Moon Over Maalaea Bay, by H.L. Wegley (Harbourlight Books, 2014)
Moon over Maalaea Bay is book 3 in the Pure Genius series, and it picks up hours after the end of book 2 (On the Pineapple Express). If you plan to read this series from the beginning, stop here or you’ll find out more than you want to know about plot points from the earlier books.
Still with me? Okay. Brilliant and beautiful Jennifer Akihara and her fiancé, Lee Brandt, were instrumental in breaking open one arm of an international human trafficking ring and rescuing teenage girls who would have been sold into terrible situations.
The couple has earned a break, and how better to spend it than honeymooning in Hawaii? Except now there’s not just one group of villains wanting revenge on Jennifer, there are two. Thanks to the publicity surrounding the captured girls’ rescue, both groups know where to find her.
One takes her. Frantic with worry, Lee doesn’t trust the local police (and the FBI who quickly swarm the area) to move fast enough. He, Jennifer’s grandfather, and Katie, who will be the Brandts’ adopted daughter as soon as the paperwork is finished, set out to find Jenn before it’s too late.
The novel alternates between Jenn’s and Lee’s points of view, and the pace doesn’t let up. I’m glad I read the previous book and developed a trust for H.L. Wegley’s writing. Jennifer’s enemies have an extremely bad ending planned for her, and I wouldn’t have wanted to risk what a new-to-me author might include in the text. Mr. Wegley conveys the danger without anything graphic or gratuitous.
The entire novel spans roughly 24 hours as Lee races to save his wife and Jennifer uses all her wits to find a way to escape. This is a Christian novel, and one of the things Lee grapples with is how much harder it is to trust God to look after the woman he loves than it is to trust Him with his own life or death.
As well as the action (including some impressive Karate from Katie) I enjoyed the chance to vicariously swim with the giant sea turtles off the Maalaea Bay beach. An end note from H.L. Wegley reveals that Hawaii is his favourite vacation spot, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with how authentic the setting feels.
There will be one more book in the Pure Genius series, releasing later this year. H.L. Wegley blogs at The Weather Scribe, and his novels offer “A climate of suspense and a forecast of stormy weather.”
[Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]