SHAVE ICE PARADISE
Mark Daniel Seiler
Owl House Books (2020)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/2020)
“Shave Ice Paradise” by Mark Daniel Seiler is a rendezvous with murder, mayhem and intrigue set in the tropical paradise of Hawaii.
Something’s just not right with the circumstances surrounding her Aunt Nalani’s death, and Gina Mori won’t rest until she uncovers the truth. With her impulsive and headstrong personality, Gina soon finds all sorts of trouble (or does it find her) as she goes up against corporate giants, corruption, coverup and local authorities. During all this madness she meets Julius, aka Curly, and the two become a couple. But Curly has a secret past and Gina is a girl on a mission – when the two collide it’s anything but paradise.
Let me just begin this review with a totally unprofessional, OMG, because – OMG, “Shave Ice Paradise” is such a fun, engaging story! I feel like I should warn readers right of the bat – don’t start reading it unless you don’t mind your cancelling your plans, leaving your house a mess, or spending the weekend in your P.J.’s (or similar lounge attire), because once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down!
Hawaii makes a beautiful backdrop for a novel and Mark Daniel Seiler sets a charming stage with scenes full of colorful, tropical splendor, local culture and authentic traditions. I have never been to Hawaii and yet I felt I was experiencing a bit of the islands and the culture, strengthening my resolve to get there one day. Seiler introduces the reader to traditions, history and even the language through an engaging plotline and genuine dialogue. There is no “fact-dumping” but a seamless interweaving of information as events unfold.
For me, it’s the characters that make this story shine. Every character has a personality you won’t soon forget – they are quirky, inventive and full of gumption – especially Gina. Strong-willed and reactive, sometimes you just have to shake your head in wonder about where she gets some of the hair-brained ideas she comes up with. You might just find yourself praying she’ll come out of things alive. I loved everything about her character. Gina is a jack-of-all-trades-kinda-girl with a job using a different skillset every day. It’s hilarious to consider what her curriculum vitae looks like! She’s also brilliant and no clue escapes her keen intuition. She’s a strong female lead and it’s exciting to root for her.
Overall I found “Shave Ice Paradise” by Mark Daniel Seiler to be a witty, contemporary, well-written cozy mystery full of sparkling characters and a genuine tropical vibe. I highly recommend this read – it’s an energetic and engaging mystery!