To Catch the Setting Sun

Fiction - Crime
322 Pages
Reviewed on 03/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alma Boucher for Readers' Favorite

The suspenseful crime thriller To Catch the Setting Sun by Richard I. Levine is set in Oahu. After thirteen years, Detective Henry Benjamin no longer only sees paradise; he also realizes that there is a dark side that is unknown to tourists. Benjamin is the target of a killer who is killing young Hawaiian women. Benjamin’s wife’s name is first on the killer’s list, and the victims are all known to Benjamin. The killer enrages Benjamin by leaving notes on the victims' bodies. Someone is prepared to destroy Benjamin to keep the truth hidden. During the investigation, Benjamin cannot trust anyone as danger awaits him at every turn. Benjamin is determined to solve the murders and get justice for the women.

To Catch the Setting Sun kept me on the edge of my seat with all the suspense and unexpected plot twists. It is a page-turner and had me guessing. The topics of poverty, crime, corruption, and abuse of power are handled with great care. Richard I. Levine shows different views of Oahu, the paradise, and the part where evil lurks in the background. There was no way I could predict who the killer was, and I was guessing until the end. The characters are superbly developed, interesting, authentic, and relatable. The story is action-packed, with danger waiting around every corner. Levine uses his knowledge of the area to deliver a brilliant and intriguing story. The ending is unexpected and surprising; I did not see it coming.

Vincent Dublado

To Catch the Setting Sun by Richard I. Levine is a page-turning crime story set on the paradisaic island of Hawaii. It takes its plotline seriously and delves into a deeply personal examination of its protagonist and the circumstances surrounding his predicament. A serial killer is on the loose in Oahu, preying on young women native to the island. This killer is not killing just for kicks as every victim is familiar to Henry Benjamin, a disgraced police detective whose wife happens to be the killer’s first victim. Of course, this case is something that becomes personal, but his approach to tracking down the murderer doesn’t sit well with his colleagues. His lack of progress in the investigation triggers him into becoming a suspect; this is stoked by ongoing rumors which are further aggravated when he messes up the first crime scene. It is a big insult to his wife's memory and integrity, but he won’t stop now, especially when investigators are poking at the wrong hornet’s nest.

To Catch the Setting Sun conveys the overall tone of a storyline that is harrowing dramatic, and romantic. There are many profoundly effective scenes, especially Benjamin’s relationship with the locals. You have to give credit to Benjamin for the way he deals with the pests who are pointing to him as the serial killer. There is no question that despite Benjamin’s unlikeable behavior, part of him still manages to pull himself together because he knows that the road he faces is not going to be an easy one. For the most part, the pacing is brisk as most crime stories should be, and the trajectory peaks to a satisfying resolution. The story carries power. It isn’t developed to become a literary classic, but I strongly recommend it for its intelligence and entertainment value, something which it succeeds at without effort.

Sherri Fulmer Moorer

Henry Benjamin has seen a side of paradise hidden from most tourists. The New York transplant saw the seedier side of Hawaii when he took a job with the police department and immediately clashed with partners, higher-ups, and colleagues. Then a serial killer murdered his wife, the first in a string of murders of local women who were all connected with Benjamin. The problem is that his no-nonsense style made him plenty of enemies in and out of the system, so who could be targeting him in such a cruel manner? Eight months of no progress have left Henry disillusioned, frustrated, and constantly at odds with everybody around him as he continued to focus on finding the killer in a tangled web of deception and lies. To Catch the Setting Sun by Richard I. Levine is a fast-paced thrilling mystery that will keep you turning pages late into the night.

As a fan of mysteries, I’m always intrigued by novels that give an inside look at settings that most of us wouldn’t be exposed to, and this gives you a look at Hawaii that you don’t see on brochures. The beauty of the beaches and fierce native spirit is contrasted with the relationships, political connections, deception, and poverty that tourists never experience. Add an intriguing mystery with too many suspects and not enough leads, and you have a thrilling race against time before the killer strikes again. Richard I. Levine delivers an intriguing mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters that will live in your memory long after you turn the last page, wondering what happens next. I highly recommend To Catch the Setting Sun.

Rabia Tanveer

To Catch the Setting Sun by Richard I Levine is a crime story with suspense so thick you can almost taste it. Detective Henry Benjamin with the Honolulu Police is struggling to solve the latest case. Someone is killing beautiful young Hawaiian women one by one, and no one has any idea who he is. But it also appears that he’s targeting and taunting Henry who knew each victim and whose wife, Maya, had been the first name on that list. This New York transplant’s aggressive style was a source of friction with his laid-back colleagues who now viewed Henry’s uncharacteristic lack of progress in the investigation as evidence that fueled ongoing rumors that he could be the killer. But is that true? How can a detective of his caliber not solve a case like this? Is Henry the killer or is the killer taunting Henry by hitting him where it hurts most?

Henry is obsessed with his case and I truly sympathized with him. Even if it placed him right in the path of danger, Henry was ready to do whatever it took to capture the killer before it was too late. He has no one to trust, and he understands this early on. Richard I Levine makes sure you understand Henry completely before moving forward. The narrative is a slow burn, but it is oh-so-satisfying. It felt more like a dark noir novel with an obsessed protagonist ready to lose it all to get to the bottom of things. The narrative is dramatic with plenty of twists and turns to make sure you aren't going anywhere but staying right beside Henry until the end. To Catch the Setting Sun is fantastic, the character development was well-rounded, and the overall feeling of the story was dark and gritty. I know it will be loved by crime fans around the world.

Grace Ruhara

It must have been heartbreaking for Henry, the lead investigator in the death of five women, including Maya, his wife, the first victim who have been found mercilessly stabbed and molested. Henry is constantly reminded and bad-mouthed by his colleagues at work about killing his wife, and the other four women, as a cover to vindicate himself. Surprisingly, these women have similar characteristics, including height and weight, cuts, bruises, burns, and shockingly identical notes addressed to Henry. He cannot name the murderer or who might want to destroy him by linking him to these deaths. This keeps him close to the case, although he has no substantive evidence as to who the murderer is. He is also accused of stealing and hiding evidence that might help solve the puzzle and find who the real murderer is. Henry must therefore work toward finding the culprit before a sixth victim is linked to him, and he is accused of another murder.

To Catch the Setting Sun by Richard I. Levine is a crime mystery that will lock you in with its unexpected and suspenseful events. What I liked about To Catch the Setting Sun are the poems he introduces at the beginning of every chapter. They convey deeper emotions and feelings, making it easier to connect with and understand the characters' moods, thoughts, and actions. The poems also bring a sense of variety to the story, providing a form of intertextuality that makes this work authentic, as well as adding esthetic beauty. I also loved the various monologues that the characters expressed which helped reveal details about the plot and propel the story forward, creating a steady pace that was neither hurried nor slowed, making it enjoyable to comprehend each chapter.