A scrap of cloth fluttering in the wind leads Hilo police Chief Detective Koa Kāne to the tortured remains of an unfortunate soul, left to burn in the path of an advancing lava flow. For Koa, it’s the second gruesome homicide of the day, and he soon discovers the murders are linked. These grisly crimes on Hawaiʻi’s Big Island could rewrite history―or cost Chief Detective Koa Kāne his career.
The dead, a reclusive couple living off the grid, turn out to be mysterious fugitives. The CIA, the Chinese government, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, attempt to thwart Koa’s investigation and obscure the victims’ true identities. Undeterred by mounting political pressure, Koa pursues the truth only to find himself drawn into a web of international intrigue.
While Koa investigates, the Big Island scrambles to prepare for the biggest and most explosive political rally in its history. Despite police resources stretched to the breaking point, Koa uncovers a government conspiracy so shocking its exposure topples senior officials far beyond Hawaiʻi’s shores.
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 immersion in all things Hawaiian lend the characters in this richly layered thriller unparalleled authenticity. An avid photographer and part-time resident of the Big Island since the 1990s, he and his wife split their time between New York and Hawaii.
Death of a Messenger is the first novel of the Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery series.
This book is the second book in the Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery series. I did not know it was the second book in the series when I first started the book. I found this mystery book good, but not great. It pull me in, but at times I would lose the attention while reading this book. I won a kindle edition of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinion. The third book in this series is coming out this year.
Hilo Police Chief Koa Kane is called to an abandoned truck involved in a fiery accident—followed by an explosion—that killed a woman. Shortly thereafter, he is called to another murder scene, a dead man is half-buried in a lava flow from the Kilauea volcano. It doesn’t take Kane long to link the two murders. However, who were these people? They lived under false identities and ‘off the grid’ in rural Hawai’i for years. Attempts to discover their true identities through a single fingerprint, results in intelligence agents ‘coming out of the woodwork’. Seriously—who were these guys?
Kane also has to deal with local politics. His boss is trying to position himself to obtain a higher-ranking job in the new administration. Plus, Hilo has a huge political rally planned as a part of the contentious election for Governor.
McCaw starts his story off with a bang and doesn’t let up until the surprise ending. Along the way, he provides plenty of local Hawai’ian color. Looking forward to reading the next in the Koa Kane series.
Chief Detective Koa Kāne has not one but two homicides to investigate on the same day on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It doesn’t take long to realize the beaten body of a man placed in the path of a lava flow and the woman dead in a car explosion are linked.
The deceased are a couple who have been living off the grid for over a decade. While it’s not uncommon to live off the grid in the small village of Volcano, Kāne’s investigation soon uncovers both are wanted fugitives and everyone from the CIA, DIA, and the Chinese government are trying to stop Kāne’s progress on the case. What could the deceased be hiding to have all these government departments interested in their deaths? Full of political espionage and international intrigue, this case goes far beyond the Big Island.
I love the Big Island and have visited several times; it’s a tropical paradise with a small town vibe. When I saw this mystery series is set on the Big Island, I snapped up an ARC immediately. While the location isn’t the primary focus of the story, I enjoyed the familiar landmarks and town/road names that transported me to the island and brought the story to life!
Thanks to Oceanview Publishing and Edelweiss for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Off the Grid is scheduled for release on August 25, 2020.
There's an accident that may not be such an accident, and a murder victim left for the lava to cover on the big island of Hawaii. Koa Kane is the police detective in charge. As he investigates, the circumstances start getting weird, and the CIA comes in.
Kane gets to the bottom of things, and gets closer to his girlfriend.
The book tries a little too hard to make Kane seem dark and conflicted.
