Title: The Fire Thief
Author: Debra Bokur
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Page Count: 239
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
The scenery may be beautiful, but dangerous secrets are buried beneath paradise in this first thriller featuring Maui detective Kali Māhoe.
Under a promising morning sky, police captain Walter Alaka’i discovers the body of a teenage surfer bobbing among the lava rocks of Maui’s southeastern shore. Closer inspection reveals something far more sinister than the results of a savage wave gone wrong. Now that Alaka’i is looking at a homicide, he solicits the help of his niece, Detective Kali Māhoe.
Kali sees evidence of a strange ritual murder, a suspicion reinforced by a rash of sightings of a noppera-bō—a faceless and malicious spirit many believe to be more than superstition. When a grisly sacrifice is left on the doorstep of a local, and another body washes ashore, Kali fears that the deadly secret ceremonies on Maui are just beginning. As the skies above Maui grow darker, and as she balances reason and superstition, Kali can only wonder: Who’ll be the next to die? And who—or what—is she even on the trail of?
The Fire Thief by Debra Bokur is the first book in the police procedural Dark Paradise Mystery series. While this mystery series has character development that carries over from book to book for those wanting to follow the entire series the cases involved are solved within so they could be read as a standalone if choosing to do so.
When the police captain, Walter Alaka’i, finds the body of a young teenage surfer he firsts suspects that the death is a surfing accident. However it begins to become clear that this death was no accident at all so Walter gives a call to his niece, Detective Kali Māhoe so she can begin to work the case. While Kali is a detective in Maui she is also is also a kahu which is a spiritual leader in her Hawaiian community so her methods can be a bit out of the ordinary but Kali is always determined to close her cases and find her killer.
I have to admit the first draw to this series was the fact it was set in Hawaii and if I can I love to pick up books set around the world as I have a love virtual travel and enjoying a setting as much as a story. This new series of course gives a look at a darker side to the islands but it did bring the setting to life so I was very glad of that. The main character in this one is certainly a character that stands out on her own and it was interesting getting to know her and follow along as she investigated. While this first book of the series landed at three and a half stars for me I feel like I was left wanting to know more and return for the next book.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Debra Bokur is an award-winning writer, journalist and poet whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications and literary journals. She is a columnist and feature writer at Global Traveler Magazine, and the Global Researcher and Writer for the Association of Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT). In 2015, she received a Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism. She has served as a staff writer and editor at national publications including Fit Yoga, Healing Lifestyles & Spas Magazine and Global Traveler Magazine. Her extensive world travels have taken her to Europe, the Middle East, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and on repeated trips to Iceland, which has become one of her favorite destinations. Much of her work has focused on world cultures and healing traditions, including multiple published pieces focused on the rich lore and healing practices of Hawai’i; work that formed the basis for her Dark Paradise Mysteries series. Bokur was a contributing author to Spreading the Word: Editors on Poetry (The Bench Press, 2001), and is a recipient of the Frances Buck Sherman Award for Outstanding Woman Poet. For more than a decade, she was the poetry editor of Many Mountains Moving literary journal, and was commissioned to create original essays that appeared on the boxes of ten separate flavors of Celestial Seasonings Teas, including the company’s flagship flavor, Sleepytime. When not traveling, Bokur enjoys wildlife photography, art, and hiking; particularly along Maine’s wild coasts and through snow-drenched forests in the Colorado mountains.