Ahhh. Hawaii. Tropical paradise. The last thing you would expect is MURDER.
Nevertheless, the island of Kaua’i is the location of a murder in the first in a new series by Hawaiian author Naomi Hirahara. The author has another series that I have not read. But the potential of mentally relaxing on the Hawaiian islands was too tempting to ignore, even if I needed to use my imagination instead of actually feeling the sun on my face. Iced in Paradise was a fun romp in paradise.
Of course, Leilani Santiago couldn’t relax after she returned from attending school in Seattle to her island home, where her family operated a shave ice shack. (And don’t misunderstand. The author made it a point to tell the reader at the very beginning that it is called SHAVE ICE. Anyone who calls it shaved ice is clearly a mainlander). The business is failing and she takes it upon herself to hunker down and get it back going strong.
It isn’t long however when a young professional surfer who is being mentored by Leilani’s father is found dead, and her father is falsely accused of killing him. Leilani knows that her father is innocent, and sets out to prove it. At the same time, she is getting used to being back on the islands, and away from her Seattle boyfriend.
The author has done a brilliant job of capturing the laid-back atmosphere that I have found on my visits to Hawai’i. The strong family ties provide a backbone to the book that is very pleasant. The descriptions of the environment and the scenery give the reader a feeling of being right there in the midst of the Santiago family.
There is a generous use of Hawai’ian slang, which I enjoyed despite having to stop once in awhile and try to figure out what they are saying. Still, it added to the atmosphere of the book.
Iced in Paradise is clearly the first in what will be a series. I look forward to the next in the series. In the meantime, I need to find a place that serves SHAVE ICE.