On the main island of Hawaii lie numerous fields of lava-strewn, barren ground that have destroyed almost all homes, buildings, and cars in the path of exploding volcanoes spread throughout the Big Island. The mystery begins when a tattered piece of cloth leads to the remains of a man who has obviously been tortured before he was murdered and then destroyed in a horrific explosion when a truck and car collide. A blood-curdling scream is heard as Chief Detective Koa responds to the scene but is followed by an explosion that completely destroys the car which had held the screaming woman. So begins the hunt for the planners of what quickly seems a planned murder of both victims.
Meanwhile, an election is looming for governor and one of the campaigner’s policies involves drastic cuts in the police department, including laying off one of Koa’s peers who lost his legs in a work-related criminal investigation. Smithy is twenty-one months away from a pension, one Koa and their peers believe is well-deserved. There’s also something strange about the way the would-be governor, the mayor and the head of the police are cozying up with each other that goes beyond the usual political machinations.
This then is mystery driven by seemingly insignificant but related past facts. What is a former Navy Seal doing with spending hours growing variations of orchids. What is his girlfriend, a former spy, doing with boxes of money that arrive regularly from China? Who are the goons that try to insert themselves in the investigation supposedly on behalf of the CIA in Langley, Washington?
Koa has his own secrets, ones that he has sublimated into a hunger for seeking justice wherever he finds it questioned or abused. He does not brook fools or interference, even with supposedly patriotic or noble motivations. The struggle will reach all the way back to the beginning of the Iranian nuclear arms policy and a number of American and Chinese spies involved in the Kosovo crisis of the 1990s.
Koa has unbelievable but remarkable detective skills and leaves no stone unturned in his search for the truth and justice regarding these two murders. He is well-connected and capable of making connections where others would fail to tread. This is remarkable international thriller plot that will more than satisfy others who love to read this particular genre. Injustice ranges from Indonesian killer goons to the top of CIA and Chinese politicians.
Off the Grid is fine historical and mystery fiction. Well done, Robert McCaw.
This mystery is a sequel to “Death of a Messenger” featuring Chief Det. Koa Kane of the Hilo police department. In this follow up story Koa will investigate the gruesome murder of two off the grid couple. The woman died after her car collided with a truck and blew up and her partner’s mutilated body found not long after in the backcountry. Who are they, who murdered them, and why?
What an exciting read this turned out to be. It starts with a bag and Koa soon finds himself up to his ears in blackmail schemes, international espionage and political shenanigans. Everyone want to block the investigation CIA,MIA, Koa’s boss, politicians, military, even the Chinese you name it all the acronyms in the US show up to put a spoke in the wheel…as Koa meticulously tracks the complicated case his instincts point him in the right direction….and of course reading how he worked to solve the mystery is action packed, thrilling and entertaining to read. I must add even with all the government secrets we find Hawaiian vibes… think orchids and beautiful sceneries….
This mystery has many characters some are good and some not so but Koa although not perfect definitely stands out. His past haunts him. Koa has horrific flashbacks to his Mogadishu time in the military and to boot, a closet full of skeletons to content with.
The suspense is well maintained throughout. We have lots of drama, adventure and action including one surprise after the other. This is one well-concocted police procedural.
I loved passing time with “Off the Grid” next….book #3 “Fire and Vengeance”
I would like to thank Oceanview Publishing and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this book
Deception, espionage, and murder erupt amid the Hawaiian volcano fields in Robert McCaw’s newest Hawaiian police procedural Off the Grid (Oceanview Publishing).
Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kāne—imagine a Dave Robicheaux of the Hawaiian Islands—doesn’t know what to make of the explosion outside Volcano Village on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. It doesn’t make sense. Then when a second body is found buried by lava flow in the nearby Royal Gardens—a village decimated by lava from the Kīlauea volcano and from Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fury—he knows something dangerously nefarious is at play. Murder rarely occurs in Hilo, and never anything this gruesome.
McCaw draws from his experiences as an Army veteran and attorney to write authenticity into his novels. Part of the plot for Off the Grid was inspired by the never-truly-accounted-for “accidental” US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999. His legal knowledge of gathering facts and piecing them together to arrive at the truth provided him with Koa’s investigative skills.
In the Hawaiian mystery novel Off The Grid, an abandoned rural area in the shadow of a volcano makes a perfect place for quietly living secretive, off-the-grid lives. When two people are killed, in unrelated but almost simultaneous murders, detective Koa Kane investigates, and ends up uncovering secrets that span continents and decades.
The author brings the off-grid, undocumented Hawaiian perma-camps to life. When I was in Waianae, I saw a lot of people camping permanently on the beach. (I have a lot of feelings about Hawaiians living on their native land, living the same natural lifestyle as their ancestors, but it’s illegal now because colonizers claimed the islands and stuck up No Camping signs. In the novel, certain residents pay cash for anything needed and squat in the jungle.
I also loved the incompetent medical examiner, a fairly minor but way too realistic character. Haven’t we all had a colleague who was completely unhelpful and almost entirely useless, but somehow just barely good enough to keep their job? Aaaah, I really felt for poor Koa here.
Unfortunately, I found the women characters slightly flat. Beautiful, successful, loving girlfriend Nalani is a bit too perfect to be relatable, while another character is a fairly one-note Rejected Ugly Woman. I hope this is just a function of how many characters Koa meets in this investigation, and that future Koa Kane novels will develop women characters further. (Also, an attractive, stylish, well-groomed woman nursing a secret crush would be more of revelation than discovering that the woman described as aging poorly, wearing too much makeup, unattractive in so many ways, etc., is desperately lonely and loveless.)
Overall, it’s a well-plotted mystery with a wide cast of characters and far-reaching connections, with just enough departmental politics to keep Koa feeling like a real person doing a real job.
My Recommendation: Pass. The writing was stilted and repetitive making it very difficult to read. I also found most of the characters to be one-dimensional (if even that, look at the female characters—ugh). I got it in my head I should read the first book in the series and it ended up working out in my favor that the local library didn't have it. If they did I probably would not have made it to this one. And also, the big reveal of the whodunit? Yawn...it really should've had more impact or there should've been more red herrings or something, this is a thriller/suspense/mystery after all.
My Response: I requested a copy of this from the publicist, when they reached out to me about my next read, Mike Papantonio's Law and Addiction.* Unfortunately, I probably should've just stuck with the latter. This book has a lot going for it, the protagonist sounds interesting (a veteran, a cop, a dark secret), the location is exotic (Hawaii), and international intrigue, but nope nothing pays out.
I'm honestly not sure whether I should be more mad at the author or the editor. I'm not sure there was an editor, based on some of the super repetition (that had nothing to do with the story or dropping clues) and the super formal/stilted way the characters spoke to each other. Seriously, it was painful at some points. I did look into Oceanview Publishing and it says it's an independent publisher, but based on this book I had to wonder if it was more vanity than independent, which doesn't reflect well on them.
While police procedural mysteries are not a genre that I really enjoy, if you are a fan of books featuring political intrigue and military secrets, you will love this novel. It's well-written and left me guessing until the very end.
There are a couple of issues I had with the book, which is why it's only getting a three-star rating.
First, the two main female characters are incredibly boring compared to the male characters in the novel. They read like stereotypes of women, and it was frustrating, especially when all of the male characters have complex personalities and backstories.
Second, the book moved so slowly at times that I probably would have DNF-ed it if I hadn't of been reviewing it for the publisher.
Aside from the couple of let-downs in the novel, there were also some good things. My favorite aspect of the book is that I learned a lot about Hawaiian culture and history. Also, our main character, Koa Kane, has a very dark backstory that I wasn't expecting.
Overall, if you enjoy police detective mysteries, you will probably love this novel. Note that while it is the second book in the series, you do not need to have read the first book to enjoy or understand Off the Grid.
