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on July 9, 2014
Leilani "Lei" Texiera, now a police detective, has moved to Kauai from the big island to get away from her ex-fiancee Michael Stevens. When a tourist asks Lei to find her missing husband, this leads to discovery of ten other tourists who have gone missing over the years. Lei suspects that a cult group may have kidnapped all these people for use in ritual killings. Body parts and bones turn up that match with some of the missing. When the FBI comes onboard, Lei's boss takes her off the case, but she persists, and eventually finds the serial murderer.

I liked this book, but I have the same criticisms of this second book as I did of the first one in the series: 1) sometimes the Hawaiian "pidgin" English is a little hard to understand; 2) I often found it hard to determine who was speaking during the long dialog sections due to the author's style of mentioning the non-speaking person in a dialog paragraph. This book may appeal more to female readers, as it had even more romantic content than the first book.
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on June 23, 2017
I have read the first two of these novels and have enjoyed them very much. Police procedurals are good, and I enjoy the psychological aspects of Lei's background and how she works through her problems. My only complaint would be that her character needs to stop going off half-cocked. Oh, and yeah, the descriptive passages of Hawaii's beauty and culture are a big plus.
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on November 17, 2014
Neurotic and slightly damaged Leilani (Lei)Texeira makes a great detective even on Kauai where the a certain profile of men seem to be disappearing and have been for some time. The police detective is paired with a new partner on a new island having been transferred there recently and discovers the island dynamic is not quite what the average tourist sees in the beautiful Garden Isle of the Pacific. Lei knows her Hawaii, her village, the land, the weather, and most of the culture in which she is surrounded. She is haunted by the men in her life; the one who still gives her nightmares, as well as her father and her ex-fiance' who manages to be called into the same serial killing she discovered She badly wants to solve this on her own though eventually Stevens insists on help from her own captain and the FBI--who shall possibly become a new source of angst for her. The hippie culture lives on in Hawaii enjoying the perfumed air, lush jungle-like mountains, and cold teeming waters. Is it possible it is there she'll find her unsub? I got this as a free download and grabbed it after I'd read and enjoyed Black Jasmine. She may be small, but that doesn't equate to weak! Recommended read.
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on March 24, 2014
Torch Ginger

Toby Neal writes a very good Hawaiian story. The Hawaiian names of people, towns, mountains, and places can be tricky to pronounce correctly if the reader does not have a firm grasp on the Hawaiian culture.

The story line is believable, and intriguing, while the characters are likable and easy to relate to.

There is a slow, but stimulating build up to the apex of the storyline which totally draws the reader in.

The lead character, Leilani Texeira's affections are divided between two men; the handsome and charismatic real estate developer Alika Wolcott and her former Rock-of-Gibraltar fiancé Michael Stevens.

As detective Leilani works her current missing person's case, she deals with the two men in her life, feeling exciting, risk taking passion when she is with Alika and deep, emotional, heart rendering eroticism, while in the presence of Michael.

