Leilani Texeira is a cop in Hilo, Hawaii. When she and her partner, Pono, while on a routine vandalism call, find two drowned girls, she’s pitched headlong into a case that reaches far beyond the small town in which she lives. Lei knows one of the victims, and feels compelled to step out of her routine patrol cop role and help investigate the death. The lead detective, Michael Stevens, a former LA cop with secrets of his own, is at first reluctant to accept her help, but with few other resources at his disposal is forced to take her on – a relationship that quickly becomes personal.
Blood Orchids by Toby Neal, which I received a free copy of in exchange for my review, is a chilling tale of evil deeds in a small Hawaiian town, told in a style that will keep you glued to the page from start to finish. Filled with suspense and colorful descriptions of aspects of our 50th state that will be unfamiliar to mainlanders, Blood Orchids spins a tale of crime and secret emotions that sets a new standard for the mystery/thriller genre. It starts with action that gets even tenser when Lei becomes the killer’s next target. The deeper she delves into the case, the more the threads of her past become interlaced with current events. She doesn’t know who she can trust – including herself.
In this tale, Neal demonstrates her mastery of the genre, and her understanding of the depths of the human psyche. A story well worth reading – that will keep you guessing from beginning to end, and make you salivate in anticipation of Lei’s next adventure. I give Blood Orchids four stars.