by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to win a copy of Dying For A Daiquiri.
There’s nothing like attending a wedding to force one to assess the state of a relationship. On the beautiful Big Island to celebrate the wedding of her best friend, Liz, to El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney, Brian Daley, Laurel McKay had hoped that the vacation would be an opportunity for her to define–and hopefully advance–her romance with Detective Tom Hunter.
Unfortunately, a new case and his promotion to being the head of the homicide division of El Dorado’s Sheriff’s Department has Tom grounded back in California, so Laurel’s plan that had her child-free for the wedding ended in yet another disappointment.
However, this does allow Laurel to bond with her newly remarried mother Barbara as well as with Laurel’s brother, Dave, who moved to Hawaii ten years ago to buy a rundown Tiki Bar and establish a new restaurant hot-spot. As happy as Laurel is to reunite with her brother, she is shocked to see how rocky his marriage is with Reagan, an accountant at the nearby Kona coffee farm, Koffee Land. Although Laurel is alarmed when her coworker and fellow wedding guest, Stan Winters, whispers gossip to her about Dave and the beautiful hula dancer Keiki, far more concerning is the news that Keiki’s body has just been found on the rocks below his restaurant and that both Dave and his wife have been brought in for questioning.
With an unfortunate and unplanned but quite successful record of solving murders, Laurel is of course unable to sit back and watch her brother suffer, especially since he was the one who supported her through her difficult divorce to a philandering husband. While the island is definitely “Big,” Laurel soon learns that the community itself is rather small and very incestuous. Keiki’s stepfather Victor is Reagan’s boss and owner of Koffee Land, where a zip-line accident killed Keiki’s ex-boyfriend, the brother of an employee who works for Dave’s best friend Steve.
While the zip-line company was run by Keiki’s brother-in-law, it was Steve Bohannon, a distractingly attentive and attractive boat captain, who also happened to be in charge of the trip that had Laurel knocked overboard in one of several attempts on her life. Keiki was also known to be rather free with her attentions and flirtations, and her being a contestant on the reality show The Bride and the Bachelor filming at Koffee Land was sure to rile up even more jealousies. Determined to solve the murder and save her brother’s marriage, Laurel still manages to find the time to taste gourmet coffee and chocolates, attend a luau and devour delectable local specialties. And of course, enjoy a daiquiri or four!
This is an absolutely delightful mystery with a cast of characters who all have a motive for murder, and as a result the reader will be held in suspense up until the very end. Author Cindy Sample perfectly captures the tourist-friendly side of the Big Island, from the local dialect to the food and sights. As someone born and raised on Oahu, I appreciated the author’s dedication to authenticity (even though I myself have never had cream-filled malasadas. Hmm. Must try those!). What I truly enjoyed most about this novel though, is the refreshingly positive relationship Laurel has with her family. She lovingly rolls her eyes at Barbara’s declarations to never interfere, but they support and truly love one another.
Humor is never absent in this series and while Laurel manages to put herself in jeopardy several times, it’s never out of stupidity or disregard for the law. Even with her children on the mainland, Liz off doing honeymooning things and Stan distracted by his attempts at hula and knife-dancing, Laurel is more than capable at providing ample amounts of sarcasm, wit and enjoyable banter. This third in the series continues to uphold the fun spirit and sharpness of the previous entries and is definitely the perfect tropical escape for readers.
To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Dying for a Daiquiri, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Dying,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 9, 2013. U.S. residents only.
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