Find out what happens in her missing person's case (after she goes undercover) and which one of the handsome, exciting men she chooses in the end.
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on September 4, 2015
I wasn't sure I would like this book, as I was judging the book, by it's cover and title. I know both torch and ginger were mentioned several times, in the story; but, I don't understand how the title came about. That is not here nor there. Torch Ginger was excellent and I hated putting it down, once I started reading. It was exciting, a bit gruesome (not over done) in parts, romantic (without graphic sexual descriptions) and very well written. The story wound several characters together and apart...I had wondered how Lei was going to manage that. She did or life did...whatever, it worked.
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on April 8, 2014
The lead detectives have to ask what VICAP, UNSUB and BAU are acronyms for..really !? In the days of DNA, CSI etc, even the average civilian knows these terms. Then Lei has to tell another character who questions her when she says "feds" and she has to answer "FBI" ... come on. Yes in other books when VICAP is mentioned at times you will see the full meaning followed in parenthesis, but to have detectives ask what they mean..eye roll. It was just hard to get past those parts to take the book seriously. I only got this book because it was advertised as comparable to J.D. Robb's In Death series, which is one of my favorites. In my opinion that was no where near a fair assessment.
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on June 27, 2016
Once again, Lei Texeira finds murder and mayhem in a lush tropical paradise. She has made Detective, and been transferred off of the Big Island, and finds that her missing persons case is much bigger and more complicated than she thought it was. If she's not careful, she might find her case taken away from her as too much for Kaua'i's most junior detective.
Besides having a lush, real-world setting, described in great and loving detail, Ms. Neal gives us some wonderful characters, and a chilling mystery. And, as always, a stirring love story, as well.
I consider this book well worth my money, and well worth my time reading it. If you like your murders gritty, if you like your cops flawed, if you've ever dreamed of going to Hawai'i, you'll enjoy this book.
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on May 22, 2015
Hawaiiana and Murder. Toby Neal writes descriptive passages with the best of them and can deliver a beautiful passage on the flora and fauna of a Hawaiian island to make you feel the tradewinds and smell the plumeria in the air. In contrast to the Travelers Palms and thick undergrowth of kiawe -thorned bushes is a seedy killer lurking in paradise, ready to kill again and it's this contrast that births a style of book I've never seen before.
Neal knows Hawaii, she knows the plant life and beaches and quirkiness of island living but she also knows her way around a police station like she's done a few interviews and ride alongs herself. What is particularly amazing about this book is the scene she stages of Kauai and how a small island in the south Pacific can harbor the outcasts and felons and psychotics that come to this state to escape the law.
Torch Ginger is a tale of a serial killer ready to take another victim. But not if Lei Texiera has her say. Lei is the lovable but damaged detective who lives with her Rottweiler in a plantation cottage and is battling her own demons. That's all I will say about the plot but the story is woven so intricately with sub plots and descriptive passages, dialogue, love affairs and even a Hawaiian shaman, that by the time we finish this book we are clicking to buy the next. Highly recommended if you like crime fiction, suspense or just plain love Hawaii.
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on April 10, 2016
I love seeing how Lei has grown here, and appreciated a lot of the things I'd appreciated about Toby Neal's writing last time, too. The Hawaiian culture is excellently portrayed. While the editing in this book is actually weaker than in Blood Orchids, the plot is stronger.

I absolutely hate love triangles, but the romantic interplay in this book miraculously didn't bother me that much. I continued to like Stevens and his realistic portrayal of how he was dumped between books (that gimmick was handled enough to not bother me either, thumbs up to Ms. Neal indeed), and I also liked Alika a lot. It was very mature and not played up as many "love triangles" are -- there was just enough attention given to it, and its purpose in the story and resolution made sense instead of feeling tacked on.
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on November 2, 2014
This is book 2 in a series. I had no idea when I was reading it that it was a series and that it was book 2. You don't need to read book 1 to understand what is going on in this book (though maybe it would help with some of the backstory).

My favorite part of this book are the descriptions of the scenery. The book takes place on the island of Kauai. The setting definitely makes the book unique. It's also not a typical murder mystery book. It actually starts as a missing person that turns into several missing people which turns into a possible murder and then evolves into lots of murders.

The author created quite a juggling act for herself in this book. There is a lot going on with the characters, the backstory, the action. The main character is Lei. She has 2 or 3 potential love interests. She is a newly transferred detective to Kauai with a new partner - new life, new job. Then her estranged father shows up. She gets assigned to a robbery case that turns into a missing persons case, so she is balancing two cases, which turns into three. She is then balancing working with her partner, other departments in the police force, and then working with her ex-fiance who shows up to assist. Then she is balancing working with all of those entities AND the FBI. Meanwhile, she is also dealing with her daily struggle to avoid her past but trying to control panic attacks and social anxieties. As I said, there is a lot going on and a lot to balance. It almost made my head spin trying to keep up with it all.

As much as that sounds like a negative, the author does a great job of keeping it all together and managing to move the storyline forward. Every once in a while, Lei gets a burst of self-confidence and asserts leadership into a situation which propels the action. I found the book to be quite suspenseful.

The glaring weakness is the end. Everything gets tied up nicely, but we are never given the satisfaction of the why. Why did the murders happen? Why did Lei choose who she chose? What happened with her father?

I also would have liked to read more about Lei's issues and her avoidance of them. I am guessing that this is discussed more in the seven book storyline arc.

Why should you read this book? It's a beautiful setting with an interesting main character. The writing is good and manages all of the suspense and action with ease. Maybe you will like it so much you will have an entire series of books to read!
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