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Blood Orchids (Lei Crime #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  6,000 Ratings  ·  613 Reviews
Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.

Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and
Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published November 2011 by Toby Neal (first published 2011)
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Rating details
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Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was just an okay read for me. The main character, Lei, was so messed up and had so many bad things endlessly happening to her that it became tiresome after awhile and I found myself losing interest in the story the more it went on. I did like the setting of Hilo, Hawaii, though and I loved Lei's dog, Keiki.
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I actually haven't been reading very many mysteries of late, so I enjoyed diving back into the genre with Blood Orchids, Toby Neal's debut crime novel. This was a fast-paced book that proved to be a quick read and was perfect for the last few evenings. Not only do we have the mystery behind the discovery of that first murder scene, but ultimately Lei Texeira is embroiled in her own frightening scenario involving a creepy stalker. Naturally, one starts to wonder if the two mysteries are connected ...more
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I love a good mystery, but I have found that not all authors deliver one that I can't figure out. I love to be kept guessing. Toby Neal fit the bill. A likeable female cop with her share of issues is trying to solve a murder and put an end to someone stalking her.Lots of mystery, with a healthy dose of romance. I like that the romance doesn't take over the story.
This is a series and I will so be continuing to read this author. Well done Toby Neal!
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I would call this novel a murder/mystery with just enough romance. A perfect read!
Lei Texeira is the main character of the story. She has spent half her life in Hawaii and half in California. When her mother overdoses on drugs and her father is sent to jail, she is sent to California to live with her Aunty. She returns to Hawaii as a police officer, where she is put on a serial rapist/killer case and has a stalker to deal with. These cases open memories she has buried from the past forcing her t
J.C. Martin
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having been brought up on crime novels, I can be a bit particular about books in the genre. With the genre saturated with middle-aged, white male detectives with failed marriages and a penchant for the bottle, few protagonists in crime novels are memorable enough for me to sit up and take notice of them.

Lei Texeira is one such protagonist. Far from being just a pretty face (and a pretty name!), Leilani Texeira is a plucky, intrepid policewoman haunted by her past. Driven and ambitious, Lei aspir
Frederick Brooke
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've just finished reading Blood Orchids by Hawaii Mystery Author Toby Neal, and I'm still all jittery. It has nothing to do with coffee, either. The author builds a convincing web of horrors around main character Lei Texeira, and after reading this book I'm going to have a hard time relaxing again.

Lei is a police officer in Hilo, Hawaii, working to make detective and in the meantime keeping the lid on gangs, solving murders, and by the way also fending off her own personal stalker. The layers o
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
From the very beginning to the very end, I was submersed in the world, the characters and the plot of Blood Orchids. I don't generally read books which use sexual abuse or rape as a backdrop, but by the time I realized such would be a central theme, seeing how the main character, Lei, would deal with her own dark and buried past as she wades through the case of two young girls who have been drugged, raped and left to drown had me hooked.

Author Toby Neal pulls very few punches, if any, using her
Jonathan Brazee
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got this book during a free promo. After reading it, I would have happily paid for it.

I liked the protagonist, flaws and all. Too many times, authors make flawed characters so angst-ridden that the books are just painful to read. In this case, Lei, a junior officer in the Hilo Police Department, does not take it too far. She brings in a reasonable degree of issues that affect her, but not overwhelm her.

The entire setting was very "Hawaii." The author pretty much nailed that right on the head.
Lewis Weinstein
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a tough, exciting, complex crime story: a female cop struggling with her department and her past, multiple crimes, perhaps related. Definitely a good read, especially for a debut novel.
Sandra  Valente
3 1/2 stars.

This is a book I hadn't heard of and again, it's all thanks to seeing who was tweeting what. I peeked in at the right time. What first caught my attention, was the name of the book and then of course the cover. I loved them both. Curiosity had me clicking on the link and downloading the book, simultaneously mentioning it to a few friends. It was free over the weekend and I thought why not? Needless to say, they too downloaded Blood Orchids from Amazon. I wonder what their take will b
Avery Teoda
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Crime/mystery novels aren't my "preferred genre," if you will, but I read a fair number of them as a teenager and decided to give it a go after reading the summary. I'm glad I did, because it's one of the more enjoyable books I've read in a while.

