Big Island Blues: A McKenna Mystery By Terry Ambrose

Dec 20, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of Big Island Blues, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.

As a man of a certain age and retired on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Wilson McKenna is making a resolution towards living a life far more open to friends and family. Perhaps that’s a decision made a bit on the fly, as he has just boarded a plane to the Big Island in order to help his friend Alexander find the niece who has recently gone missing. Andi Kapono is a promising young jazz singer who has been out of touch but whom Alexander believes would never go missing before a career-making appearance at a local jazz festival. Once they arrive at his sister Benni’s house though, they discover that she is downplaying her daughter’s disappearance and is pretending to be rather nonchalant about Andi’s

Sensing that the normally overprotective Benni is acting oddly, McKenna snoops through Andi’s computer and discovers a connection to “Blueslover,” with whom she had set up a meeting. Through some prodding and meddling, McKenna and Alexander discover that Andi had most likely become involved with her father and Benni’s ex-husband Warren. This is the first step towards finding the young woman whose family seems to be hiding a myriad of secrets, a fact made all the more uncomfortable due to McKenna’s attraction to his best friend’s sister.

This third in the series continues to highlight and explore everything that makes the Hawaiian Islands so unique. As beautiful as it is dangerous, Ambrose very accurately details Hawaii’s cuisine, local characters, and dialects.

Much of the appeal lies with McKenna, who amiably acknowledges his ignorance even though he has adapted more to the island ways. McKenna and Alexander have a highly entertaining relationship as they banter back and forth, and the latter affably mocks McKenna’s “haole” ways. Likable characters, witty dialogue, and ample amounts of humor ensure that readers will be captivated by this Hawaiian Getaway of a mystery.

To enter to win a copy of Big Island Blues, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Island,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 27, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book and you will be supporting an indie bookstore & a portion goes to help support KRL.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Terry Ambrose writes a great novel. I ordered Big Island Blues as a treat to myself for the holidays. Get to know this author.


  2. I’m sure my sister would like to win a copy of this book. She’s got fond memories of the Big Island.

  3. Sounds good!

  4. Only ever made one holiday visit, but that’s the joy of reading, transporting oneself elsewhere.

  5. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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