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Death of a Messenger

(Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Someone’s found a body at Pohakuloa, the army’s live-fire training area. Bearing all the marks of ancient ritual sacrifice—the murder is the grisliest of Detective Koa Kane's career.

The bizarre case draws Koa deep into his own Hawaiian roots. As Koa probes the victim’s past, he must sort through a rich roster of suspects—grave robbers, native activists, thieves, and star g
Paperback, 428 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Langdon Street Press (first published November 24th 2015)
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Robert B. McCaw showcases an unusual murder in his police procedural DEATH OF A MESSENGER . This is the first book in the Loa Kane Hawaiian Mystery series.

An anonymous 911 caller reports a dead body at the Army’s live-fire training area at Pohakuloa. Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane meets the Army at the site after it has been cleared as safe. During the course of the investigation, he has to overcome a large number of impediments and complications to the case.

Detective Koa grows on the reader a
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, netgalley
Exactly what I needed right now - an interesting and complicated case set in the beautiful landscapes of Hawaii.

While you might think a story set in Hawaii would be light and funny, or full of incredible James Bond-like events, it is not. Well, maybe there is a bit of the latter here, since the pace of this novel is quite fast, and it does not lack surprising twists and turns. Detective Koa Kane, the main character, has to solve a case of a brutal crime that bears the hallmarks of ritual murder
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death of a Messenger is the prequel to the Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery series, featuring Hook Hao, a police informant, Jimmy Hikorea, an archaeologist, Zeke Brown, the Hawaii County prosecutor, and Koa Kāne, the protagonist, set against the backdrop of exotic Hawaii. In the land of lava flows and black sand beaches, the Hilo cops get a mysterious 911 tip. Someone's found a body at Pohakuloa, the army's live-fire training area. In a lava tube inside a cave and mutilated beyond recognition, bearing ...more
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

Hawaiian police detective Koa Kane is nursing a pinched nerve when a dead body is discovered in a lava tube. It turns out this Native Hawaiian had deep connections and a job at the Observatory, Kane starts to investigate, and finds connections to both political activism and criminality. The two so often go hand in hand.

It comes to a satisfactory conclusion. This isn't a bad series.
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So excited to be back with another Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery by the amazing Robert McCaw!

I have been missing Hawaii and this book just transported me to the Big Island with Mai Tai in hand. Nothing to beat the winter blues than a thrilling police procedural that starts off with a mutilated corpse that could be related to an ancient ritual sacrifice. From there, I was definitely hooked! This riveting and immersive fast-paced read was such a joy to read for all the fun twists, a story set within
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I like cop whodunnit stories, and this one takes place on The Big Island, where I live, so I had high hopes. Written by a haole (non-Hawaiian, usually refers to a white person) who says he lives here part of the time, the author makes small irritating errors in the way the police and locals speak and references locals make that are irritating to this haole-Kama'aina. The story is interesting but not compelling, and the important characters are not well-developed, so I never really cared about an ...more
1/11/2021 2.5 stars. Feels like different people wrote different parts of the book. Full review tk at

1/11/2021 It genuinely felt like this book was written by one person for the first 60% and another for the last 40%. Maybe this has something to do with the book being a reissue from 2015, telling the first chronological story of the Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery series, and perhaps being updated for 2021. What I know for sure is that there's a definite cognitive dissonance
Elaine Tomasso
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Oceanview Publishing for a review copy of Death of a Messenger, a prequel to the Koa Kane series, set on Hawai’i’s Big Island.

Chief of Detectives Koa Kane is summoned to a murder scene. The body of a young male has been found in a lava cone and appears to have been killed ritualistically. Identifying the body is difficult, identifying a motive even more so with so many in the mix, sovereign rights activists, antiquity smugglers and problems at work.

I enjoyed
Sharon Thurnell
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was the lucky winner of the book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I really liked it. Thinking it over, I would have loved to hear more of the history and stories of Hawaii. I imagine, that Robert B. McCaw will do this in future books. I found myself looking up the places that were talked about in the book and I became quite fascinated in Hawaii. I admit, I know very little, but I am, now, becoming educated in the beautiful slice of heaven on earth. I also enjoy reading about on astronomy. My best frie ...more
Rishika S.
3.5 stars!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Death of a Messenger is not the first Robert McCaw book I've read, although it is the first in the Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery series. I had earlier read and reviewed Book #3 in the series - Fire and Vengeance. The first two books were on my TBR, so I was quite excited when I received this book for a review. Read on to know more.


