Saturday, February 24, 2024

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Molten Death, by Leslie Karst {ends 3/1}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Valerie’s sleep was even more fitful than usual that night. Visions of bomb blasts and dark groves of gnarled trees had invaded her dreams – images that refused to dissipate as morning approached, instead stubbornly persisting through each succeeding sleep cycle.

By five o’clock when Kristen shook her shoulder, she’d finally fallen into a deep slumber, and it took her a few moments to return to consciousness.

‘Rise and shine, toots!’ Kristen exclaimed in a voice far too cheery for the hour. ‘No complaining, now. Remember, it was you who wanted to go on this fishing expedition.’

She was right, in more ways than one – though Valerie wasn’t about to mention everything she planned to fish for today. In fact, the primary reason she’d been so eager to join Jordan was indeed for the purpose of a metaphorical fishing expedition: she was hoping to pump the local Puna gal for locals-only information that might help her investigation.

When no one completely believes that Valerie says she saw a body in the lava, she decides she has to prove that she isn’t losing her mind, and find out whose body it was and how it ended up there.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Molten Death, by Leslie Karst {ends 3/1}
The first Orchid Isle cozy mystery, set in tropical Hilo, Hawai'i, introduces a fun and feisty LGBTQ+ couple who swap surfing lessons for sleuthing sessions!

Retired caterer Valerie Corbin and her wife Kristen have come to the Big Island of Hawai'i to treat themselves to a well-earned tropical vacation. After the recent loss of her brother, Valerie is in sore need of a distraction from her troubles and is looking forward to enjoying the delicious food and vibrant culture the state has to offer.

Early one morning, the couple and their friend—tattooed local boy, Isaac—set out to see an active lava flow, and Valerie is mesmerized by the shape-shifting mass of orange and red creeping over the field of black rock. Spying a boot in the distance, she strides off alone, pondering how it could have gotten there, only to realize to her horror that the boot is still attached to a leg - a leg which is slowly being engulfed by the hot lava.

Valerie's convinced a murder has been committed - but as she's the only witness to the now-vanished corpse, who's going to believe her?

Determined to prove what she saw, and get justice for the unknown victim, Valerie launches her own investigation. But, thrown into a Hawaiian culture far from the luaus and tiki bars of glossy tourist magazines, she soon begins to fear she may be the next one to end up entombed in shiny black rock...

What a fun cozy mystery—with more to come! This first book in the Orchid Isle Mystery series introduces Valerie and Kristen on their vacation to Hawai’i. They’re staying with a friend Kristen previously met near their home in California, but Valerie is the sort who meets more local people quickly through her love of food and then her secret investigation.

The beautiful setting of the city where they’re staying and nearby surfing and fishing spots they explore during day trips made the book enjoyable and informational about day to day life in such a gorgeous yet volatile setting. As the title suggests, lava is a powerful force demanding respect.

Following Valerie’s restaurant background with her deceased brother, the book also provided authentic Hawai’ian recipes for the meals mentioned as part of the story, and a glossary of some Hawai’ian words and phrases used in character dialogue.

Overall, the story earned 3 out of 5 stars, and more cozy mysteries to follow are sure to be as pleasant. This series could be confidently recommended to those who enjoy cozy mysteries, unique characters in a dream vacation setting, and stories taking place in Hawai’i.

{click here to purchase via Amazon Affiliate link}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mother, and reader who also enjoys the theatre and posting her adventures on Instagram as SweetlyBSquared.


Enter to win a copy of Molten Death (An Orchid Isle Mystery)!

Giveaway will end on Saturday, March 1st, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be contacted via email and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Molten Death, by Leslie Karst


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