BOOK REVIEW: Blood Orchids – by Toby Neal

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Title: Blood Orchids
(Lei Crime #1)
Author: Toby Neal
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: December 2nd 2011
Finished reading: April 6th 2016
Pages: 314
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“Everything has to do with everything else—you know that by now. So begin at the beginning, and it will lead to the end.”

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I have been meaning to read more mystery/thriller books as well as escaping the YA/love triangle combination, so I decided to pick up one of my kindle freebies: Blood Orchids by Toby Neal. When I first started reading this story, it had all the signs it would be a typical fast-paced whodunit read. I especially liked the setting in Hawaii and the references to the culture; it really shows that the author grew up there herself. The main character is a policewoman named Lei Texeira; her complicated past causing her to be almost too involved in the current case she is working on. I’m not sure I like all aspects of her character, but she does feel real. What did bother me though were the romance scenes and the fact that not even changing genres helped me escape a love triangle. The romance scenes distracted from the main plot and I don’t think the love triangle was necessary… They mostly made me enjoy this story a lot less. Also, I think Blood Orchids might have too many different subplots, which is distracting. I actually thought the story was already finished at one point, only to find more chapters that didn’t really add anything substantial. In short, Blood Orchids had a lot of potential and I really enjoyed the first part of the story, but I feel the story would have been a lot better without too many distracting ‘background’ plots and romance scenes.

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Lei Texeira has had a difficult past, but she has been trying to get past it and now works as a cop in the quiet Big Island town of Hilo. Being a cop in Hilo normally mostly involves petty crimes, but that changes when she finds the bodies of two murdered teenagers on a routine patrol. She knows one of the victims, and even though she isn’t officially on the case, she becomes involved anyway trying to find justice. Flashbacks from the past bring back memories and soon Lei is obsessed with the case. But she also has other things on her mind… She is being stalked and doesn’t know if she still feels safe in her own home. Lei is wondering if the stalker and the killer might just be one and the same; but can she find evidence to back that up and will they find him before he kills again?

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Blood Orchids started out as an entertaining read and I enjoyed the Hawaii setting. The pace is fast and the story sounds like a typical whodunit, interesting enough but nothing extraordinary either. Unfortunately, I felt like too many things were going on at the same time, which made the plot less credible. Also, the last few chapters felt superfluous and only made the plot look more chaotic. Still, I would probably have given this book a higher rating if it wouldn’t have been for the annoying love triangle and bad romance scenes…

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8 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Blood Orchids – by Toby Neal

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