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Fresh isle-based crime novel avoids most detective clichés
The hero's name is Kimo, the title sounds like it could've come out of "Hawaii Five-0," the serial killings at hand involve the mutilation of young women. As a fan of the genre, you've been there, read that before.
"Death on Diamond Head"
by John Madinger
With John Madinger
» Noon Saturday, Borders Ward Centre
» Noon next Sunday, Borders Windward Mall
» Noon Feb. 23, Borders Waikele
» 2 p.m. March 8, Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall
But John Madinger's mystery's got some fresh stuff. His central character is a cop, yes, but a fairly cheerful one with no alcohol problems who has a good relationship with his ex-wife and young son. He also has a stunning car and loads of money, thanks to a lawsuit against certain of his superiors who schemed against him after he exposed wrongdoing in the department.
No haunted, lonely detective living in a dive just a step ahead of the bill collectors. Been there, read that before, too.
The author is a former U.S. Treasury Department criminal investigator with 30 years experience, mostly in Hawaii. He's written textbooks on money laundering and criminal informants. So on many fronts -- from technical details to the local neighborhoods -- he knows of what he writes, and his style is crisp and breezy.
The book, despite its grisly crimes, doesn't take itself too seriously. The many side characters are interesting, with the exception of Kimo's rage-filled boss, Edmund Chin, also known as Special Ed, who is so one-dimensional he could've come out of a bad sitcom.
The best part of the story is actually a secondary case -- a tagger who's been defacing walls all over town. Kimo's solution to that crime is truly original.
The book is stamped "A Kimo Rigg Mystery," which indicates more is to come. I'd vote for more along the lines of that tagging case.