352 pages

Overall Rating:
7 out of 10

8 out of 10

9 o
Toni Osborne
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book #1 in the Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery Series

This is a thrilling police procedural set on the Big Island of Hawaii. It starts when someone found a body at the army’s training area bearing all the marks of ancient ritual. The murder is the grisliest of cases detective Koa Kane had to face in his long career. This whodunit is told through the eyes of Koa, the protagonist.

Adze makers and astronomers are the backbone in this historical fiction and the perfect stage for a phenomenal murder myster
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
314 pages

4 and 1 / 2 stars

Detective Koa Kane, complete with his own demons, is called to the scene of a horrible death and mutilation in a lava tube on a live fire range that belongs to the military. The scene is very odd. With the help of local archeologist Jimmy Hikorea, they examine the body and explore the cave. It turns out to be much larger than they thought and with some very interesting finds in it – including some high tech surveillance equipment. Could it be that the man ran afoul of s
Jenny Wheeler
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert McCaw's first book in the Koa Kane series introduces an engaging detective with a dark secret that if disclosed would wreck his career, if not his life. It's a great setup for a book which presents an enthralling view of Hawaiian life, with a plot line that combines ancient burial sites, ritual killings, and Star Wars technology at the renowned Mauna Kea astronomy observatories. A perfect melding of space age technology and age-old culture. The action moves along smoothly, Detective Koa i ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was sent to me as an ARC on NetGalley. However, all opinions are of my own.
This book starts with an anonymous 911 call to report a dead body in a life size lava tank. Whilst the main deceptive, Koa, is trying to solve the case he comes across a lot of complicated situations.
Personally, I think the book was interesting and very meticulous- however, I did find it somewhat complicated which made me disconnect from the book,
I thought the whole story line and plot was different and I did en
Michelle Malsbury
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert McCaw, Author
Death Of A Messenger
Oceanview Publishing, ISBN 978-1-608094-03-5
Fiction – Hawaii, California, murder, mystery, thriller, volcano’s,
356 pages
March 2021 Review for Bookpleasures
Reviewer-Michelle Kaye Malsbury, BSBM, MM
Robert McCaw, author of Death Of A Messenger, graduated from Georgetown University (undergraduate) and the University of Virginia (JD). (2021, inside back cover) He is partner is a law firm with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.. McCaw’s law s
Elite Group
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A complex and unusual murder mystery with a unique setting

Hawaiian Detective Koa Kane is called to investigate a grisly murder – a mutilated body discovered at an army training area after an anonymous phone call is made to the police. The victim is difficult to identify and bears disturbing marks indicating an ancient ritual sacrifice. Further investigation uncovers an unknown archaeological site nearby and leads Kane to wonder if the victim had stumbled across a rare historical secret people wi
Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)
Death of a Messenger is a twisty whodunnit, investigated by Chief Detective Koa Kane and his team.  At first I found it quite challenging to get into and didn't know whether I'd enjoy it, which is surprising for me with the nature of the story at the beginning.  However, I think because its set in Hawaii, I found a lot of the words difficult to pronounce which slowed down my reading and made it a bit stilted.  Obviously this is to be expected in a novel set somewhere wonderful and exotic but it ...more
Allison Speakmon
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you follow me either here on the blog or on instagram (@speakingof_books), you will know that Mysteries and Detective series are my bread and butter. I love them. I love getting to know the characters and following their careers. I mean Law & Order SUV is my favorite show, so of course I love a good crime series.

I’ll be honest and say I thought this was going to be a 3 star read while reading the first part of the book. I wasn’t super into it, mainly because there were a lot of Hawaiian refer
"Don't. The army probably killed his relatives during the war. At least, I hope so."

𝗠𝘆 𝗦𝘆𝗻𝗼𝗽𝘀𝗶𝘀⁣

A gruesome murder is discovered at Pohakuloa, an army training area. Detective Koa Kane feels a deep attachment to the case since initial evidence points to an ancient ritual sacrifice. While researching the victim he slowly realizes that this murder may be revealing a network of grave robbers that are taking away artifacts locals to the island find most sacred. The real question is, was the victim i
Mar 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-books
For anyone who hasn’t been to Hawaii’s big island it is hard to even fathom the landscapes, from the lava tubes to the observatory and terrifying road leading to the top, as well as the greenery on the opposite side of the island, it is truly an incredible destination. All that said, the author missed a great opportunity to truly immerse the reader in said scenery. As someone who has visited and seen firsthand the places McCaw describes, it felt like a misjustice to not richly describe the lands ...more
Ray Palen
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hawaii may be the 50th State admitted to the U.S.A., but it may as well be another country based on how different the people and culture are there. It is this fact that author Robert McCaw uses to his advantage with his Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery Series. DEATH OF A MESSENGER is the third novel in this series and both the exotic locale and native rituals makes it a unique and interesting read.

