I thought the ending was a bit anticlamactic given how much time was spent trying to solve the mystery, but I also thought the ending was satisfactory and well finalized.

Was this review helpful?

CULTURED by D.P. Lyle was my first encounter with smart, straight-talking Jake Longly and it will not be my last. From the first pages, I dropped into the charming, disarming voice of a former ball player who owns a bar, is in love with screenwriter and certifiable knockout Nicole and best friends with the aptly named Pancake. When Jake's private investigator father Ray puts Jake on the case of a cult with an unfortunate string of missing persons from its clutches, Jake and his closest are drawn into a bizarre world of smoke, mirrors, and danger. I especially enjoyed the spare prose, pitch perfect dialogue, and vivid settings. I'm looking forward to others in this entertaining series. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced digital copy of this book.

This is the 6th of 6 books so far in the Jake Longley series and I have not ready any of the previous ones, so I was not familiar with the characters or their various backstories. But enough detail is given that I didn't feel completely lost when reading this one.

Jake, a former MLB pitcher, is happily retired and owns a bar/restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama. But when his father, Ray, gets a call about a possibly missing young woman, he calls on Jake and his girlfriend, Nicole, to help him find her.. Jonathan Lindemann is the founder of TLM (The Lindemann Method), which is headquartered at Lindemann Farm, which is where April Wilkerson was working. Jake and Nicole visit the Farm, pretending to be interested in joining the group, and find that everything is not exactly as it seems. There are several attractive young women who work all over the place, with their main job being to make the guests comfortable - whatever they may require. The women themselves, are interested in meeting a rich man who will take care of them, even perhaps marry them, so everyone seems to get along well. But April was last seen in the company of one of the members, on his private yacht, and no one has seen or heard from her in over three weeks.

With help from his father's associate, nicknamed Pancake, the trio unearth a lot of rather unsavory practices going on at TLM, one of which could have led to April's disappearance.

This is a good read, rather light on substance and wordy on descriptions, but it held my interest enough to finish it and I will probably look for others in the series.

Was this review helpful?

Retired professional athlete Jake Longly uncovers shady business when he and his girlfriend go undercover. Jonathon Lindemann offers a great return on your investment, as long as you don’t look too close. Which is what Jake and Nicole discover on their visit to his retreat hidden in plain sight. Jake would rather stay put but a request to find a missing girl puts these two in the thick of an operation whose owners will stop at nothing to secure. It has just enough steam to fog the windows but not so much you can’t see out, or in this case to the end.

Was this review helpful?

In Cultured, former baseball player Jake joins an investigation into a girl that’s gone missing from The Farm, a wellness resort seemingly focused on self-improvement and financial success. Jake and his girlfriend Nicole go to the resort to get intel for Jake’s private investigator father, and while everything seems perfect from the outside they uncover a seedier inside.

I very much liked the tone of this book— it was similar vibes to tv shows like Psych, Monk, and Burn Notice. There was a lightness and humor that worked despite the seriousness of the investigations.

The plot of the investigations also held my interest and made it a quick read.

On the other hand, I didn’t really like how there were a few chapters where instead of getting Jake’s POV, we got the POV of other characters. It was jarring, especially without chapter titles to signal a change. It also really didn’t do anything to further the plot.

I also wasn’t a fan of some of the repetition of previous books in the series. It’s a stand alone, but there was way too much explanation of a prior case the characters embarked on that made it feel like you should have read the prior books even though it wasn’t needed to understand the plot.

Finally, while I liked the characters, they were a bit one dimensional and Jake’s interior monologue was often cringey.

It was a fun, quick read, but I’m not in a rush to read any more from the series.

Was this review helpful?

I didn’t actually realise that this book was part of a series, what was great though was I didn’t feel like I was missing any information from not reading the previous books.

I find anything to do with cults so fascinating and this was no different. Ex ball player Jake Longly is tasked with helping find a missing girl who has been working on an elusive luxury ranch but what he finds is so much deeper.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a bit different, I’m definitely keen to read the rest in the series!

Was this review helpful?

No matter how hard Jake Longly tries to avoid his father's private eye business, he keeps getting tangled up in investigations. This time Jake finds himself helping search for April Wilkerson. The young woman has gone missing from Lindemann Farms—a high end resort and investment program that feels more like a combination cult and brothel. Jake, along with his girlfriend, pose as potential investors in The Lindemann Method program and go undercover at the resort. Jake and Nicole quickly learn that not only is April the first young woman to go missing from Lindemann Farms under suspicious circumstances, but that Jonathan Lindemann is much more of a conman than he appears.

