Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life . . .
Call me silly, but why would anyone want to move away from Hawaii?!?! Well, I'd go on vacation to Scotland from Hawaii, but that would be about it. But I can totally understand the homesickness Kailani experienced in DC.
The growing tension created by her ex-boyfriend showing up in Hawaii, (Kailani was done with him, but he...not so much) were like the incoming waves when the tide was rising, each a little bigger than the last. The first sighting was a surprise. The second was a shock. When he showed up outside the Jorgensen's house, it turned spooky. That wasn't the end of it.
And that wasn't the half of it (it being the troubles centered at the Jorgensen's house) either. The morning after a big house party, one of the guests is found face down in the pool. Apparently the husband is the last to know in this case, as the the 'lady of the house' had been having an affair with the dead guy.
Apparently the Mrs. would share her private time with just about anybody. Because there was a masseur at her spa with whom she was also sleeping. He was found dead later on the ocean side of the house, but I believe that was an accidental death, having to do with too much alcohol and really sharp lava rocks. And...Kailani suggested a friend of hers as tutor for the son, who was struggling in math. And HE took up with the Mrs. as well! It got so bad that it seemed like the only male in Hawaii that Mrs. Jorgensen did not sleep with was her husband!
I really don't know that I would have agreed to keep information like that confidential for a friend. Yes, you don't want something to happen to your friend, but there is loyalty owed to one's employer as well. You wouldn't let someone shoplift if you were working in retail. Someone working in a household should not be stealing from the family either.
Everything came to light in the end anyway. Mrs. turned up pregnant, and not by the Mr. But who was the father? Only the birth would tell.
And the 'last act' of the Kailani and her ex storyline was bite-your-nails, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful! It's hard to say whether I gasped or actually held my breath more! The dude was criminally insane. His physical, emotional and psychological abuse of Kailani was bad enough, but then he started stalking the Jorgensen children. Oh h-e-double-toothpicks NO!
There was so much going on in this story, it could have been a soap opera. But it was all believable to me. Sometimes it just hits the fan. And some lives get more of that than others. Sometimes, through no fault of your own, things don't go your way, or even seem to be actively going against you.
I've always wondered if a writer could set a novel in a place they have not lived, or to which they have not traveled. Ms. Reade lives in New Jersey, but her Hawaii was real to me (and I've been to Hawaii in real life, so I know). I'd like to read one of her other books (set in Thousand Islands, NY, Charleston, SC or the UK) just to see if it is consistent, but I have a feeling she'll do just as good a job with those locales. I definitely see more Reade books in my future.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New York City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, two cats, and a fish. She writes full time and is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York, and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, a novel in the same genre set outside Charleston, South Carolina. Her third novel, House of the Hanging Jade, is set in Hawaii and will be released in April, 2016. She is currently working on the first book of a series set in the United Kingdom (expected release date in early 2017). She loves cooking, reading, and traveling.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)