A MelanieM Review: Ghost Ship (Mahu #10) by Neil S. Plakcy


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

ghost-shipNew fathers investigate the death of a young family.

When a sailboat carrying four bodies washes up on the Leeward Coast of O’ahu, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka, on loan to the FBI, must discover what sent this young family and their deadly cargo on a dangerous trans-Pacific voyage. Leaving behind his partner and their infant twins, Kimo must work with his police cohort Ray Donne to unravel the forces that led this family to their deaths.

From Hawaii’s sunny beaches to a chilly island in Japan to the Pacific Northwest, Kimo and Ray step far out of their comfort zones to confront an evil much greater than any they’ve investigated before.

I have been such a fan of this series and author and that continues with Ghost Ship.  Over the series of nine novels, readers have watched Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka be outed to his family and the HPD, come to terms with that,  meet and date, lose and reunite with Mike, his now life partner.  They’ve fathered twins with their friends a lesbian couple they’re co parenting with, and have a foster son now attending college.  Its been a long and tumultuous ride that eventually saw Kimo and Ray leaving the Honolulu PD for temporary assignment with the FBI.  That’s where we find them now on a  life changing case for both Kimo, his family and Ray, his work partner and friend.

This is one of the worst cases in all the series, a sailboat washes ashore with a dead family on board, father, mother and twin babies.  It immediately hits home for Kimo and Mike with their twins but the emotional impact carries over to the reader through the descriptions and later in the captains diary the father kept.  Its heartbreaking and you quickly understand the drive to solve this case and the web of intrigue behind the cargo and deaths.

Plakcy has woven one of the most involved and layered cases of the series here.  Its threads go from Hawaii to Japan to mainland US and back again and those travels will stretch thin the ties that bind  Kimo to Mike and his family just when they need him the most and  Kimo is aware of it.  The same will go for Ray.  Its the job versus family again and never has it been made more painful or obvious that a choice will have to be made, then here in this story.  Parts of Kimo’s carefully crafted life are falling to pieces and yet he still must pursue this case with Ray because of the deadly consequences if he doesn’t.   Ray also is having similar issues within his own family.  Two men torn by job obligations and family love and loyalty on the most important case of their lives.

This is a thrilling read, and a heartbreaking one.   Plakcy doesn’t deliver all the answers to all the issues and problems he raised here.  And I think that’s about right.  For somethings there aren’t any.  For some personal ones, there are only more questions and things to work out.  That’s what book 11 is for.  Kimo and Mike and family are still on a journey.  I hope Kimo does decide to return to the Honolulu PD, even with all the problems that entails. Its where the series and Kimo started.  And if its winding down, that where he should end up.

If you haven’t found this series yet,  please don’t start here.  You’ve such a treat in store for you.  Run, don’t walk to the beginning Mahu (Mahu #1) and meet Kimo and see how it all starts.  Plakcy is a master of the vernacular, you’ll get a feel for the island culture and people.  Trust me you’ll be addicted in no time.  Then you’ll have so many wonderful books ahead of you.

If you are already a fan like me, then settle in for a wonderful read.  I highly recommend it.


Cover art is amazing and works perfectly for the novel and series.

Sales Links

MLR Press





Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published September 30th 2016 by MLR Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMahu #10

A MelanieM Review: Children of Noah (Mahu #9) by Neil S. Plakcy


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Children of Noah coverA few months after the birth of his twins, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka and begins a temporary assignment to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kimo and his HPD partner Ray Donne are quickly thrown into an investigation into threatening letters sent to a U.S. Senator. Are these screeds about racial purity related to an escalating series of attacks against mixed-race couples and families on Oahu?

When arson at a day care center on the Windward Coast brings Kimo’s partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, into the case, Kimo worries about the future of his and Mike’s newborn twins on an island falling prey to hate and a cult leader bent on death and destruction.

I fell under the spell of Neil S. Plakcy and his Hawaiian detective Kimo Kanapa’aka in the very first book, Mahu, hawaiian for gay.  There a very complicated and closeted young Kimo, trying to deal with his sexuality, was outed during a horrific murder case.  Its ramifications on his career, family relationships and private life would reverberate through the following stories.  Plakcy’s ability to bring not only Kimo to life but his multicultural family history and the vibrant racial mixing pot that is Hawaii to life is amazing.  From the variety of languages spoken, the nuances of levels of Hawaiian race in your background, even the language designations for north, south, east and west are different.  Yet, here they flow off the tongues of the characters with the ease of native speakers,   Very few authors have the ability to use local colloquialisms and dialects to hone their characters personas and locations the way Plakcy does and by the ninth book, its usage is so subtle and well woven into the narrative, I hardly notice any more.

Kimo and Mike have come a long with in their partnership.  Now the coparents of twins along with a lesbian couple, Kimo takes on a case that hits at the heart of his family’s safety.  Both Mike and Kimo have families from mixed racial background, and their sons parentage is equally so when their mothers backgrounds are included as well.  When each man handles a case with similar clues, all leads start to point towards a cult bent on the worship of racial  purity.

I loved this book for so many reasons, none  of which really had anything to do with the mystery.  Kimo’s parents which have figured largely in all the stories are now frail, older figures here, especially Kimo’s dad.  Their relationship, always so strong, sees a change in position here that is so realistic and painful.  Mike’s parents, once so against the relationship, now move forward into new positive roles.  So much is changing within the family  structures for them both, including that of their foster son.  Here all the relationships strain against their bonds and come back for support once more.  Its all so remarkable in its human dynamics and believable interchanges.  Sometimes angst-filled, often humorous, it will be so easy for all the readers to relate to the relationships in flux here, whether it be brother and brother, father and son, or new fathers and new babies.  This is what made this book for me.  Its all about the changes in life that we all go through.

And its even starts at the beginning with Kimo leaving the Honolulu P.D. to join FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force along with his partner.  New beginnings even at the job level.  But that brings us to the murders and the mystery.

That was my least favorite part of the story.  I figured out early on who the murderer was and where the problem was occurring.  The author all but had a giant arrow pointing the way.  That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of scenes where the suspense was high, because that happened.  There was danger, and angst enough to go around, just not the usual amount of guessing I expect from this author.

However, Plakcy’s style of writing moves the story along so quickly towards the end that your mind is consumed with the safety of the main characters and the capture of the culprits.  And so much more.  I want more books.  I want to know how Dakota is doing with his new boyfriend, how Kimo’s dad’s doing, and the family in general.  They got into my heart, every single one of them.  If you give them a chance, they will get into yours too.  But why start here?   This is a fantastic series.  Go to the beginning Mahu and read your way through until you arrive here.  With each book it just gets better and better.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art is nice but I sort of miss that primitive art work of the original covers.

Sales Links:  MLR Press |  All Romance (ARe)  | Amazon  | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 231 pages
Published August 9th 2015 by MLR Press