Lei is an engaging, sympathetic heroine--and it's really not often that I say that. Lei has been through a lot in her life and it's taken an emotional toll on her. I'm thrilled to see such a realistic and thoughtful portrayal of someone who obviously su
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mysteries with a police background, exotic locations, or strong character back stories.
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Toby Neal through the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book
Blood Orchids is the debut thriller from author Toby Neal. The setting is Hawaii, where Lei Texiera is a police officer with the Hilo, Hawaii police force and who happens to be on call when the bodies of two young women are found raped and murdered. As the investigation into the crime continues, Lei is thrown back into her own troubled past. To make matters worse, it appears that she has attracted a stalker.

Lei Texiera is the best kind of central character, one that is complex and multi-layered
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews LLC
4 1/2 kisses, 1/2 pepper implied rape, implied romance

Leilani Texeira has had to overcome a lot of obstacles from her past, but she persevered and is a cop on the Hilo Police Department. While she is on patrol, Lei finds two dead teenage girls who appear to have been murdered. And one of the girls, Lei recently busted for drugs. Lei wa
Marilynn Larew
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first volume of Toby Neal’s series starring Hawaiian cop, Lei Texira, is a page turner. Lei is a patrol officer working out of the South Hilo station of the Hilo (Hawaii) Police Force. She’s a natural born cop, addicted to the rush of adrenalin she gets with the job, but she is also impulsive and given to acting without her partner or permission. She comes with a lot of emotional baggage: a mother who overdosed, a father in jail for dealing, and a stepfather who sexually abused her, leaving ...more
Douglas Cook
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries-police
What a great series! Glad I ran across it. I like ballsy female detectives. It also makes me want to move Hawaii to the top of my bucket list.

First paragraphs
Chapter 1 Drowning isn’t pretty, even in paradise. The girl’s features were bloated by water and nibbled on by wildlife. She lay half embedded in silty mud, naked as a seal carcass. Long hair that might have been blonde wrapped around her like seaweed, one sparkly hair tie still in place on the side of her head. Leilani Texeira grimaced at
Noelle Pierce
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a well-written, perfectly-paced book, steeped in Hawaiian culture. Ms. Neal does a good job balancing the paradise aspect of the islands, with the seedy side normally unseen by tourists.

Leilani Texeira has some major demons from her past, which come back to haunt her in the first of this suspense series. In fact, there's concern that she'll be able to do her job because one of her coping mechanisms when dealing with any sort of triggers is dissociation. The book opens with the discovery
Marilou George
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lei Texeira has stumbled upon two bodies floating in the water in Hilo, Hawaii. Lei is a police officer trying to work her way up to detective and knowing one of the victims she feels compelled to help with the investigation. Michael Stevens a detective from California is leading the investigation and enlists Lei to help.

The character of Lei is slowly revealed throughout the story and I felt such empathy for her and the horrific struggles she went thru as a child. She is a feisty, complicated an
Gail Baugniet
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Blood Orchids is set on the Big Island of Hawaii with much of the action occurring around the eastern town of Hilo. Lei Teixera, on the police force for three years, has aspirations of moving up from policewoman to police detective. But her past threatens to undermine this goal.

While on patrol checking for vandalism, Lei and her partner find the bodies of two murdered teenage girls in the muddy overgrown area of a park. She wants in on the investigation. When the lead detective says the case re
Jean Cogdell
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In March, I added Blood Orchids By Toby Neal to my Kindle as a free download. Last week, sitting at DFW airport waiting to begin a long weekend vacation, I tabbed through my Kindle in search of something to read. I’d even forgotten what this book was about. What a wonderful surprise.

I found myself vacillating between writer and reader. The writer in me wanted to savor the imagery, taking note of the pace, and captivating story that drew me in with beautiful writing of a gruesome crime. The reade
Kimba Tichenor
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I would give this book a 3.5. It is fast paced; the characters are for the most part believable, and the author creates a strong sense of place. My one objection is that the main character, a young female police officer, is caught up in one too many crises and as a result, some of the believability of the plot line is lost, as it just seems like too much.

This was the first book that I have read by this author, and based on this book (I believe the author's first), I would definitely read anothe
Mary: Harry Dresden's Love Slave
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2012
I'm so glad that I used my Sept. Prime Lending Library borrow on this book. Excellent mystery. I docked it 1 star for 2 reasons. First I got tired of being reminded of what "pidgin" is and having it pointed out every time one of the native Hawaiian characters talked that way. Luckily the reminders eventually stopped. I only needed to be told once what "pidgin" speak means. The second reason was that the # of stalkers the heroine had was a little unbelievable. But I get that the author needed to ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lei Texeira is an aspiring detective in Hilo. Lei finds a gruesome crime scene and there follows an intriguing plot, where she is stalked in a very frightening way. Dealing with the aftermath of her own childhood abuse creates it's own problems for Lei who is determined to become a success in her chosen career. Lei's closest, uncomplicated relationship, is with her Rottwieler, Keiki, whom she loves dearly and trusts completely. Humans prove to be more of a challenge.

