TW: ableist language (All books have this unfortunately, but I'm mentioning it here because it's more excessive than usual and is directed towards characters who are mentally impaired.)
In the fifth book of the Mahu series, Kimo's dick does NOT get him into trouble. Looks like our boy is learning from past mistakes and growing up. But he can still have fun. :D
I continue to enjoy this series and this is the best one yet. The mystery is complex and has many layers, and as each one is peeled back, we just get more and more questions and more and more dead ends. I could feel Kimo's and Ray's frustrations as their case kept stalling. The whodunit was obvious, but getting proof of any kind, much less the kind that would hold up in court, was another matter. Seeing them continue to chip away at the mountain of tangled webs to get their guy (or in this case guys), knowing they were running out of time before their case went cold and their perp fled the country was nerve-wracking.
I also enjoyed learning more about the annexation of Hawaii and the various movements to bring back Hawaii's sovereignty, and we also get a glimpse about how native Hawaiians are treated by the American government. Spoiler alert: not very well. It's really not much better than how the federal government treats Native Americans, and I just happened to have been pointed to an article about this written in the Huffington Post while discussing the Gives Light series by Rose Christo (which I highly recommend). It's a good article and can be read here:
I'm by no means well-read on any of these issues, so I can't attest to how well Plakcy researched or portrayed this, but it is consistent with what I do know of Native American issues.
Once again, Kimo's family somehow ends up involved one way or another. I guess on a small island like this, and his parents being so high up the social ladder, that's just something to expect. It does still feel like a bit of a cheat, but in this case, it brought about such a great set of scenes between Kimo and his eldest brother Lui - who I've only been lukewarm about up to this point - that I can forgive it in this case. Lui feels much more human and less bureaucratic/monopolizing android here than in previous books. It was great to see how much this family cares for each other, even when they don't always understand each other.
As for Kimo and Mike, they're still working out their relationship issues. Since neither have been in a long-term relationship before, and Mike is only quasi-out of the closet at work, it hasn't been easy and moving in together doesn't exactly quick-fix things like Kimo hoped it would. We don't get as much time with these two as in the previous couple of books, but what we do get is hopeful and encouraging, even when they're pissing each other off. It felt like something real couples would go through, less ass-oggling (though there is some of that, but it's not written as if it's the only thing keeping this relationship together like you often run into in m/m) and more "whose turn is it to walk the dog?" Oh, and they get a dog named Roby, and he's a little cutie. I'm betting it won't be long before Kimo has Roby on a surfboard.
There was one little throwaway scene that looked like it might be leading to something about halfway through, and it had me nervous the rest of the book. It ended up being nothing though, so I'm not sure why it was there. Red herring?
Kimo overhears some people at the beach talking about stealing back a dog. While it didn't seem like they could possibly be talking about Roby, I was afraid that Kimo would come home one day to find Roby missing.