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Fire Knife Dancing (Jungle Beat Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

John Enright
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
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Book Description

Samoan detective Apelu Soifua lives on the knife edge of two disparate cultures, navigating a perilous dance between native and new that, over the years, has landed him in his fair share of trouble. So when a routine patrol on a remote jungle estate uncovers an inter-island smuggling ring, it doesn’t take long for Apelu to realize there’s more than just cigarettes and bootleg CDs at stake. Someone in Apelu’s corner of paradise is trafficking humans—and they won’t think twice about setting up a cop to take the fall.

Now Apelu stands accused of murder, and his only shot at proving his innocence is to go AWOL from his job and his wife until he can unearth the truth. Hunted by the police, his only ally is a young American widow whom he quickly discovers is anything but what she seems. Apelu knows he’s playing with fire—but can he unmask a killer before he gets burned?



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Enright was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1945. After serving stints in semi-pro baseball and the Lackawanna steel mills, he earned his degree from City College while working full-time at Fortune, Time, and Newsweek magazines. He later completed a master’s degree in folklore at UC-Berkeley, before devoting the 1970s to the publishing industry in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. In 1981, he left the United States to teach at the American Samoa Community College and spent the next twenty-six years living on the islands of the South Pacific. Over the past four decades, his essays, articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in more than seventy books, anthologies, journals, periodicals, and online magazines. His collection of poems from Samoa, 14 Degrees South, won the University of the South Pacific Press’s inaugural International Literature Competition. Today, he and his wife, ceramicist Connie Payne, live in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

Product Details

  • File Size: 442 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612185010
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0095VLK68
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This series is hitting its stride April 20, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read and liked Pago Pago Tango and thought it was a promising start to a new series. In Fire Knife Dancing, the author seems to have settled in and, having gotten past the introductory book, started digging into the stories of Detective Sgt. Apelu Soifua and American Samoa.

In some ways, this book is much like Pago Pago Tango. Fire Knife Dancing is part Samoan cultural study, part mystery, with Apelu and his efforts to solve the crimes serving as the vehicle through which the culture is explored. But, Fire Knife Dancing is a better read because it steps up the pace. The story moves more quickly, cultural conflicts are explored more deeply, and Apelu is a more complex character than in Pago Pago Tango.

If you read and enjoyed Pago Pago Tango, you will like Fire Knife Dancing. If you have not read Pago Pago Tango, you don't need to read it first in order to enjoy Fire Knife Dancing, but both books are fairly quick reads and both are low-key mysteries set in an exotic locale populated by interesting characters. So, if this book sounds interesting to you, you might as well start with Pago Pago Tango, then read this one.

I hope there will be more books in this series because my first thought as I finished the last page was, "Detective Sgt. Apelu, you are *really* getting interesting."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second verse, not the same as the first March 25, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed "Pago Pago Tango", the first book in a series set in Samoa. "Fire Knife Dancing" is the second installment, and it doesn't disappoint. Our Columbo-style hero, Apelu, is a detective caught between two worlds. He spent many years in the U.S., including a career in the police force, then returned to his birthplace with family in tow, to take on a job with the Samoan police. Solving crime in a small, tightly-knit community is not the same as in a large urban city; odd factors come into play, like cultural influences, tribal histories going back generations, superstitions and modern religion. The setting is exotic, the language equally so - though the kind of slangy English is not authentic, as pointed out by a reviewer of the first book. Apelu's style is reminiscent of Columbo: polite, low-key but persistent. He's thoughtful and tenacious, and I find him very charming. I'm looking forward to further books in this series. It isn't necessary to read them in order, but with only two books so far, I do recommend it, just to get the full effect of the setting, customs and detecting style of Apelu. The plot involves human trafficking, but is incidental to the leisurely way Apelu roams the island and interacts with people (and dogs).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Samoan Crime Story April 11, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This second book in the "Jungle Beat" series returns to American Samoa for another crime story featuring Detective Sergeant Apelu, formerly of the San Francisco PD, now returned home. As in the first book, a fairly routine call at the beginning of the book ends with Apelu taking gunfire, setting the wheels of the story in motion. And the story shares some general similarities to Pago Pago Tango, as it features smuggling, foreigners, and several ladies who are interested in the married with kids Apelu. Again, the story is not particularly complicated, as far as mysteries go, and real fun comes from exploring the culture of modern American Samoa as it struggles to reconcile traditional systems and structures with the influences of the modern world. The territory's odd legal status is explained a bit further in this installment, as is its relationship to Western Samoa. On the whole it's another fun read for those who enjoy exotic settings.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Apelu July 27, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fire Knife Dancing (Jungle Beat Mystery)
John Enright
This is labeled under mystery, thriller and suspense.
Yes, there is a mystery but not much to thrill or cause suspense. It's more like laid back, slow going detective work.
This does take place in the Samoans and things are much less pressing there or the author portrays the location as such.
I much prefer more action detecting in a very timely manner. The first half of the book really just introduces the crime; smuggling.
It mostly discusses our detective, Apelu, eating, drinking, smoking and casually getting information about the would be crime.
I was kind of bored during the first half of the book but the second part picked up quite a bit and then wrapped up suddenly. I am not too fond
of the police work or lack thereof but I do find the island life and Apelu interesting so I may read another. If you like his first book, Pago Pago Tango, then you will like this book as well, it's practically set up the same way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Leisurely July 15, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On one hand this is a story about murder, smuggling and human trafficking. On the other it is about the loss of innocence of an island culture to the greed and corruption of the Western world. Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua has been to America, first as a fire dancer and then as a police officer in San Francisco. Back in Samoa, he finds himself settling into a routine life as a police officer with an unhappy, distant wife and four kids. All that changes when he is sent to speak with a retired entertainer accused of shooting at joggers. After the old man who knows Apelu inexplicably tries to kill him, Apelu realizes that there is more afoot. Indeed, he is soon drawn into a web of intrigue and introduced to a number of characters, including Asia, an American widow, who may not be who or what they seem. Apelu is wrongfully accused of murder. Determined to clear his name, he goes on the run, relying on his Western training as well as his Samoan heritage to cut through the layers of deceit.