Off the Grid is the first mystery I have read that is centered on the big island of Hawai’i, and on its volcano, Mauna Loa. Actually, it is probably only the second book that I have read based in Hawai’i. Here is the summary of the book:
“A scrap of cloth fluttering in the wind leads Hilo police Chief Detective Koa Kāne to the tortured remains of an unfortunate soul, left to burn in the path of an advancing lava flow. For Koa, it’s the second gruesome homicide of the day, and he soon discovers the murders are linked. These grisly crimes on Hawaiʻi’s Big Island could rewrite history―or cost Chief Detective Koa Kāne his career. The dead, a reclusive couple living off the grid, turn out to be mysterious fugitives. The CIA, the Chinese government, and the Defense Intelligence Agency attempt to thwart Koa’s investigation and obscure the victims’ true identities. Undeterred by mounting political pressure, Koa pursues the truth only to find himself drawn into a web of international intrigue. While Koa investigates, the Big Island scrambles to prepare for the biggest and most explosive political rally in its history. Despite police resources stretched to the breaking point, Koa uncovers a government conspiracy so shocking its exposure topples senior officials far beyond Hawaii’s shores.”
I really enjoyed the setting and the intricacy of the novel, including the Hawaiian history, and the information about volcanoes. One interesting factoid concerned a subdivision that had been built too close to Mauna Loa, and an eruption had destroyed most of the homes. In an interview, the author suggested that much of his plot derived from places he had visited and recent happenings on the big island.
Koa, the Chief Detective in charge of the murder investigations that begin the book, is a very interesting character. He is extremely intense but deeply flawed with a hidden murder that keeps him very unsettled and distrustful. He suffers from PTSD, and he is constantly being reminded of his military service in Somalia and its horrors. He is deeply in love with a Ranger at Volcanoes National Park, but also worried that if she knew that he had killed a man, she might not love him.
One reason I like mysteries is because they often take place in interesting settings. This is certainly one of the major strengths of the book. I was fascinated by the volcano and the people who lived in its environs. I’ve only been a tourist in the Hawaiian Islands, so all this was new information to me. I also really liked the complexity of the case. The title comes from the way some of the characters live—secluded and totally “off the grid.”
One hang-up I encountered reading Off the Grid is the amount of back-story that the reader had to wade through to get to the plot. It is clunky to get through. There should be better ways to introduce Koa and his co-workers, etc., without having to get through all their life histories. I had a hard time with so many details. This is unfortunate, because the book begins with a bang—two dead bodies in one day!
Dedicated mystery readers will particularly like Off the Grid. Readers in Hawai’i will like reading about their home turf.
( Format : Audiobook ) "Love, ambition and greed." Located in Hawaii, this fast moving twisted tale moves from simple murder to war time action and Political intrigue. Two seemingly unrelated deaths occur almost at the same time. A woman dies in an explosion after her car was rammed by a dumper truck whose driver had been seen running from the scene, and the mutilated, tortured body of a man was found shortly before it was consumed by a lava flow. But investigations revealed that the two victims had known each other, even had an on off affair. So why had they been murdered in so horrible a way, and by whom? Meanwhile, the island was troubled by a forthcoming Governor's election and public disturbances at the same time as the Chief of Police was reducing staff numbers. It was going to be a difficult time for Inspector Koa Kane.
The start of this novel held great promise - the bizarre deaths a d the troubled surroundings with the hint of something else that just wasn't quite right. But with a large cast of protagonists and almost no character development, this reader found it an effort to hold on to the plot with any ease or enjoyment. Perhaps that is why the remedial repetition, the rehearsing of what has gone before, starts padding out the story from about midway? It does help keep the reader updated but also adds to the tedium. It was, frankly, a relief when the not unexpected end arrived.
Narration by Francis G Kearney was good, his voice fairly deep and expressive, well intoned and his Voicing s of the various characters was adequate. But it was a slow delivery, best heard with the replay speed increased to 1.25. His pronunciation ability was admirable, however, with no hesitations over the readings of some unexpected names of phrases. Overall, a good performance.
