By Robert McCaw
336 pages Mystery
Retribution is the third Chief Detective Koa
Kane novel I have read by Robert McCaw. All the novels take place in Hilo on
the big Island of Hawaii, and all are police procedurals. What makes Retribution
such a unique experience is the setting and the unique names of the
characters. Most all of the main characters are native Hawaiians. This lends
both charm and confusion, because few of the names are easy to remember.
Koa Kane is the Chief Detective of the Hilo police
department. Although he is well-respected in the department and by the city
prosecutors, he has a secret criminal past and a younger brother Ikaika, who
has a troublesome past that is well known. Surgery on tumors in Ikaika’s brain
has turned his mental health around, and he has been doing very well, much to
his brother’s relief. Imagine Koa’s surprise when a young man is found dead in
an alley with a knife recovered beside the body covered in Ikaika’s
fingerprints. And that’s only the beginning.
It begins to appear that Koa is the real target of a series
of crimes with several bodies piling up—all connected in some way to Koa. Most insidiously,
Koa’s girlfriend, Natani, is the intended victim of a car bombing, which kills
her co-worker and best friend, who had the misfortune to be driving Natani’s
car. Additionally, Koa is having to contend with a new Assistant Chief Detective,
Moreau, who thinks he knows it all when in actuality, he knows nothing. There’s
something off about Moreau, and Koa begins to think that Moreau’s connection to
Hilo’s mayor may have some significance. The reader begins to distrust Moreau
Koa continues to impress the reader with his integrity, his
foresight, and his intuition. It is his intuition that helps him realize that
the fingerprints on the murder weapon are false, even though fingerprints are
supposed to be foolproof evidence. He quickly sees the connection to all the
murders and bombings, and also is able to move quickly when he is just given a
couple of clues. Thus, the plot of Retribution seems to move
quickly, and I turned pages quickly—or flipped the screen quickly, since I was
reading it on a Kindle.
Again, Hawaii is a major character in the novel, and McCaw
does a great job of helping us visualize this remarkable setting. We learn a
bit about scientists searching for turtles and the technology they use in their
search. We learn about the volcanic activity and how some Hawaiian roads are
constantly having to be cleared of rubble. We also learn that native Hawaiian
narcotic drinks are much better than beer, even though the beer may be local.
The other books that I have read are Off the
Grid and Fire
and Vengeance. His books do not
need to be read in order. Robert McCaw’s website.
Retribution is released today. So glad the publicist gave me the
opportunity to read it.