This novel captures the beauty and ease of the island lifestyle. Apelu is likeable and perfectly provides cultural perspective. The tension between the western and island approaches is at times quite humorous. I liked the dogs, Nick and Nora and the role they played. However, the leisurely pace detracted from the suspense. There is so much culture, history and description (I did not read the first book featuring Apelu but did not feel confused.)that the mystery seemed secondary. If you like your novels slow and easy, this one is perfect. But if you want fast paced action and taut suspense, look elsewhere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good tropical mystery
Interesting to learn about Samoa but a bit too much on vocabulary. Could have used more sex :-) overall, a nice change.
Published 3 days ago by howie wine
2.0 out of 5 stars An okay read
I would not read this author's works again. I finished it simply to see the ending, but not a good read.
Published 6 days ago by I. Buck
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Surprise
Unlike his first book, the author seems to have awakened from a slumber and delivers a fast read. I couldn't wait to finish the other book and drudged through it, this one was... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Sandra Collins
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money on this book
Very uninteresting and boring. This was my second book from the Prime Lending Library. Both were a waste of time.
Published 17 days ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars A richly detailed immersion into crime in the South Pacific
The second novel in the Jungle Beat series shows a marked improvement in plot complexity, character interaction and world description over Pago Pago Tango. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Greg
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner! In The Extraordinary Underscored Stellar Jungle Beat...
There are five detectives I follow: Inspector Salvo Montalbano in Sicily(Andrea Camilleri), Private Detective Vincent Calvino in Bangkok(Christopher G Moore), Inspector O in North... Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. A. Barricklow
5.0 out of 5 stars I was addicted from start to finish! Fast paced law...
I know I like to read, I can't really explain in great detail what makes a book great, but the best I could think of to explain it
came to me last night while I was reading... Read more
Published 3 months ago by realnaynay
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting twist on a cop story
Crime story readers would really enjoy this book. The protagonist is very interesting character and the plot line stays on point. Really good book
Published 3 months ago by Rob Hughes
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice
Very descriptive and engaging, Could almost feel as if I was there in American Samoa. Murder mystery was ok enjoyed the personal drama better.
Published 4 months ago by raven newcastle
5.0 out of 5 stars Police work, Samoan-style: another enjoyable read
Fire Knife Dancing is the second book about Samoan police officer Apelu Soifua, and once again I very much enjoyed spending time in the company of the philosophical detective. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Book lover
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More About the Author

John Enright was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1945. After serving stints in semi-pro baseball and the Lackawanna steel mills, he earned his degree from City College of New York while working full-time at Fortune, Time, and Newsweek magazines. He later completed a master's degree in folklore at UC-Berkeley, before devoting the 1970s to the publishing industry in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. In 1981, he left the United States to teach at the American Samoa Community College and spent the next twenty-six years living on the islands of the South Pacific. Over the past four decades, his essays, articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in more than seventy books, anthologies, journals, periodicals, and online magazines. His collection of poems from Samoa, 14 Degrees South, won the University of the South Pacific Press's inaugural International Literature Competition. Today, he and his wife, ceramicist Connie Payne, live in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

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