I was fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy of Off the Grid, at my request, by the rights holder via Audiobook Boom. Thank you. A good start, but too prolonged for my taste and the convoluted twists 'just didn't feel right', as Koa Kane himself would probably have decided. But for anyone who knows Hawaii, the scenery and the political set up of the Islands, it would probably have greater appeal, especially for readers also fond of historic military and political conspiracy mixed in with their murder mysteries. But for myself, I doubt that I will return to Hawaii and the impressive detective team of Koa Kane, for the earlier book, or any subsequent stories in this series.
I started this a while back and gave up on it, it just wasn't what I wanted at the time. The second attempt went much better. The story (murder mystery) is good, and I like the Hawaiian setting and little snippets of local color. On the negative side, the writing is annoyingly flat, there's no poetry or lyricism to it. It reads like a first novel by an inexperienced fiction writer (I don't know whether it is!). Right at the start of the investigation there are a couple of glaring plot holes. The detective (protagonist) is at the victim's home looking for clues, and finds a security camera monitor. But it doesn't seem to occur to him to look for a recording device, he just goes outside to hunt for the cameras. He thinks someone is watching him so calls for backup. He spends more time poking around, then goes back to the office. What happened with the backup he called for? Why hunt for the cameras when you can watch on the monitor while your backup walks around, and direct them? Perhaps small things but glaring. That said, the story and setting are keeping me interested, and I like the main characters, even though the author does beat the reader over the head a bit with Koa's past. After finishing the book, it's probably more like 2.5 stars than 3. A quick, entertaining read. Overall I found the tone a little simplistic, our square jawed hero triumphing over the nefarious politician with a very shady past - a little jingoistic for my taste! All the right people line up to help Our Hero, and Right triumphs. If only the world were like that.
Off the Grid is the second book in Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery series. With corruption, government secrets and some Hawaiian vibes (think orchids and pineapples!!), this book is an entertaining read.
There are many characters in this story, some good and some corrupt (includes cops and politicians). But the one character that stands out from the rest is the protagonist - Koa Kane. Koa is not perfect. His past haunts him every now and then. Flashbacks bring back horrific memories of the battle at Mogadishu but Koa is strong. And the man doesn't take a no for an answer. No corrupt politician or CIA can stop him from investigating the case he has set his eyes on.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this story. Initially, Koa feels that the case is going nowhere. But this ends when he discovers a closet full of skeletons. I did find the story to be a tad lengthy and descriptive but that didn't stop me from liking this story.
The ending was absolutely brilliant. The suspense is well-maintained throughout the story. The reader is in for a lot of surprises, especially in the second half of the book. If you like books of the genre mystery and thriller - especially a well-concocted police procedural then I recommend you to read Off the Grid.
Who were the victims REALLY? Who imported the assassins? Why is the police chief impeding the investigation? What's the truth about the mayor? Is the big money man at the root of all this? Why are the CIA and DIA sniffing around and ALSO impeding the investigation? Thanks be that the prosecutor is on the side of justice AND Kane. Fantastic read! Francis G. Kearney is a great narrator for police novels and especially this series!
Off the Grid by Robert McCaw This book is set in Hawaii. The main protagonist is Chief Detective Koa who is trying to avoid politics and solve crimes. The murder of two invisible, off the grid people leads Koa down political paths he normally avoids at all costs. Holding a secret of his own, Koa, does his best to bring justice to all. When he discovers some of the mysterious victims secrets, he finds that Alice’s rabbit hole holds nothing over the spiraling plot he discovers. The author paints a somewhat different picture of Hawaii. Generally speaking shows such as Hawaii 50 show sparkling beaches and beautiful people. McCaw shows that there is poverty, politics and crime hidden under the ubiquitous leis. I enjoyed the book and Koa’s implacable tenacity.
