Review: Deborah Turrell Atkinson's third mystery featuring Storm Kayama, Fire Prayer, has the Honolulu lawyer honoring a favor and becoming involved with a murder that may be related to a 10-year-old fire that resulted in an unsolved homicide.
Much of the story takes place in a small town on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. The people there, mostly native Hawaiians, want to retain the character of their town: unpaved streets, no traffic lights, and no large condominiums. They have their traditions, their lore and history, which supports their beliefs. One of the strengths of Fire Prayer is in Atkinson's vivid descriptions of the island and its people. This beautifully written mystery isn't just set in Hawaii; Hawaii is an integral part of the mystery.
Storm and her partner Ian Hamlin travel to Molokai for different reasons: Ian to locate the missing son of a shipping executive, Storm to check up on Luke, a 12-year-old boy and the son of a high school friend who's now living with his ex-wife Jenny on the island. Soon after arriving, Storm and Ian ride horses along the beach and into the forests but they are forced to turn back after an accident dislocates Ian's shoulder. Upon their return, they find Jenny has been murdered, her son Luke finding the body. Luke himself soon disappears, apparently in hiding from his mother's killer. The police soon find another murder victim, the missing man Ian was hired to locate. Are these murders related? And if so, do they have anything to do with an unsolved murder from 10 years ago?
Though the primary plot in Fire Prayer is quite intriguing and the disparate pieces of the mystery puzzle all come together, it's a little disappointing that the subplot involving Luke wasn't expanded a bit more. Luke is a very appealing character that the reader greatly cares about yet in the end his story seems incomplete. But it is a minor disappointment; this is a fine mystery and is highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Fire Prayer.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Fire Prayer for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), September 2002
ISBN-13: 9781590580172; ISBN-10: 1590580176
Pleasing the Dead
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), February 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590585979; ISBN-10: 1590585976
Location(s) referenced in Fire Prayer: Molokai, Hawaii
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Fire Prayer by Deborah Turrrell Atkinson — A Storm Kayama Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $24.95