STORYLINE: Lei Texeira is on patrol with her partner when they discover the bodies of two teenagers. Lei is familiar with one of them from a previous run-in and indentifies with the murdered girl. As the case unfolds, Lei’s past comes into play. Someone who knows her early history is stalking her. And as if her life isn’t complicated enough, she’s about to fall in love and has no idea how to handle the complexities of a relationship.
PLAYERS: Lei Texeira is a feisty police officer, with ambitions of making detective. She has unresolved issues, which comes out in the way she deals with her security and relationships.
Michael Stevens is a no-nonsense detective, who also has his own familial difficulties. He’s good at his job and cares for Lei, though she tries to keep him at a distance. I admire Michael’s persistence and protectiveness.
I LIKED: the pacing of the story, as well as the red herrings that kept me guessing. Lei’s character is well developed and I identified with her struggles, bearing her past in mind.
This was my first trip to Hawaii via fiction, and Tobi Neal made it a good visit. The descriptions are vivid and engaging, which gives a real sense of the place. The pidgin English is something else that keeps things real and in some ways reminds me of Patois.
I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT: visualizing what Lei did to the man who dared to abduct her. Smart thinking on her part, but I’m still having phantom pains over it.
OVERALL COMMENTS: I’d seen the book around a few times, but downloaded a sample after reading a review on another blog. Blood Orchids is the kind of stuff I like to read, so once the sample grabbed me, I gave in.
I’m not sure there’s anything in there to explain why the bad guy is the way he is, but being curious by nature, I wonder what sent him down that road. The story feels as though it has two high points, with another matter resolved after the main event. The ending is realistic in that Lei doesn’t launch wholeheartedly into the romance with Michael.
COVER NOTE: I think the cover is fitting. The red orchid against the black background in my mind symbolizes beauty juxtaposed against death. The criminal in the novel—as is the case with the delusional—sees himself as someone who appreciates beauty, both in nature and in women. Lei also has a love for Orchids.
SOURCE: I bought Blood Orchids on Amazon and will definitely read more books in the Lei series.
RATING: For those who like crime fiction with an interesting backdrop and intriguing characters, Blood Orchids is a truly awesome read.