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Fiction Books Set in Hawaii

Fiction Books Set in Hawaii – Murder at Volcano House

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Murder at Volcano House: A Surfing Detective Mystery
by Chip Hughes

Where to buy: Amazon
Price: $14.95

This is only the second book I have reviewed, on this blog, and it’s by the same author…Chip Hughes. The other book, in the surfing detective series, is “Kula”. This book “Murder at Volcano House” takes private investigator Kai Cook to the Big Island, specifically to Volcanoes National Park.

As a favor to attorney friend Tommy Woo (a man of many lawyer jokes), Kai agrees to protect the former CEO of a Geothermal company returning to the Big Island to attend the funeral of a former employee. Decades ago, Rex Ransom drilled in the Sacred lands of volcano god Pele causing much controversy and protest.

Ransom’s wife, Donnie, believes that her husband is a target since two former employees have died mysteriously at the hands of Pele…or did they? Kai believes the threat comes from a human source but is shocked when he sees a young woman in a red dress (a common Pele guise) shortly before Ransom is found dead at the bottom of a steam vent.

Who dunnit? Pele herself? There are plenty of human suspects…Ransom’s ex-wife, Ransom’s bitter former partner, a protester who attacked Ransom in the past, an escaped mental patient who fancies herself as Pele’s younger sister Hi’iaka.

Follow Kai as he travels from Oahu to Hawaii Island to Kauai. There’s also a side case he is working on involving a fatal crash on the Pali Highway. Kai also tries to help a girl, at the lei shop below his office, who is being terrorized by an ex-boyfriend.

Even with all the action, the surfing detective needs to catch some waves. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never been to the islands or have lived in Hawaii all your life, Chip Huges does a masterful job of expressing the island vibe whether it’s China Town, Volcanoes National Park (visited myself this year!) or Hanalei.

About the Author
Chip Hughes began surfing, in San Diego, during the late 60’s. In 1981, he earned a Ph.D., in English, from the University of Indiana. Hughes taught at the University of Hawaii for nearly 30 years before becoming a full time writer.

The surfing detective mystery series began in 2004 with “Murder in Moloka’i” (I read it!) followed by “Wipeout!” in 2007 (I read it!). “Murder at Volcano House” is the fourth book in the series of six planned volumes.

Fiction Books Set in Hawaii – Kula: A Surfing Detective Mystery

Kula

Kula: A Surfing Dective Mystery
by Chip Hughes

I have started another category called “Fiction Books Set in Hawaii”. I will be reviewing some of my favorite novels with a Hawaii setting. Most of the authors are from Hawaii, live in Hawaii or have lived in Hawaii.

This book is a great beach (or pool) read and also for dog lovers. The descriptions of the various locales visited, during Kai’s investigation, are both vivid and accurate (yes I live on the islands).

Where to buy: Amazon
Price: $13.46

There are likeable characters in Tommy Woo (an attorney who would rather be a jazz musician), Miss Fujiyama (Kai’s landlord who runs a lei shop downstairs) and Maile Barnes (a pet detective whom Kai had a crush on in high school).

So…if you love Hawaii, surfing and dogs, this book is for you!

The Story

Kai Cook is a private detective who also happens to surf. Surfing, for Kai, is a time for relaxation and also a chance to examine his cases from a different perspective.

Things are a little slow, for the surfing detective, but he catches a break (pun intended) when Barry Buckingham calls him up. Buckingham has a popular radio show and is also a big time gold dealer.

Kai thinks the case will involve Buckingham’s missing wife but he is sadly disappointed. Kai is instead hired to find the lost family dog, Kula, who also happens to surf.

A shady character, who Kai meets in Waimanalo for information on the missing dog, ends up dead with the surfing detective as the prime suspect. Now Kai must hurry to solve the case and clear his name.

Kai’s case takes him from Kailua Beach, on Oahu, to the Big Island and finally to Maui. With the help of Maile Barnes, a pet detective and ex-K9 cop, can Kai track down the famous surfing dog?

surfing-dog

About the Author

Chip Hughes began surfing, in San Diego, during the late 60’s. In 1981, he earned a Ph.D., in English, from the University of Indiana. Hughes taught at the University of Hawaii for nearly 30 years before becoming a full time writer.

The surfing detective mystery series began in 2004 with “Murder in Moloka’i” (which I also read many years ago). Kula is the third book in the series of six planned volumes.

My favorite quote from Kai Cook:
“Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. I have my surfboard!”

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