cover image The Fire Thief

The Fire Thief

Debra Bokur. Kensington, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2772-5

Even paradise has a dark side as shown in Bokur’s welcome debut and series launch introducing Det. Kali Māhoe, of the Maui PD, who’s also a cultural anthropologist. Still distraught over the death of her fiancé and fellow police officer in the line of duty, Kali must consider the possibility that the suspicious death of 17-year-old Kekipi Smith, an avid surfer, is part of an ancient brutal ritual after the police determine he was killed with a wooden club edged with shark teeth like those once used by Hawaiian warriors. When a second body is found, Kali uses her knowledge of the local cultural and spiritual traditions—learned from her late grandmother, a renowned spiritual leader—to help discover the reason for the murders, even when it forces her to question the motives of friends and family. As myth and mayhem mix, Kali follows the trail of killers driven by an age-old evil: greed. Bokur nimbly contrasts the Hawaii of sun and golden beaches with its less well-known underbelly of poverty, discrimination, and crime. Fans of strong female cops will look forward to Kali’s further adventures. Agent: Shannon Hassan, Marsal Lyon Literary. (June)