A gripping tale with many fa
J.L. Campbell
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lei Texeira is on patrol with her partner when they discover the bodies of two teenagers. Lei is familiar with one of them from a previous run-in and indentifies with the murdered girl. As the case unfolds, Lei's past comes into play. Someone who knows her early history is stalking her. And as if her life isn't complicated enough, she's about to fall in love and has no idea how to handle the complexities of a relationship.

Lei Texeira is a feisty police officer, with ambitions of making detective
Angela Holtz
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
From Lilac Wolf and Stuff

**This book was sent to me by BookSparksPR to review**

I had a hard time getting into this one. The starting scene is intense, but Lei can be up and down and all around at times. This carries through the story but as you get to know her, it starts to make sense. Once I got going, I was sucked in.

The characters are all well written, and you do come to care about Lei. With this being a mystery I want to be happy for her, but I keep my mind around who might be the bad guy. L
Gae-Lynn Woods
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Prepare to be completely drawn into the beauty and danger of Hawaii with Neal’s captivating BLOOD ORCHIDS. Her characters are multidimensional and her descriptions of Hawaii – the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes – vivid. With ease, Neal weaves several plots through the story and keeps the tension high.

Neal’s background as a counselor must have contributed to the creation of the very believable Lei Texeira, a feisty police officer with a harrowing and hidden past. Texeira has to deal with diss
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was an absolute page turner. LOVED IT! Lei is a broken and distrusting female police officer in Hawaii. She is smart, a bit impulsive, sometimes dopey, tortured, sweet and really strong. I loved all those things about her. Her weakness, her sadness, makes her a most compelling character. Having very little knowledge about Hawaii and its people, its culture, its language, its food....I was fascinated by the organic way all of that was introduced to me. The story itself, about a serial killer ...more
Jo Ann Reinhold
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed this book. The mystery was good and the characters compelling and well developed. This book shows how childhood trauma can affect every part of your life even as an adult. It was handled well and flowed as part of the story. The setting was amazing!
I have read three other books in this series and loved every one of them.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting main character, an exotic location, a well-told story.

What more could a reader desire?
Tom Bradley
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
There’s something to be said for a novel when you read 90 percent of it in one day, as I did with Blood Orchids, the first in the series of Hawaii-based Lei Texeira mystery novels by author Toby Neal.

First, it means it grabbed my attention and held on with a death grip, as a solidly written novel should. Neal does this with a compelling main character (Lei) with a harrowing backstory, who, while investigating the murder of a young woman, flashes back on the horrific abuse she suffered as a child
Lehua Parker
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
We are all products of our pasts, a combination of long ago childhood experiences and what we ate last night. Like an order of deluxe saimin noodles, Blood Orchids, the first book in The Lei Crime Series by Toby Neal is a multi-layered and nuanced murder mystery.

There are two mysteries—the noodles and miso soup of the novel. Lei Texeira is a beat cop in Hilo, Hawaii trying to figure out who’s murdering women and who’s playing a cat and mouse stalking game by leaving notes on her doorstep. There
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Blood Orchids explores psychology 7 29 Oct 17, 2014 11:11PM  
Sisterhood of the...: Blood Orchids, by Toby Neal 45 27 Jul 07, 2014 07:32AM  
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Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. She wrote and illustrated her first story at age 5. After initially majoring in journalism, she eventually settled on mental health as a career and loves her work, saying, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.”

Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters–from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable h
More about Toby Neal

Other books in the series

Lei Crime (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Torch Ginger (Lei Crime, #2)
  • Black Jasmine (Lei Crime, #3)
  • Broken Ferns (Lei Crime, #4)
  • Twisted Vine (Lei Crime, #5)
  • Shattered Palms (Lei Crime, #6)
  • Dark Lava (Lei Crime, #7)
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  • Red Rain (Lei Crime, #11)

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“Everything has to do with everything else—you know that by now. So begin at the beginning, and it will lead to the end.” 6 likes
“sweeps by your house.” “Thanks.” She watched him” 0 likes
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