Kimo Kanapa’aka’s world turns upside down in MAHU. At 32, the hero of Māhū has reached the pinnacle of his profession, detective on the Honolulu Police Department’s homicide squad, based at the Waikīkī station. But a difficult murder case, as well as turmoil in his personal life, is about to threaten everything he has worked for.
A life-threatening drug bust in chapter 1 makes Kimo realize that it’s time to stop lying to himself. He’s drawn to the Rod and Reel Club, a gay bar in Waikīkī, where he has a couple of beers and begins the long process of accepting his attraction to other men. Leaving the club, though, he stumbles onto two men dropping a dead body in an alley, and he launches himself into a nightmare where his private life becomes public news.
Kimo’s pursuit of this case takes him from the seamy underside of Chinatown to the elegance of million-dollar homes in Maunalani Heights, from gay bars where young men stride naked down runways to bloody crime scenes.
From Neil’s site.
This was defnitely a different read for me, not an ebook and not strictly a romance, but I could not resist picking it up. Surfing, cops and a mystery were a rather huge temptation and I am certainly glad I did.
Kimo was an incredibly engaging character. It was not that he leapt off the page but rather quietly shared his story with honesty, feeling and flaws. I can only imagine the struggle a man in his position and occupation would go through coming to terms with his sexuality and also the public nature of this disclosure to his family and colleagues. But Kimo, even when he is low, had this very strong sense of self and with it a quiet confidence. He is sharp, intelligent and has an honorable feel about him that I found very readable. He’s also sexy as hell and this doesn’t hurt either!
The relationships Kimo has with his family were well drawn and the dynamics that are played out in the book are a huge part of what made this so enjoyable. I am quite sure if I had a problem with a sister we’d sit down and discuss it but not Kimo and his brother. There is a scene about half way through, a scuffle, that had me laughing, rolling my eyes and thinking – boys! Even his relationship with his mum and dad was something quite special.
I loved the setting of Hawaii and the descriptions were evocative, drew me in and made me wish I was there. In one part of the book Kimo gets up early one morning to surf after a hard night, ‘… it’s like you can imagine some god pulling back the night revealing the day for you.‘ Big, beautiful sky and sea. My bags were packed! The island feel of the book was appealing due to living in a pacific country myself. I think I have said before that most books I read are set in the continental US and while Hawaii is a state it still feels like somewhere closer to home and I could identify with some of the cultural references. I also found some of the history that slips into the story fascinating.
This was such an enjoyable read and there are two more books in the series with another coming in 2009. I was also interested to see that there are some Kimo-rotica in several anthologies which you check out at Neil’s website. The version of Mahu I read is now out of print but is being re released in March of 2009 by Alyson Books. It has a gorgeous new cover to match later releases in the series. Go to the Mahu website for more information on all titles and Amazon or B & N to purchase.
Definitely a book for the summer and I cannot wait to read more about Kimo Kanapa’aka. Fingers crossed my lovely bookstore in the city has book 2!