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by Deborah Turrell Atkinson
Poisoned Pen Press, February 2009
296 pages
ISBN: 1590585976

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Storm Kayama, a lawyer of Hawaiian descent now living and working in California, has been referred by a friend to a young woman who wants to start an aquatic adventure business on Maui. When Storm arrives she is expecting to stay only for the weekend, just long enough to gather the necessary information to set up the corporation. She has just reached a new level of emotional intimacy with Hamlin, her boyfriend, and doesn’t want to be away from him. However, each person Storm interviews gives rise to more questions than are answered and she begins to get dire warnings to leave the island immediately. Not wanting to abandon her client, Storm follows her instincts and pushes to find who is warning her off. With each step she finds herself deeper in the middle of Japanese organized crime where she tries hard to save the lives of several women who have been exploited and are being threatened with death. Storm finds she may have pushed too far when she too faces death with no apparent way out.

The underlying story is a tragic one, and terribly real. It tells of what really happens to the children whose parents have sent them off to strangers who have promised them good jobs, but who actually turn the children into prostitutes and slaves. Against this backdrop the story could have been a nail biter. Instead, there were attempts at mystery and intrigue that simply never ended up as more than minor distraction. Unfortunately too, the characters were not sufficiently developed so they ended up making the story somewhat confusing. And lastly, the ambiance of Hawaii just wasn’t there. As written, it could just as easily have been Florida, California, or any coastline. Too bad, especially since the author lives in Hawaii.

I have thoroughly enjoyed previous novels by Ms Atkinson and look forward to ones in the future.

Reviewed by Ginger K.W. Stratton, November 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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