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Mai Tai One on: The Tiki Goddess Mystery Series Book 1 Paperback – July 1, 2011
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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From the Author
Somewhere on the North Shore of Kauai near the end of the road you'll find THE TIKI GODDESS BAR, famous for exotic tropical concoctions by Uncle Louie Marshall, mixologist extraordinaire. There's a legend behind every drink and each and every one has been approved by a taste testing parrot named David Letterman. Two-for- one Mai Tai Night really packs 'em in.
As tourists rub shoulders with locals and celebs, the surf hits the beach with a hypnotic rhythm matched only by the beat of exotic drums and the hum of ukulele music floating on the trade winds.
Who knew murder and mayhem existed in paradise?
About the Author
I should have known I was fatally attracted to all things Tiki when I made my first visit to Disneyland at the age of ten and my favorite attraction was The Enchanted Tiki Room with its fake rainstorms, dim lighting, bamboo and tapa cloth walls, over the top singing parrots, talking tikis and the hypnotic beat of tribal drums.
By the time I was thirteen I'd painted a four foot tiki image nestled in a jungle setting on the fence outside my bedroom window. Finally I had a view of something other than whitewashed boards.
Who knows why or how it happens, but if you've fallen under the spell of Tiki, then you understand the lure of the primitive, of jungle settings, of the soothing exotica sounds of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, and the smooth satisfaction of an icy tropical concoction fresh from the blender.
If you are among the most severely infected, like me, you gather most of your collection together to create a Tiki room, a Tiki bar, or a Tiki hangout somewhere in your home.
Over the years I've slowly migrated to Hawaii where I now live with my husband. Thankfully, he understands that a Tiki Goddess just has to be a Tiki Goddess. He trips over my collection of Tiki mugs, Tiki signs, napkins, carvings, paintings, books and whatever else I drag home -- not to mention what people contribute to the "Tiki Port" -- a carport we've converted into a Tiki Bar.
When I'm not writing or reading on the beach I enjoy visiting with family and friends in the Tiki Port, testing new concoctions, raising orchids and dancing the hula.
I like to pretend the "real" me IS a Tiki Goddess and not just a hard working writer penning fun mysteries about her favorite place in the world and her favorite theme: Tiki.
Having The Tiki Goddess Series available to readers is a dream come true. I hope you get a few laughs and enjoy the Hula Maidens' adventures as much as I do.
Top customer reviews
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Doesn’t that cover just scream fun! and murder!
Em Johnson’s uncle owns Tiki Goddess Bar on the North Shore of Kauai. The Hula Maidens, a group of seniors who dance at the joint have written to Em and asked her to come because they are worried about her uncle’s memory, plus the place is losing money fast. With nothing to hold her on the mainland she hops a plane. She has been there are 6 months and some of her ideas have started to turn the place around. The jury is still out on her uncle. But when one of the bar’s neighbors is found dead, in the Imu, (the pit where they cook the pigs for the luaus) Uncle Louie is the police’s prime suspect.
What really makes this book sing or I should say dance is its cast of quirky characters. Their antics had me in stitches from the first page until the last. The Hula Maidens are a hoot and Detective Roland is a fire dancer when he isn’t trying to put Uncle Louis or their new bartender behind bars. A new neighbor is quite flamboyant and the dead neighbor took obnoxious to a whole new level. There is also parrot named David Letterman, who is the taste tester for Uncle Louie’s new creations and he is a big fan on the television show Survivor. The ringmaster trying to hold this whole circus together is Em Johnson and while trying to protect the people she cares for she doesn’t always make the best decisions.
This series gets off to a nice start with not only a murder or two but also a kidnapping and a human femur bone found on a shelf. Everyone seems to be holding something back and those secrets lead in many different directions. Detective Roland seems to be around often but in addition to asking questions the Hula Maidens think he has romantic ideas about Em. She feels a little spark too, but until the case is solved she has no interest in the fire dancer, no matter how good he looks in that loin cloth.
I have never been to Hawaii and probably will never get there so I really enjoyed this little virtual escape. I will be back when I read book #2, Two to Mango.
If you like your cozy mysteries to include a nice slice of humor, fix yourself a mai tai and enjoy!
To begin with, I quite enjoyed it, for a cozy with a different setting.
The folks who have heavily criticized it seem to forget this isn't a work of great literature, just some light reading of a genre which is always heavily formulaic.
So they shouldn't be too surprised at that.
However, works in this genre should still make the effort to flesh out their cast of characters to prevent them from devolving into two dimensional paper dolls.
It was good value at less than a dollar, I will say that.
I'm willing to pay the current rate for book two in this series to see if the 'usual suspects' have developed further, then make up my mind if I'll read on further.
Location and Setting: This is the first cozy I've read where the location was Hawaii. I loved the cozy little location in a small part of Kauai. Most of the story happens at the bar, so not much is described through the rest of the town. Maybe in future installments. However, I do know that there is a lot of real estate for sale in this particular part of the Island.
Crime: The body is found at the beginning of the book which I tend to like, as it leaves the rest of the book for all the development. However, that is not the only crime which happens in this story and there is enough twist and turns to keep you guessing. Definitely had me hooked.
Romance: There's definitely romance or the possibility of romance in a cozy and this book is no exception. However, the romance is very mild. Were there sparks flying between Roland and Em? If you ask the maidens, some some yes and some say no.
This book was a slow start for me, could have been my mood. But in the end, I do have to say I enjoyed this book. It's really grown on me the longer its been since I finished reading it and put together the review.
The heroine, Em Johnson, is a mainlander who has only been on island six months at the time of the killing. This allows us to see the happenings through the eyes of someone who's relatively unfamiliar with the community, a good way for the author to explain everything about the North Shore of Kauai to the reader. We also get a slew of colorful local characters in the staff of the Tiki Goddess Bar and its dance troupe the Hula Maidens. They aren't very good but they try really, really hard.
The setting feels authentic, I loved the characters and the suspense ratchets up midway through the book. No shortage of suspects, and the plot kept me guessing. Strongly recommended.