Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Treachery Times Two (By Robert McCaw)

A big thanks to the author, Robert McCaw, and Oceanview Publishing for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Treachery Times Two brings to the forefront one of the biggest ongoing arcs in the Koa Kāne series – Koa’s one mistake that made him who he is, but the revealing of which could take away everything that he’s earned. Does the book do the arc justice? Read on to find out.

Genre: 

Mystery

Length: 

361 pages

Blurb:

Numerous bodies are unearthed in an old, abandoned cemetery when a volcanic earthquake disrupts Hawai’i island. In them is the mutilated body of a woman, unrecognizable, and clearly buried only days ago. Chief Detective Koa Kāne’s investigation into the woman’s death leads him into the world of a politically connected defense contractor, an incredibly powerful and secret military weapon – Deimos, and an FBI espionage investigation. Forced to defy his Chief of Police in his search for justice for the victim, Kāne faces a new threat – that of his thirty-year-old secret being revealed. Years ago, Kāne had killed his father’s nemesis – the man who’d been responsible for Kāne’s father’s death – and covered up the murder. Now, the grandson of the dead man has arrived, and Koa is forced to investigate the homicide he had committed. Until another man is falsely accused of the murder. Can Koa stand by and watch an innocent man pay for his crime? Or will he accept his guilt before everyone, losing the chance to find justice for the mutilated, forgotten woman, and losing the woman he loves, the respect he’s earned, and everything he has ever held dear?

Overall Rating:

9 out of 10

Plot:

10 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

10 out of 10 for its mystery

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book No. 4 in the Koa Kāne series. The books are connected and are best read in order, but can be enjoyed as standalone-s too. Check out the review for Book No. 1, Death of a Messenger, here, and Book No. 3, Fire and Vengeance, here.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Even better than its prequels, Treachery Times Two brings everything you’ve come to love about the Koa Kāne series – mystery, culture, and characterization – and ups the ante.

What I Liked:

There were three things that I liked the most in Treachery Times Two:

  1. It’s got the perfect mix of culture and story, with neither outshining the other.
  2. It showcases Koa Kāne in his rawest, most human form – flawed yet morally strong.
  3. It has multiple storylines and brings them all together perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like:

There is nothing I can say I actively disliked in the book. I found it to be even better than the earlier books in the series (except for Book No. 2, which I am yet to read), and feel that it’s set the bar higher for the series.

Who Should Read It:

If you like mysteries, especially those that have multi-layered plots, you’ll definitely enjoy Treachery Times Two and other Koa Kāne books.

Who Should Avoid:

I don’t think anyone would really dislike this book, unless you absolutely do not enjoy mysteries.

Read It For:

Koa Kāne’s ultimate test – professional and personal. And the always-enthralling representation of Hawaiian culture.

Treachery Times Two releases in January 2022 – pre-order it from most online bookstores or Amazon.

Got questions or something to share about Robert McCaw’s Koa Kāne series or Treachery Times Two? Drop a comment below! And as always, thanks for stopping by The Book Review Station and reading this review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

A few drawbacks, but an interesting read: A Review of Death of a Messenger by Robert McCaw

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Death of a Messenger is not the first Robert McCaw book I’ve read, although it is the first in the Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery series. I had earlier read and reviewed Book #3 in the series – Fire and Vengeance. You can read its review here. The first two books were on my TBR, so I was quite excited when I received this book for a review. Read on to know more.

Genre: 

Mystery

Length:

352 pages 

Blurb:

Detective Koa Kāne is called in to investigate a murder when a body is discovered in a lava tube at Pohakuloa, the army’s live-fire training area. In his many years on the force, Koa has seen a lot of horrific sites, but the mutilated body with signs of a ritualistic killing is one of the worst. Koa is determined to find the person capable of such horror while forced to fight against an ineffective ME, hostility from both nativists and westerners, and personal demons born of his own past actions. With grave robbers, thieves, astronomers, and nativists falling into the suspect pool and everyone concerned to the case sharing more lies than truth, Koa needs to use every skill, intuition, and bit of experience to find out who the victim was, why he was murdered, and who is behind the heinous mutilation.

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

9 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its mystery

Writing Style:

5 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book #1 in the Koa Kāne series, followed by Off the Grid and Fire and Vengeance.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The depth of information regarding traditional Hawaiian practices and traditions. Like other books in the series, Death of a Messenger stays true to showcasing the various facets, past and present, of the region in which it is set.

