By Toby Neal
The latest Lei Crime novel will publish on November 10. It’s available now for pre-order on Amazon.
Body retrieval in ninety feet of open ocean wasn’t for sissies. Sergeant Leilani Texeira hoped she was up to the task as she stood with her longtime partner, Pono Kaihale, on the deck of the heavy Coast Guard Zodiac while it sliced its way across the ocean toward Molokini, a tiny half-moon-shaped atoll off the coast of Maui. A Maui Police Department ball cap pulled low and tight kept the hair out of her eyes, and in spite of their urgent task, Lei enjoyed the smack of the gusty breeze on her cheeks.
“Got to keep an eye out for whales.” Pono scanned the horizon through his trademark Oakleys, worn so constantly they’d made grooves in the brown flesh above his ears. The water around them was the deep blue of lapis, streaked with whitecaps. Both of them watched for whale spouts, scanning the horizon. “We could run into one at this speed.”
Pono’s `aumakua, or ancestral guardian, was the humpback whale. Lei knew he worried about the many boats crisscrossing Maui’s warm waters between November and May, where the whales were calving and breeding.
They soon reached the shallow, sheltered bay of the atoll, a popular snorkeling and diving destination for the tourist industry. The Zodiac drew abreast of a snorkeling charter vessel that had called in the discovery of a body.
It took only moments for the snorkel boat, a big catamaran, to throw a line to the Zodiac so they could side-tie the two boats together. The Coast Guard officers went aboard the catamaran first, Lei and Pono following. Tourists, various degrees of sunburned, clustered in anxious knots watching as the captain approached them, a deeply-tanned young man in a blue polo shirt that read Hokua on the pocket.
“Hey. Pretty great response time.”
“Thanks to the Coast Guard. Took us longer to get through the Kahului traffic than it did to get out here,” Pono said.
“We need to totally clear the bay here to secure the scene.” Lei spoke to the Coast Guardman standing beside her, whose name she’d heard but missed. She introduced herself and Pono to the Hokua’s captain. “Got somewhere private where you can tell us about the discovery?”
“Yes.” The captain led them up a metal ladder to his bridge above the main cabin. “So we took some snorkelers out in a batch and a smaller group of scuba divers. The scuba divers found the body wedged between some rocks at about ninety feet. We could tell it was a homicide.”
“How did you know?” Lei asked.
“Had a spear sticking out of her back,” the captain said flatly.
About Bone Hook
Maui’s ocean is beautiful, wild… and deadly.
It’s been five years since the events of Rip Tides, and Sergeant Lei Texeira gets into hot water much deeper than she’s used to at a crime scene ninety feet down off of the tiny atoll of Molokini, where the death of beautiful marine biologist Danielle “Lani” Phillips is anything but an accident. More suspects than a school of sharks circle a case that takes Lei into territory that hits dangerously close to home, even as husband Michael Stevens heads into his own uncharted depths.