Title: Children of Noah (Mahu #9)
Author Name & Publisher: Neil S. Plakcy (MLR Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 9, 2015 – 231 pgs
A 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 loved this so much! This is one of the best crime fiction stories I’ve read in a long time. I’ve finally found a series with a gay protagonist that rivals the best of mainstream bestsellers. I know I’m a little late to the party starting on book 9, but this was absolutely brilliant.
Kimo is a fabulous lead character. I can’t think of a more complex or engaging character in any series I’ve read recently. Plakcy has managed to sustain a fascinating character over nine books without the detective descending into the alcohol fuelled self-destruction so familiar in the genre. Instead of wallowing like Harry Hole or Wallander, Kimo is a foster parent, a partner, a son and he is soon to be a father. His partnerships are solid, both with Ray, his work partner and with Mike, his life partner.
It is the story that gives readers a thrill. Complex, layered and compelling, Plakcy paces his tale perfectly. Readers are given just enough help to follow Kimo and Ray’s investigation, but never enough to ruin the suspense. I kept making links to other series in my head. The storyline reminded me of True Detective – a beautifully written series, but Kimo and Ray are such better characters!
And Hawaii! Kimo’s island is beautiful, complicated and completely unique. I love the colourful cast, the easy lifestyle and the blend of cultures.
I also love the ease with which Plakcy writes Kimo’s non-traditional personal life. This is not a story full of angst or homophobic government agencies. Kimo, Mike and Dalton are a family. Kimo and Mike are co-parenting with a lesbian couple. Their friends and family accept them unquestioningly. In a genre full of contrived conflict, Kimo’s relaxed modern life is absolutely refreshing.
Possibly my only gripe is with the cover. It looks really dated and doesn’t really suggest crime fiction. I would hate for anyone to shy away from such a wonderful book because of a dodgy cover.
A truly fabulous book!
I enjoyed this book well enough. It had some continuity issues throughout, but overall, it was well thought out and well written.
I usually have issues where racial purity is based on religion – it’s just a dangerous topic to write about. However, Plakcy does a pretty good job. The mystery is well planned and never gives you more than just a taste so that it is not spoiled half way through the story.
I was somewhat confused with the female character in this story – was she pregnant with her own kids or was she pregnant with Kimo’s kids? When I am referring to the continuity issue, this is just one example where I was confused.
Overall though, I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this story.
His M/M romance novels are GayLife.com, Mi Amor, and the Have Body, Will Guard series: Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, Dancing with the Tide, Teach Me Tonight, Olives for the Stranger and The Noblest Vengeance.
He has also written the golden retriever mysteries In Dog We Trust, The Kingdom of Dog, Dog Helps Those, Dog Bless You and Whom Dog Hath Joined.
He is co-editor of Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog (Alyson Books, 2006) and editor of many gay erotica anthologies. A journalist, book reviewer and college professor, he is also a frequent contributor to gay anthologies.