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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mystery Set in Hawaii Catches Island Flavor

Pele’s Realm
By Roberta Summers
Silverjack Publishing
5101 College Blvd., Suite 5049
Farmington, NM 87402
FAX 505-566-3698
ISBN-10: 0981673724
ISBN-13: 978-0981673721
$15.95 Amazon

Reviewed by Connie Gotsch

An unsolved Hawaiian Mafia murder of the 1970s inspired author Roberta Summers to write “Pele’s Realm.” Twenty-five years of living in the Islands, watching constant eruptions of Mauna Ulna Crater on the flank of the Mauna Loa Volcano, art studies, running galleries, and learning Hawaiian legends further served as background for the book.

The plot is simple. John and Maggie marry and settle down for what they think will be an uneventful life of love and caring for each other. Unfortunately as the former owner owner of a Honolulu art gallery, Maggie has connections to a murdered Mafia wife. The woman’s husband and henchmen fear Maggie and John know too much about her for anybody’s good. Soon the somewhat psychic John has premonitions of disaster for himself and his wife.

From here,“Pele’s Realm” could unravel into just another detective story, but Summers’ knowledge of Hawaii, down to city streets in Honolulu and Hilo; and the terrain in Volcano National Park, gives the novel a sense of place not always present in crime genres. With this setting, she uses Hawaiian custom and belief, to drive plot and develop character in the story.

Action rises amid vivid descriptions of wedding leis, curtains of volcanic fire, lush vegetation, sudden storms, sea turtle rides, and luxurious yachts. The volcano itself and the goddess Pele who controls it become central to the drama. The combination keeps the reader turning the pages to the end. “Pele’s Realm” makes a great escape from winter in the United States, and a good introduction to an ancient culture that has adapted to modern times.
Connie Gotsch is author of A Mouth Full of Shell and Snap Me a Future and was Featured in "The Complete Writer's Journal" published by Red Engine Press.Learn more at

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