The Diamond Head Deception
by James Blakley
After putting Iowa crop insurance cheats out to pasture, independent insurance fraud investigator Luna Nightcrow heads to Hawaii, but not for a vacation. The Shilpa, an Indian ocean liner, sinks and Luna is hired to determine if it still carries "Pacific Splendor" (a rare diamond insured for $15 million). The trouble is that Luna's not the only one looking for the diamond. Secessionists, sportsmen, and other suspects might sink to any depths to recover or smother Pacific Splendor.
When dispatch confirmed, Valerosa hit the brakes and twirled a U-turn. The squad car took off in the opposite direction and didn’t stop, until it reached a small, red-and-white colored light house state park off the highway. And parked on the road that led to the historic marker and small picnic area was a battered, gray cargo van with a blown back tire.
Valerosa brought the squad car to a screeching halt. She drew her Smith & Wesson 9 MM pistol and got out. Luna followed, but Valerosa signaled for her to stay back. The Detective Sergeant moved swiftly toward the van. Once there, she peeked through the driver’s side window. No one was inside. Then, Valerosa proceeded to search around and below the van.
Meanwhile, Luna decided to try the light house. She crept down the narrow dirt path to the cliff on which the old structure stood. Once there, she noticed the door was ajar. The insurance investigator drew the Browning semi-automatic handgun from her back pocket. She pushed the door open and stepped inside.
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The Diamond Head Deception by James Blakley features insurance investigator Luna Nightcrow as she deals with a couple of cases in vastly different circumstances. Using her intuition and analytical abilities, plus a variety of allies and assistants, Luna does her best to bring her cases to a successful close, hopefully while remaining alive.
This mystery story has elements of suspense and gives an interesting view of the lengths an investigator might go to in order to make sure a claim is legitimate. The unconventional solutions she comes up with are vividly depicted in the initial case described, and then the action shifts to more exotic climes. There are multiple secondary characters who act both as intriguing foils and red herrings as the mystery unfolds. I am dismayed by the frequent shifts in points of view which detract from the story as it unfolds but I enjoyed the glimpses of the Hawaiian Islands as experienced by Luna and her associates.
There are intriguing nuggets of information scattered throughout the story, and a delightfully diverse cast of characters although some of the connections didn’t quite ring true for me and I wasn’t completely convinced by way some things turned out. I like capable heroines, and Luna was a fun character to read about, and, although the action got a little fantastical, this will probably be enjoyed by those in search of an entertaining light mystery.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review.