Inside a funnel tube left by a currently dormant volcano is found a badly brutalized and unidentified corp
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Death of a Messenger is a modern murder procedural set in Hawaii and the first book in the Koa Kāne series by Robert McCaw. Originally released in 2015, this reformat and re-release by Oceanview is 336 pages and available in audio and ebook formats.

This is a well written procedural with an ensemble cast including a sympathetic protagonist with a very complex past. There's a great deal of archaeology and Hawaiian history written into the storyline
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane is on his way to an Army live-arms training area, not to practice his marksmanship, but to examine a mutilated corpse just found inside a lava tube. The body has all the signs of a ritualistic killing, except there’s not much blood.

The site also has a fire ring and stone chips, which alerts Kane to the possibility of an archaeology site. That prompts a call to his girlfriend Nalani, park ranger-in-waiting who works on the telescopes on Mauna Kea, and asks her to rec
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book through "NetGalley" Read Now program. This is the 2nd story in this series and it is the introduction of the Kao character.

This book begins with Kao being called to a scene at a Army Firing Range where a body has been discovered in a lava tube. The body has been mutilated in a ritualistic way causing the body to be had to identify. Koa during his time at the scene initially and the next day makes a discovery regarding grave robbing. A friend of Koa's son has been arrested at ano
Michelle Palmer
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing read with great characters, tricky plot and a history lesson on Hawaii's islands.
Koa Kane is a police detective brought in to investigate a brutal murder. A victim has been found in a cave near ancient burial grounds, on military ground. The victim is unidentifiable and resembles a murder from 30 years earlier. Koa calls in a forensics specialist from the military to help and his girlfriend, Nalani suggests an archeologist to assist with the cave findings. In the process of processing
William Bentrim
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Death of a Messenger by Robert McCaw

This book is set in Hawaii, as were the previous two I read, Fire and Vengence and Off Grid. The main protagonist is Chief Detective Koa who is trying to avoid politics and solve crimes. This is the first book in the series. I, now, recommend all three of them. Detective Koa is called in on a brutal, ritualistic murder. His boss, the Chief of Police, is easily swayed by political considerations. The murder is complicated by the fact that it is on a US Navy liv
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death of a Messenger by Robert McCaw is one book that will keep you reading until late in the night. I was intrigued by the language, descriptions, and the characters developed by the writer. A 911 call tells of a body that was found in Pohakuloa where the Army has a live fire testing site. It becomes clear that the body had been part of an ancient ritual sacrifice and had been tortured. The medical examiner was useless and was not providing any type of information to the police as to what actua ...more
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Death of a Messenger is a mystery crime thriller set on the island of Hawaii. With the natural island beauty as a backdrop, Chief Detective Koa Kāne sets out to find the sadistic killer of a young astronomer who worked at the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. From the stark beauty of Mauna Kea, to the grittiness of the fishing docks to the myriad of interactions between sovereign rights proponents and haoles (westerners), Koa must navigate a path to find the killer. Ancient burial sites are uncover ...more
My knowledge of Hawaii begins and ends with the remake of the TV series Hawaii 5-0. This book was a lot more detailed, more interesting and more entertaining than that series. As well as knowing little about Hawaii I have no knowledge of archaeology or astronomy, but it didn’t stop me enjoying this novel.

Whilst I have no knowledge of archaeology I found this aspect of the novel fascinating, I’m not sure I would like to discover some of the finds, they were a little creepy and intimidating but t
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Robert McCaw and Net Galley for allowing me to read a pre-publication copy of this novel.

Death of a Messenger by Robert McCaw is a very good novel in the crime thriller genre. If Nordic Noir is your ice thriller fix, then this novel, set in the tunnels and hot areas of Hawaii, should give you your fire fix at the same high standard. We learn a lot, not only about the island, but also the people who live there, their history and some excellent plotting which leads us on a twisty path t
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Robert B. McCaw, a seasoned attorney and veteran of many headline-grabbing cases, blends his decades-old passion for Hawaiian history with a life-long enthusiasm for crime fiction to create the compelling protagonist, Chief Detective Koa Kāne, in Death of a Messenger. A former US Army officer and judicial clerk at the US Supreme Court, McCaw’s firsthand military experience, legal expertise, and im ...more

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