If J.D. Robb's In Death series went on location with Kaui Hart Hemmings's The Descendants, you'd have Toby Neal's Torch Ginger. The island of Kaua'i is remote jungle, golden beaches, and ancient culture - but transients are disappearing in paradise, and only Detective Lei Texeira notices. Lei transfers to the island of Kaua'i, where she uncovers a pattern of disappearances that may be related to a bizarre cult - or is it just one madman at work? In Lei's world, everyone is guilty until proven innocent. In the midst of the biggest case sleepy Kaua'i has ever seen, Lei must also untangle the mysteries of her heart and discover who she loves.
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My Review I didn't read the first in the series, "Blood Orchids" but there is enough back story in "Torch Ginger" to ensure the reader doesn't feel bewildered by how and why Lei finds herself now working on Kaua'i. Lei is the new girl, low in the pecking order and as such, gets all the boring jobs. She is working hard to fit in but after only two months on an island described as "a jungle paradise of secretive people and strange spiritual forces" Lei is finding life to be "slow and boring". It's while plodding her way through one of her dull cases that Lei is asked to talk to Kelly Waterson, Kelly reports her boyfriend Jay as missing. It has only been 24 hours since she last spoke to him by 'phone, but the circumstances catch Leis attention. When a worried Kelly flew in and visited Pine Trees, the unofficial camp site, she discovered Jays belongings dumped in the rubbish bin. His wallet still held his credit cards and also some strange origami shapes, three stones were left on his shoe. Now the story really begins! During the course of her investigation she meets many strange and intriguing characters and she becomes convinced that the disappearances aren't merely people who have simply taken themselves off the grid. Getting others to take her convictions seriously is a hard task. There are so many threads to this story, yet they are woven skilfully to produce a story that is difficult to put down. The characters are all so well described that they seem totally believable, even the more way out types. Mystery and intrigue abound, there is, in some characters, a sense of other worldliness which is at odds with Leis own world view. I thought the reunion of Lei and her father beautifully written, his gentleness and his love for his daughter so sensitively described. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves a mystery set in a lush and exotic location and with many intriguing extras. I for one shall be reading more of Toby Neil's work. Narrator This is the first book I have listened to narrated by Sara Malia Hatfield, and what a wonderful voice she has. Sara has all the attributes of a good narrator, but, for this book, it took a special person to pull it off. Born and raised in Hawaii, she was the perfect choice to perform those subtle differences in accents. The more I listened the more fascinated I became by both her voice and the pidgin speak, just wonderful! I look forward to more. Just a word about the Audible sample, should you listen to it, it in no way does justice to the audiobook, for some reason, the sample seems of lesser quality. This audiobook was provided, without condition, by the representative of the author.
- bec/audiothing "I review books and audiobooks, mostly mystery, police procedurals, That's about it!"
My Favorite Neal Audiobook
The story is (of course) fantastic as are all of Toby's, but it's the narrator's performance that really did it for me on this one.
Sara's ability to create a voice and personality for each character was really astounding; I was completely taken away. Through her command of the nuances of the Hawaiian/pidgin dialect, I was able to envision each character in my mind.
The story of suspicious disappearances and a cult really pulled me in. There were so many layers of the mystery that I couldn't turn off my iPhone as I waited to hear what would happen next. Even though I had read this book previously, the audiobook gave me a new experience into this compelling story.