Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mahu Vice: Book Review and Contest for DATW Tour

A warm Aloha to those joining me for the Detectives Around The World tour. When Jen's Book Thoughts announced the event, I jumped at the opportunity to write about my favorite Hawaii homicide detective, Kimo Kanapa'aka.

Kimo is a regular guy who happens to be gay. His character defies the stereotypes many have of gay men. Kimo can throw a punch and take one too. He lives his life openly on the police force and wants to be known as good cop rather than a good "gay" officer.

There are four books in the Mahu series and all are set on the island of Oahu. They offer not only a compelling mystery but also capture the culture of the islands and the lifestyle I love so well. Some day I hope Kimo "island hops" over to Kauai where I live to solve a crime.
"Mahu is a Hawaiian word for gay, often used in a derogatory way, but I've reclaimed it," writes author Neil Plakcy. "In my stories and novels, readers meet strong, handsome, confident gay men who embrace their sexuality."
Free Book To A Lucky Winner: Enter Here and complete the on-line form for a chance to win a new copy of the Mahu book of your choice. Choose either Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire or Mahu Vice. Winner will be announced on April 25. If you live outside the USA or Canada, you must have your own book review site to enter.

Mahu Vice Book Review: Kimo is taking risks with multiple partners after his break-up with fire inspector (and closeted) Mike Riccardi. Both men have hurt each other but there is still fire between them. It takes an arson and murder of a young Chinese man to reunite these men professionally. Will they be able to solve the crime that may threaten Kimo's career? There's still a lot of tension and heat between these two men that must be worked out on the side. 

Plakcy skillfully creates a realistic who-done-it with action and romance. I wasn't sure what I wanted more; to solve the mystery or to see if these two men worked things out in bed. As with each Mahu mystery, Plakcy doesn't disappoint and delivers a page turner under the hot Hawaiian sun with local cultural and surf added. It's a great escape to Hawaii.

Rob's Rating: 5/5 and I can't wait for the next book.

Meet Author Neil Plakcy: Assistant Professor of English at Broward College in South Florida. Neil is a member of Sisters in Crime, vice president of the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and a contributor to gay anthologies. His Mahu Fire won the Hawaii Five-O award for best police procedural, presented by Left Coast Crime, and was a finalist for the 2008 Lambda Literary Award for best gay mystery.

Author's Website: Mahu Books. Neil is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Location, Location! Jen asked us to include something about the book's setting. In Mahu Vice, Kimo finds his mom demonstrating for Native Hawaiian rights. There's a lot of history on this subject that many don't know about. Honolulu is home to the only Royal Palace in the United States. It's named Iolani and is a must see when you're in the islands. The monarchy was overthrown by the United States in 1893 and the Queen imprisoned in the palace. President Clinton issued a formal apology to the Native Hawaiian people on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow. Native Hawaiian rights remain a sensitive and important issue in the islands (and may play a role in the next Mahu book scheduled for release later in 2010).

This post also qualifies for the 2010 GLBT Reading Challenge.
FTC Note: I purchased by copy of Mahu Vice at Borders in Lihue, Kauai.
Mahu Vice by Neil Plakcy, Alyson Books, Copyright 2009, 279 pages, ISBN 978-1-59350-111-0.


  1. Oh no! This is a must-read series for me. I lived and worked in Oahu for two summers when I was in graduate school (at the Bishop Museum doing research). I would love to revisit the island mystery style!

  2. This sounds like a good series. Must check it out. Thanks.

  3. Rob, what a great summation of Neil's Kimo! I'm so glad you represented both him and Hawaii in the theme week! You have definitely enriched our selection. Also thank you for hosting the giveaway.

    Thrilled to have "met" you through the project and honored to have worked with you! Thank you!

  4. Thanks so much for the nice review! I'm always glad to hear that people have enjoyed reading about Kimo.

  5. I don't believe I have ever read any books featuring a Hawaiian detective before. That sounds great. I entered the giveaway.

  6. Beth: That's interesting you worked at the Bishop Museum. We're members and go there often. The renovated Hawaiian Hall is something to see!

    Neil: I'm honored to have the man behind Kimo stop by. Thanks!

    Jen: It's great meeting you too. I'm glad I could participate. Thanks for all the work you did in making Detective Week happen.

    Heather and Nancy: Good luck with the contest and thanks for entering.

    Aloha from Rob
    @Books Are Like Candy Corn


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