Neil S. Plakcy
Alyson Books, Aug 2009, $14.95
Honolulu Police Detective Kimo Kanapa'aka ended his six-months relationship with Fire Inspector Mike Riccardi after his significant other cheated on him while attending a conference in San Francisco; Mike, who is still hiding in the closet from his family and peers, came back with gonorrhea. However, though he kicked the hunk to the curb, Kimo has struggled with his equilibrium; even accepting rough sex with some kick butt guys he meets over the Internet. His brothers and a friend intervene trying to help Kimo regain his self worth.
An arson fire in a shopping center leads to the death of a young boy. Kimo and Mike investigate together; as they did when they first met and fell in love with eighteen months ago. They remain attracted to one another but wary. Kimo finds clues that the fire was set to hide human smuggling and prostitution. He soon finds photos used by a blackmailer to extort money from those caught in sexual encounters that they might not want revealed. This includes Kimo who sees himself in a picture with one of his recent illicit sex mates that if revealed could cost him his career.
This is an enjoyable gay investigative tale that mixes a strong whodunit with deep caring characters. The key to this terrific entry is Kimo who puts a realistic face on a gay cop whose significant other male lover devastated him by cheating on him. The official inquiry into the arson-homicide is super though perhaps too easily forcing Kimo and Mike to meet. However that case and the deep look at issues gays face with in or out make surfing Hawaii’s waves with Kimo and company thoughtful fun.