Welcome to paradise, and the further adventures of Poe and Foxx and the lovely Alana Hu, where the only thing to spoil the fun is the occasional murder.
In his sequel, mystery writer Stephens (The Drayton Diaries, 2014, etc.) is back with his hero, Edgar Allen “Poe” Rutherford, who has relocated to Maui, probably for good. Poe was lured there originally by his old friend Doug Foxx, and it did not take long before Poe fell in love with Detective Alana Hu of the Lahaina Police Department (though now they have “issues,” alas). Anyway, the gang’s all here, and here comes Alana’s sister, Hani, and her fiance, Panos Laskaris, soon to be married. Panos is a real charmer, but he has made a bunch of enemies, so we’re not really surprised when he is found on his boat on the eve of the wedding with his throat slashed. The suspects are plenty: Peter Bell, whom Panos had cheated out of that boat; Wes, Panos’ partner in a restaurant, whom he had hung out to dry; Hani’s old boyfriend, Makani, and his hot-tempered brother, Kai. Or maybe Jim, the talented chef that Panos had also treated badly. With no credentials whatever—just like the last time—Poe is on the case. Things take an interesting turn when Peter Bell turns up dead. The incompetent and infuriating Detective Adcock is Poe’s nemesis, but our hero is ever the undaunted smart aleck, one step ahead. The case gets solved and wrapped up, of course, not without the requisite red herrings and late revelations. For an amateur detective, Poe isn’t chopped liver. And we get a teaser at the end that there will be more cases coming. Oh, and Poe and Alana seem to be back on track. In this paradise, not only are all the guys hunky and all the gals gorgeous, but Poe and Foxx are both independently wealthy. A sophomoric dream, but such entertainments don’t pretend to be Crime and Punishment.
As formulaic as its predecessor, this is still a good, lightweight read. And we always knew that Poe and Alana would weather their private storm.