#9: Birds in Paradise, by Dorothy St. James
Synopsis: A street rat turned unlicensed PI nearly gets herself killed while making eyes at a good-hearted Honolulu homicide detective. Meanwhile, someone is kidnapping prostitutes, apparently.
It was well after midnight and I was still searching for Sally Porter — a woman none of the prostitutes seemed to know — when I noticed that my shadow had returned. Not wanting anyone to witness my meeting with this mysterious Sally Porter — I was still confident I could find her — I gave my shadow the slip at the Ala Wai Canal by climbing into a thick growth of mangrove trees on the bank of the canal. Their web-like roots and limbs swallowed me into their darkness, making me as invisible as the native plants the alien mangrove trees were displacing.
A short romantic/PI story set in Honolulu that fell a little too squarely into romance, with the result that the rest of the plot suffered mightily. It felt like chick-lit with a detective twist! or some other obnoxious phrase where you’d expect the front cover to have a high-heeled shoe on it.
The protagonist, Kyra, needs a good hard slap; she has the brains of a mangrove tree and spends all her time lusting after a homicide detective who took an interest in her while she was living on the streets. He alternately fends her off with a stick and tells her she’s moving into his house as his little sister. Neither aspect makes sense based on their relationship.
Did I mention they sleep together when he thinks she’s turned to prostitution?
Here is where I lost interest entirely: if you have your protagonist say that she has a “strong sense of right and wrong” you need to reconcile how that works with her being a compulsive liar and a pickpocket. Or at least show me how this is going to bite said protagonist on the ass, because otherwise my eyes will roll so far back into my head I’ll be watching old movies on my brain stem.
What can I say? I tried it because it was free.
“Birds in Paradise” is available for the Kindle.