Blood Orchids: A Lei Crime Novel by Toby Neal (Toby Neal, $9.99, 314 pages)
Blood Orchids begins the saga of Hawaiian cop, Lei Texeira. Billed as a Lei crime novel, the implication is obviously that there is more to come, and that Lei will be charged with protecting paradise from evildoers for years to come. However, after the first novel, it’s hard to imagine any danger left for her to deal with that she hasn’t already conquered.
Overcoming a torturous past, Lei battles insecurities during her quest to find a stalker who is on a killing spree of women. The beautiful Lei herself becomes the stalkee, and performs indescribable feats to conquer her kidnapper and prevent herself from becoming the next victim.
But, the story does not end there. There is not one, but two stalkers in Blood Orchids, and Lei must once again put the pieces together to try to both remain safe and capture her would be assailant.
Eventually, Lei learns to trust herself and others enough to fall for Stevens, another cop, who spends most of his time both protecting her and falling in love with her.
The dialogue and description work pretty well throughout most of the novel. The reader is drawn to root for Lei and closely follow her plight through the initial capture and escape, however improbable it is. By then the reader has become exhausted; however, the next page reveals a significant amount of the story remains. This second perilous predicament does not work anywhere nearly as well.
Blood Orchids is a worthy first book by this author. Should the storytelling grow over time, there is a chance for this to be a solid series in the crime fiction genre.
A review copy was provided by the author.
Dave Moyer is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.