Sixth in the eight-book Aloha Mystery Series, “I’m Kona Love You Forever,” fits well into this highly entertaining cozy mystery sequence with locales of the islands of Hawaii. Most importantly, it shares a wonderfully executed stand-alone mystery, something so crucial in any excellent amateur sleuth series.
Lili and David, both just months under 18, go to “Let’s Get Maui’d,” a wedding planning shop owned by Pali Moon, the protagonist of the series. The couple have set a wedding date three weeks away. They come armed with their birth certificates. David’s is certified, Lili’s is a copy. But Hawaiian law requires a certified copy of birth certificates in order for those under 18 to wed. Pali steps in and contacts a friend who works in the Maui Vital Records office to speed up the more than a month wait for a formal request so that the kids can marry on their chosen date.
That’s when Pali discovers the birth certificate copy Lili holds is that of a girl who died at birth. “In early January it fell to me to tell the bride she was dead.”
Pali is a sucker for young love and vows to help the kids out. As she digs further to track down Lili’s actual birth certificate and obtain a corrected copy, she goes to Kona, the place of Lili’s birth. The mystery only deepens and Pali uncovers so much more than anyone anticipates. Family secrets and deaths complicate the situation. What has Pali gotten herself into?
Readers meet the people in Pali’s life (some of whom are quite quirky), along with Lili’s and David’s families and friends. JoAnn Bassett excels in bringing these characters to life and interspersing the vivid descriptions to immerse us into the Hawaiian locales.
Subtle references to prior stories add a seamless continuation of the series, while not confusing the present story. This story certainly ensnares the readers in its mystery while immersing them in Hawaiian culture.
The realistic dialogue, dashes of humor, and interesting subplots speed the progression of the main plot, which has plot twists that keep readers both guessing and involved within the story. The author does not disappoint with the surprising conclusion of this murder mystery. The rich sights and exquisite sounds – the overall experience of Kona on the island of Hawaii – the Big Island – are yours for the taking and enjoying from your favorite reading perch.