CULTURED is a great addition to the Jake Longly series. While it is the sixth in the series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

Much like Jake, CULTURED is a relaxed novel with a slow build. It's clear from the beginning that there is something seriously wrong at Lindemann Farms. The first half of the novel sets the scene and provides plenty of background information on Jonathan Lindemann and his program. Jake and Nicole pick up bits and pieces of crucial information as they interview Lindemann's followers and employees. Clues that there is something sinister going on beneath the surface are parceled out and help build the case. Jake's lackadaisical attitude can get a bit annoying, but his humor helps offset the serious subject matter. Overall, CULTURED is an intriguing read.

Was this review helpful?

Ich bin vor einiger Zeit auf den kleinen US-Indie-Verlag Oceanview Publishing aufmerksam geworden und habe deren Newsletter abonniert, und so bin ich auf „Cultured“ gestoßen. Oceanview macht „Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense“, und zwar richtig gute – ich habe bislang ausnahmslos coole Stories aus diesem Hause gelesen, und ich kenne die Autoren alle nicht, aber Herrn oder Frau Lyle werde ich mir auf jeden Fall merken!
Also, auf Deutsch, hierum geht es: Jake Longly ist Ex-Baseballprofi und Besitzer eines angesagten Restaurants in Alabama. Seine Freundin Nicole ist erfolgreiche Drehbuchschreiberin in Hollywood, und beide könnten so ein schönes glamouröses It-Pärchen sein, allein: sie sind nebenbei als Privatdetektive in der Detektei von Jakes Vater Ray tätig, und das ziemlich erfolgreich. Der Vierte im Bunde ist Jakes alter Schulfreund Pancake, der nicht nur enorme Mengen an Nahrungsmitteln in sich hineinschieben kann und das Restaurant irgendwann mal leer gefuttert haben wird, sondern auch enorme Fähigkeiten als IT Hacker besitzt, und dem nichts verborgen bleibt.
Der aktuelle Auftrag des Teams führt in einen Kult hinein: April Wilkerson, die als Hostess bei „The Lindemann Method“, kurz TLM, arbeitet, ist verschwunden, und ihre besorgte Mutter beauftragt die Detektei, sie zu finden. TLM ist ein Resort für die Schönen und Reichen mit der Versprechung, sowohl Lebenshilfe zu geben als auch Finanztipps zu geben – zu schön, um wahr zu sein, oder? Jake und Nicole schleichen sich undercover ein und decken so einiges an Unstimmigkeiten auf, denn April ist nicht die einzige junge Frau, die von dort verschwunden ist …..
Mein Leseeindruck: Spannend, witzig, mitreißend. Ich fand schon ab Seite 1 den Stil richtig genial: Die meiste Zeit erzählt Jake aus der Ich-Perspektive heraus, und das tut er sehr lakonisch, sehr witzig, sehr authentisch. Eigentlich würde Jake nämlich gerne nur entspannt chillen und das ruhige Leben genießen, aber Nicole sieht das anders, und wo Nicole hingeht, da geht er halt auch hin. Klar. Und wenn das bedeutet, dass er sich in gefährliche Situationen begeben muss, dann ist das halt mal so. Für mich hat einen Großteil des Charmes der Story Jakes Erzählung ausgemacht, das war einfach oft genau mein Humor.
Ein zweiter Teil der Geschichte wurde natürlich aus der auktorialen Perspektive erzählt, wenn es um April ging, bzw., um die Machenschaften des TLM-Clans. Und das war dann weniger humorig, aber sehr spannend.
Natürlich weiß man schon sehr schnell, um was es geht: Menschenhandel und Prostitution. Und wer die Übeltäter sind (oder höchstwahrscheinlich sein können), weiß man auch relativ schnell. Also zumindest mir war das recht schnell klar. Das hat aber der Lesefreude keinerlei Abbruch getan. Die Story war relativ geradlinig, ohne viele unvorhersehbare Wendungen (fand ich), aber nochmals: das war hier auch völlig ok. Es ging darum, wie so ein Kult funktioniert und wie es kommt, dass so viele Leute auf derlei Versprechungen hereinfallen, und was so im Hintergrund abläuft. Und das war verpackt in eine coole Story mit sehr unterhaltsamen Charakteren.
Also, mein Fazit: grandios geschrieben, super unterhaltsam, interessanter und nicht alltäglicher Fall mit ernstem Hintergrund, ich war bestens unterhalten!
Das hier ist der 6. Teil einer Serie um Jake und Nicole, man kann aber auch mit diesem Teil einsteigen und verpasst nichts. Der Fall ist in sich abgeschlossen, und alles, was man über die Protagonisten wissen muss, erzählt einem Jake schon noch – passt 😊.
Besten Dank an den Verlag und Netgalley für das Rezensionsexemplar!

Was this review helpful?