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To Catch the Setting Sun

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

There’s a killer loose on the island of Oahu. His targets? Young, native-Hawaiian women. But it also appears that he’s targeting and taunting Honolulu police detective Henry Benjamin who knew each victim and whose wife, Maya, had been the first name on that list. In addition to battling his personal demons, this New York transplant’s aggressive style didn’t sit well with his laid-back colleagues who viewed Henry’s uncharacteristic lack of progress in the investigation as evidence that fueled ongoing rumors that he could be the killer. Was he, or could it have been someone within the municipal hierarchy with a vendetta? As it was, after thirteen years on the job Henry had been disillusioned with paradise. His career choice long killed any fantasy of living in a grass hut on a wind-swept beach, being serenaded by the lazy sounds of the ocean and a slack key guitar. Instead, it had opened his eyes to a Hawaii that tourists will never see.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Levine offers a solidly compelling premise for a thriller - a serial killer in Hawaii is murdering native women who he thinks are diluting the bloodstream. The lead detective's own past becomes embroiled in the case, leading to a satisfying degree of uncertainty regarding the culprit.

Prose: The prose is largely straightforward and clear, although there are some examples of overwritten prose where too much description causes confusion. The epigraphs at times also take readers out of the story.

Originality: The premise of the novel follows the fairly straightforward formula of a serial killer who targets individuals who he sees as a threat to something he holds precious and a detective with his own complicated past. The Hawaiian setting--particularly the darker side of paradise--and the target victims, provide a degree of welcome freshness to the storyline.

Character/Execution: The characters and circumstances are undeniably intriguing and readers will eagerly turn the pages, even as they may wish for a degree of additional nuance in terms of their psychological complexity and motivations.

Date Submitted: May 10, 2022

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