Off The Grid by Robert McCaw is a mystery-thriller as Chief Detective Koa Kane discovers the remains of a body murdered and left to be disintegrated by lava flow at a Hawaiian volcano site. He is shocked to learn that a second horrific homicide the same day is also linked to the other murder. Added to the intrigue is the secret the detective has of his own. As he investigates the double murders, the detective uncovers a political conspiracy at the highest level in Hawaii’s government and beyond. The plot thickens when the CIA becomes involved. This is a book filled with the beauty of Hawaii, filled with suspense, mystery, murder and suspense. The more I read, the more I couldn’t put the book down and I believe readers will thoroughly enjoy reading it.
Wow what a good book! A wonderfully crunchy thriller/mystery wrapped in the mystique of Hawaii.
It's hard to express just how different Hawaii is from the mainland US. It's easy to visit and just see a gorgeous island with amazing beaches and amazing seafood. But there's a lot of history lurking under all that beauty. Our first day in Honolulu we were exhausted from traveling and decided to forgo the usual hotspots and visit Bishop's Museum...what an experience! We got a taste of the rich history and culture of Hawaii that stretches across the entire Pacific ocean and it changed out entire view of Hawaii
Librarians, highly recommended for your male patrons. Each book is an excellent stand alone read.
Think Hawaii Five-O, but on the Big Island! Chief Detective, Koa Kane, is investigating the murder of the tortured remains of body discovered in a lava flow...then the equally gruesome death of the victim’s wife. Not everyone is eager for Koa to solve these bizarre murders. The tangled web of lies and deceit could very well cost the detective his job, if not his life! If you enjoy fast paced, action packed police stories, then you definitely need to check out this series! The author-narrator team has knocked this book out of the park! Now on to the next book in the series. I accepted a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Koa Kane, the Hilo police lieutenant featured in this novel is one of my new favorite characters. Respectful when he needs to be, tough when he needs to be. His flawed past seems to make him a better investigator. McCaw does a good job of supplying local color and a dose of Hawaiian language and culture. This novel pulls together local city and state police, the CIA, FBI, and DIA all in a page-turning mystery of who left a body in the path of Kilauea's lava flow.
Interesting and different The fact that the book was set in Hawaii made it interesting and different from the majority of books. The plot was good and kept me interested. Some facts about the policeman's past didn't quite make sense as it never came into play. The narrator was a good choice and in my opinion did very well with the local words. I received a review copy at my request and voluntarily reviewed the book.
This book was sent to me by the author's publicist for a review.
I enjoy interesting murder mysteries and this one is right up there. Two unusual murders in one day and the twisting and turning of the both the murders and the political ambitions of the police chef and the former senator running for governor of Hawaii. Everything falls together in interesting ways and this was one of those books that I completely fell into.
The first few chapters are a little background heavy. At times I wish some of the background had come a little later or been cut all together. Once though the story got going it was difficult to put the book down.
A story full of plots, twists and turns that I read at one go. Main characters are relatable, the description of the places in Hawaii are just so well made that you can picture them! Also the way the detective´s thinking is constructed helps you get immersed in the story. I did enjoy reading this book ! I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I read this book because it was set in Hawaii... one of my favorite places. The characters were solid and the plot was good. I could picture the villages and roads, which made it fun to read. In all, it was a good story.
Love this series...Koa Kane is a great character. He has flaws, but also a heart of gold. I enjoy his interactions with his coworkers and his girlfriend. Learning more about the Hawaiian/Polynesia cultures with each book. A really great read!
Local, national, and international events coalesce on Hawaii Island. If it’s fiction, it must contain some truth. Koa Kane continues as a hero and team player in search of justice and honor. Fascinating and gruesome story kept me reading.
A quick read by a new author who bases his stories on the Big Island of Hawaii. I like the lead character Koa Kane but the plot is little over the top as something that was plausible and realistic. Entertaining so I rounded up to 4 stars.
Life is too short to waste on bad books. The reviewers of this book must be friends of the author or just so excited to have someone mention Hawaii they can overlook how bad the book really is. I was able to hold on until chapter 2 but that was it