While slow at times, this adventure journeys to many unexpected places in the Aloha State.



A young woman investigates a mystery involving the death of a relative in this novel set in Hawaii.

Seiler presents Gina Mordi, a fierce young woman whose elderly Aunt Nalani has just died. Nalani’s body was found in a sinkhole, and the circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious. Although Gina is initially sent to simply find Nalani’s missing handbag, she launches her own investigation into the tragedy. It is while Gina is tracking down the bag that she comes across Julius, a stream biologist known as Curly. He and Gina wind up forming quite a pair. Gina also has a friend in the police department, a war veteran named Carla Moreno. Moreno faces a tough time on the force, as both a rookie and a woman, but her tough-as-nails demeanor ultimately makes her well suited for the job. But even when Gina, Curly, and Moreno combine their efforts, the question remains: Who would want to kill an elderly woman? To find the answer, the three must follow a winding path through Hawaii as they gather clues. Elements as nuanced and varied as the necessity of an Environmental Impact Statement, fine dining, and satirical letters to a local newspaper all play a part. Gina, an intrepid heroine, encounters quite a cast of characters along the way. The intrigue is enhanced by the players themselves, who, at times, may not turn out to be who they say they are. While the yarn is indeed kept spinning, there are a few less-than-thrilling tangents. For instance, food often comes into play in ways that are not entirely necessary. Whether the dishes originate from a Greek van or a local cafe, characters tend to make predictable comments about the cuisine. Not much is gained by someone exclaiming “Oh, this is delicious!”—particularly when there is a possible murder to solve. Nevertheless, even with all the disparate parts, everything manages to smoothly come together in the end.

While slow at times, this adventure journeys to many unexpected places in the Aloha State.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947003-68-2

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Owl House Books

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2020

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One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

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Once again, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets mixed up in a killing whose principal suspect is his old friend Nate Romanowski, whose attempts to live off the grid keep breaking down in a series of felony charges.

If Judge Hewitt hadn’t bent over to pick up a spoon that had fallen from his dinner table, the sniper set up nearly a mile from his house in the gated community of the Eagle Mountain Club would have ended his life. As it was, the victim was Sue Hewitt, leaving the judge alive and free to rail and threaten anyone he suspected of the shooting. Incoming Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Brendan Kapelow’s interest in using the case to promote his political ambitions and the judge’s inability to see further than his nose make them the perfect targets for a frame-up of Nate, who just wants to be left alone in the middle of nowhere to train his falcons and help his bride, Liv Brannon, raise their baby, Kestrel. Nor are the sniper, the sheriff, and the judge Nate’s only enemies. Orlando Panfile has been sent to Wyoming by the Sinaloan drug cartel to avenge the deaths of the four assassins whose careers Nate and Joe ended last time out (Wolf Pack, 2019). So it’s up to Joe, with some timely data from his librarian wife, Marybeth, to hire a lawyer for Nate, make sure he doesn’t bust out of jail before his trial, identify the real sniper, who continues to take an active role in the proceedings, and somehow protect him from a killer who regards Nate’s arrest as an unwelcome complication. That’s quite a tall order for someone who can’t shoot straight, who keeps wrecking his state-issued vehicles, and whose appalling mother-in-law, Missy Vankeuren Hand, has returned from her latest European jaunt to suck up all the oxygen in Twelve Sleep County to hustle some illegal drugs for her cancer-stricken sixth husband. But fans of this outstanding series will know better than to place their money against Joe.

One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53823-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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