What I Liked:

Death of a Messenger is a classic whodunnit. Or, as Captain Holt of Brooklyn Nine-Nine says, a ‘who has done this’. A series of suspects, all of whom have motive, keeps the story moving and the reader, guessing.

What I Didn’t Like:

Maybe it’s because this is the first book in the series, but I noticed that it had a lot of “tell, not show” instead of it being vice versa. There were random mentions of back stories when, instead, the point being overly-repeated could have simply been shown in character development after a couple of mentions. I found the writing style in those segments really strange and off-putting, and think the story could have done a lot better without the excessive repetition. (Much like this paragraph, you may be thinking!)

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who likes mystery, learning about new places (Death of a Messenger does not stray far from reality in setting and history), and suspense will enjoy this Koa Kāne story. In spite of its few shortcomings, it is an interesting read.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone uncomfortable with gore or violence – while not over the top, there is some violence in Death of a Messenger that can be a bit too graphic for those who are uncomfortable with it.

Read It For:

Koa Kāne. The leading character in the series is a relatable, likable, and kind-hearted person, with enough shades of gray to make you want to follow his story.

Want to share something about the Koa Kāne series or my review? Leave a comment below 🙂

Coming up next is a review of The Alienist (the book, not the TV show). Stay tuned to find out if the historical suspense fiction meets expectations. And, as always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this review.

Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Some highs, some lows, but a hit overall: A Review of Fire and Vengeance by Robert McCaw

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of Fire and Vengeance by Robert McCaw. It was an interesting read, which had its highs and lows. Read on to know more!

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

336 pages

Blurb:

A volcanic vent erupts in the town of Hilo, Hawai’i, killing children and teachers when it causes the explosion of the school that was built on the mountain. The chief architect and contractor of the school are murdered within hours of the event. Chief Detective Koa Kane is called in to investigate whether the explosion and deaths were the result of natural calamity or intentional negligence. As the case heats up, Koa receives news that his estranged and imprisoned brother collapsed in prison and has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Chief Detective Koa Kane’s personal and professional lives clash when he’s forced into attempting a risky plan to free his brother. His principles are compromised even as he begins to unravel the mystery behind the explosion, a mystery that goes back forty years. Can Koa save his brother and still pursue justice for the murder of innocent children? Or will his own demons bring about his downfall?

Overall Rating:

6 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its mystery

Writing Style:

6 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book 3 of the Koa Kane series. While I don’t know if it held spoilers for Books 1 and 2, I can say without a doubt that it was perfect as a standalone too. Book 1 in the series is titled Death of a Messenger and Book 2 is Off the GridBoth sound interesting and might make for great mystery reads.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Koa Kane himself. As a man who continues to deal with demons, personal and professional, that show him the worst of the world, he still fights to do what is right. Sometimes forced into feeling hopeless for his desire to remain ethical and moral in a world where those very qualities are taken advantage of, Koa comes across as a likable character that you can easily associate with and want to root for. That made every defeat and victory he faced personal to the reader.

What I Liked:

The book took some really unexpected turns, turning a story that could have been very one-dimensional into a much more intricate, woven tale of mystery and suspense.

The Hawaiian culture references were really interesting too. Not only did it set the stage for the story to unfold, but also added a lot of depth to the characters, what drives them, and how those nuances influence their reactions and actions.

What I Didn’t Like:

On multiple occasions, I found myself a little confused with the characters. There were a lot of them, and many shared similar names or were simply called by different names at various points, that made it a little tough to follow who was who.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who is interested in a good suspense and those who like to explore other cultures. Fire and Vengeance has a good helping of both.

Who Should Avoid:

I don’t think anyone would actively dislike Fire and Vengeance, unless of course, you absolutely hate msytery and suspense novels.

Read It For:

The Hawaiian culture references, a complex and very real protagonist, and an intricate plotline.

Fire and Vengeance by Robert McCaw released on 26 May 2020. You can get a copy on Amazon here. While I wouldn’t say that the book turned McCaw into an author I’d diligently follow, I will definitely be reading more of his work, given the chance, probably starting with Off the Grid.

Got something you’d like to share about Robert McCaw’s work, Fire and Vengeance, or some beloved thrillers and mysteries? Drop a comment below!

As always, thanks for dropping by and taking the time out to read this review.

– Rishika