STORYLINE: Lei Texeira has taken up a new position in Kaua`i, where a camper’s disappearance leads her to uncover a pattern that hasn’t been investigated by the police department. Is the man’s disappearance related to cult activities or is some twisted individual living out their own personal fantasy?
To compound matters, Lei must choose between her old flame and the new man in her life, who might be mixed up with the bad guys.
PLAYERS: Lei Texeira is the same feisty police officer I met in Blood Orchids, but for the fact that she has kicked her fiancé Michael to the curb because of her unresolved issues. A case of childhood sexual abuse has left Lei uncertain of her ability to maintain a long-term relationship.
Michael Stevens is a lot harsher in this novel than the first, but this is understandable with him having been gutted by Lei’s change of mind about marrying him. He shows himself to be capable and good at what he does. He also gives Lei sensible advice when she is tempted to go ‘lone ranger’ on the case.
I LIKED: the mystery surrounding the perpetrator, who takes his role seriously. The red herrings kept me guessing and I didn’t read the clues deeply enough to figure out the identity of the killer.
Lei was also cast in the role of daughter, and there were some moments when I felt for both her and her dad—all they lost and the time they were trying to catch up on.
I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT: imagining that injury Lei’s partner suffered at the climax of the story, but I’ll chalk that up to the dangers involved in police work.
OVERALL COMMENTS: As with Blood Orchids, the writer provided vivid pictures of the island and this time, an interesting look at the cultural practices.
Torch Ginger has an interesting mix of characters and the story is well-crafted with the plot lines lining up nicely at the end. Lei’s current situation has the feel of a happy ending, which I hope she allows herself to enjoy this time around.
I’m waiting to see what other cases Lei winds up solving in this series.
COVER NOTE: I like the brilliant Torch Ginger on the cover. It represents Lei well and also identifies the book as part of the Lei Series and Toby Neal’s brand.
SOURCE: The book was provided by the author in exchange for a review.