Other than Mark Troy’s excellent work, I just don’t often read novels set in Hawaii. Not that I plan or decide to do things that way. It just is the way it happens as opposed to my seeking out books set in the Southwest because that is where I am from and what I know. In this case, I have missed the first two books of the series and can only review this novel and not the series as a whole.

Fire Prayer

By Deborah Turrell Atkinson


Poisoned Pen Press




ISBN# 978-1-59058-402-6

Storm Kayama and Ian Hamlin, who is both her partner and her lover; have made the short island hop to Molokai on behalf of a rich client whose son is missing. He went out on a tour run by a local outfit two weeks ago never to be seen again. The son is twenty six, sits on the board of directors as well as being an officer of the company. The client may have a very well paying negligence suit if something bad has definitely happened. Such suits are more in Ian’s realm and Storm doesn’t want to fool with them or the client connections necessary to work those kinds of cases.

Besides, she has her own agenda that also involves a son. In her case, an old high school classmate, Tanner Williams wants her help. His marriage crashed in flames for a variety of reasons which included his wife’s drinking and his own mental illness. The last thing he wants is for their son, Luke, to have issues especially since he has just been diagnosed as a diabetic. While on Molokai, she can also take care of checking on things for Tanner. Within hours of Storm’s first visit to check on Luke, his ex wife is dead, Tanner is missing, Luke is in the hospital and there are links to a nearly ten year old murder case. Secrets are tough to keep especially on the Islands with the coconut wireless. With Storm and Ian doing their own things, as well as a veritable plethora of other characters, everything is bound to come out eventually.

The result is an interesting read featuring two difficult main cases as well as numerous interesting secondary deals such as the old murder case, the culture of the islands, Storm’s love of horses, etc. As such, each and every plot point is seen through the eyes of nearly every single character. The resulting multiple shifts of pov often taking place in the same chapter slow the novel down too a glacial place. Time seems to nearly stand still in the work as an event is depicted through the eyes of one character, then through another, then through another and often through a couple more before the reader is moved on to a new event where the same pattern is repeated.

The result creates a glacially slow moving read in terms of action while at the same time provides deep understanding of each character major and minor. Along the way the rich cultural history of the islands is discussed and further bolstered by a multi page glossary at the end of the novel. At 282 total pages the novel is not a quick read in terms of length or content and leans more towards the cozy side of the mystery genre as it entertains readers.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007

Be Sociable, Share!