Bones of Hilo by Eric Redman (2021) Snapshot

Trouble in paradise

When Ralph Fortunato, an unpopular and controversial Mainland developer, is murdered with an ancient Hawaiian spear driven in a golf course, new detective Kawika Wong finds his chance to prove himself. 

I read Bones of Hilo as an audiobook produced by Dreamscape Media and narrated by Kurt Kanazawa. His narration was terrific. He kept a good pace, and I appreciate learning the pronunciation of words I did not know. It helped with the imagery, and it drew me in. I usually prefer two narrators or more, but Kurt brought it in, and I was satisfied with the way the story was told.

Bones of Hilo is a great thriller that feels fresh, compelling, and original. I have never read a book that had murders based on Hawaiian folklore. This book didn’t shy away from grittiness at times, and it didn’t try to sugarcoat acts of violence, prejudice, and racism that happen off-page. At the same time, Redman brought in a work of fiction that is fast-paced and filled with fleshed-out, multidimensional characters. I loved Kawika’s ARC. He is a half Chinese, half Hawaiian man who spent most of his life in the mainland. Even though his dad has never left the islands and Kawika is familiar with parts of the culture, there is a lot he doesn’t know. Being an outsider policeman in Hawaii means he has a lot to learn and a lot to prove. The author did a great job using his journey to organically explain concepts and parts of the culture to the reader that are relevant to the mystery.

The mystery itself was entertaining. To me, it felt like a cross between Law and Order Criminal Intent and Death in Paradise. The crime is gruesome, but the characters were so likable. There is an inviting lightness to them, especially Kawika, his parents, and girlfriends. 

I hope Redman continues to write because I would love to continue to follow Kawika in his Hawaiian journey.

Enjoyability     8

Characters       8

Ambience        8

Fairness          10

Plot             10    

Execution        8

My total rating: 4.33



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Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to NetGalley, Eric Redman, and Dreamscape Media for providing me with a copy of Bones of Hilo.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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