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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Kamalu by M. J. Hardy is a murder mystery based on the killings and modus operandi of a mysterious serial killer that is still uncaught to this day: The Honolulu Strangler. The story follows Dr. Charlie Taylor as she travels to Hawaii for a much-needed vacation after some harrowing days. Ready for time in the sun and sea, Charlie was not expecting to be asked to consult on a case that would send shivers down her spine. Someone was singling out women, raping them, strangling them, and then abandoning their bodies. The Honolulu Police Department asked for Charlie’s input in identifying the killer, finding, and stopping him before it was too late. Before she knew it, Charlie was consumed with the case and ready to do whatever it took to find that killer and bring him to justice.
I love to read history, and sadly that includes reading about serial killers and unsolved murders. The first time I read about the Honolulu serial killer, I was nauseated, and the fact that he was never caught made the tragedy even more devastating. The author did a grand job of doing justice to the story and the tragedy. While staying respectful, the author told the story of the victims and then created a story where readers could feel even a smidge of the fear the people of Hawaii, especially Honolulu, felt. The pace was perfect, and the narrative had the right number of twists and turns to keep the story interesting. Author M.J. Hardy’s writing style was engaging to keep the attention of readers on the story. Charlie was the perfect protagonist. Coming from outside Hawaii, she was an outsider looking in, which gave her the distance to look at the murders objectively and truly make a difference. She is calculating, smart and intelligent; everything you need in a protagonist. I would highly recommend Kamalu!