Buy it direct from Torquere Books
Many beach reads take place in the city but sometimes you
just need to set one on a beach, and Rob Rosen has done just that in his latest
for Torquere Press, Hot Lava. This particular beach is in Hawaii, but
his characters are not just sunbathing twits. They also drink and have hot
restroom sex and—oh yes—solve mysteries. Rather complex mysteries, too.
Heading to start their vacation, BFFs Brandon and Chase
don’t even get off the plane before they run into Detective Will Stevenson,
escorting a prisoner named Lenny back to Waikiki. And Stevenson barely gets his
charge to the station before he runs into Chase again in the men’s room. But
before love can blossom (though sex does bud), Lenny escapes from his
destination. Then washes up dead on the beach. Helping Will find Lenny’s killer
takes all of Brandon and Chase’s wits—and wardrobe.
Rosen has crafted a skillful, complicated mystery with
quirky characters, including a Hawaiian street kid/hooker named Koni and Brandon’s
sister, Briana—a take-charge sort of gal who helps the boys sort out the
details. There’s a love story, some drag and lots of danger as our heroes
mai-tai their way through every bar and clue in Waikiki. And just when you
think you have things figured out, you find you’ve been misled and the ending
you were looking for is not the one you get.
Rosen’s prose is breezy and bright, peppered with some
clever dialogue tags and his characters do not, as in some beach reads, blend
together into one brash stereotype. His dialogue is also snappy and
to-the-point, coming from character rather than relying on stale, warmed-over
booze and boy jokes. And at a hair over 200 pages, it hits the ground running
and never stops.
So let your first beach read this summer be a true beach
read. Grab an umbrella drink, settle back in your sandy chaise lounge and snack
on this pineapple-ringed whodunit while you watch your toes turn tan.
After all, you’ll have to go back to work soon enough.
Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler