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review 2016-11-29 00:39
Children of Noah (Mahu #9)
Children of Noah (Mahu Series Book 9) - Neil Plakcy

Oh, but this one was fun. It's the most domestic of the books in this series so far, and it's great to see Kimo taking on the dad role when he was so hesitant about having kids in the previous books. He and Mike are great foster dads to Dakota, and while we didn't get much time with the baby twins, what we did get was fun. And for once, it made sense that these two guys wouldn't really know what to do with babies, not having any previous experience. I really enjoyed getting to see more of their day to day lives than we normally get.

 

The mystery here was as well done as in previous books, though religious fanatics and cults are things I don't care to read about, so I didn't really connect with it. This is Kimo and Ray's first assignment with the joint task force with the FBI, and about the only difference so far is they have a wider jurisdiction and get to assign the grunt work to someone else. :D They still have plenty to do here, and they're not quite as out of the action as Kimo's family had hoped. I really loved how supportive Mike was of Kimo. He can be worried and protective without being possessive and smothering, just as Kimo has to be of Mike's job investigating fires.

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review 2016-11-23 03:19
Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigation (Mahu #8)
Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations - Neil Plakcy

This is another volume of short stories, set in the time just before "Mahu Vice" to just after "Natural Predators". The cases are simpler and wrapped up more easily, so we get to see a greater variety of what Kimo and Ray get to do on a day-to-day basis. I thought the cases here were more mundane than in the first collection (with the exception of one that is just icky). I would say that while they're enjoyable enough, they're also easily skippable if you're only interested in the longer novels.

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review 2016-11-11 02:30
Natural Predators (Mahu #7)
Natural Predators - Neil Plakcy

This is another great installment in this series. I'm really enjoying seeing Kimo and Mike's relationship develop and grow stronger. They can have disagreements now without them becoming big fights, and they've learned from previous disagreements. They're also thinking about making that next step in expanding their family. And even Gunter gets to have some development in his character and the direction of his life, so it was fun to see how they're all growing up. There's even a possible job change for Kimo and Ray, whose partnership continues to be strong. (Oh, and apparently all that stuff Kimo was trying to keep from Sampson in Mahu Vice is now common knowledge. Not sure when that came to light, if this is a between-books development or an inconsistency. The way this series is written I can handwave it as a between-books thing.)

 

This book was stronger on the character development than it was on mystery. Not that the mystery wasn't layered and complex, because it was. But I would've thought that Kimo and Ray would've at least suspected the perp more than they did, and it certainly took them a little too long to connect all the dots.

 

There's also a short story at the end of this book that makes me wonder if Plakcy has ever been in

a maternity ward

(spoiler show)

at all. That was all just strangely paced and felt a little too quickly resolved and too neatly done, but for a short story, it served another purpose that worked pretty well, so I'm split on this one.

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review 2016-08-28 21:03
Mahu Blood (Mahu #5)
Mahu Blood - Neil Plakcy

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:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/13-native-american-issues_us_55b7d801e4b0074ba5a6869c

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.

(spoiler show)
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review 2016-08-22 11:25
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell - Paul Kane
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell - Barbie Wilde,Paul Kane

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

 

Holmes and Watson take on the mystery of several missing people, all the cases are linked and point to a group called the 'Order of the Gash'. Watson is sent to an asylum in France to find out more about the order whilst Holmes puts himself in increasing danger exploring Londons underworld for clues as to where the missing people have gone. He becomes obsessed with solving the puzzle box and like those before him soon wishes he hadn't when faced with what it summons.

The author brings together the Hellraiser universe of Clive Barker and Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and does so very well. Although set in 1895, Kane manages to date the Hellraiser details authentically, blending characters and plot lines in seamlessly to victorian London.

The first 3/4 of the book worked best for me, the lead up to the confrontation with the cenobites flowed well with plenty of references from both worlds,making it a lot of fun to read. Holmes and Watson were given separate POV which kept the storyline fresh and ensured that both characters were well developed and that Holmes didn't dominate the story too much.

The last quarter wasn't quite as enjoyable and to be honest I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that Pinhead wasn't part of the cenobite group. I also thought that some of the details in the last part were too conveniently worked out although the end wasn't in any way what I expected.

Great premise that worked out really well but perhaps fell slightly short of my expectations towards the end.

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