Looks can be deceiving on American Samoa, a lush tropical hideaway that masks a fierce warrior spirit. No one knows this better than Apelu Soifua, the Samoan-born, American-bred police officer who lives on a knife’s edge, charged with keeping the peace between native and new in the heart of paradise. When a routine patrol on a remote jungle estate uncovers an interisland smuggling ring, it doesn’t take long for Apelu to realize there’s more than just cigarettes and bootleg CDs at stake. Someone is trafficking humans - and they won’t hesitate to set up a cop to take the fall. Now framed for murder, Apelu is forced into hiding and relentlessly pursued by police as he races to uncover the truth. His only ally is an enigmatic American widow who is anything but what she seems. He’s playing with fire - but can he unmask a killer before he gets burned?
©2013 John Enright (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
While the book stands alone, I'd recommend reading the first story before this one to get a sense of Apelu's world. Frankly, the cultural notes, and scenery description, carry the story, rather than the plot. Moreover, I was never really fond of Apelu himself, who seemed rather self-congratulatory about being such a decent, loyal guy; I found myself chuckling as he's called out on that near the end. In the previous story, he relied on help from a savvy female (sidekick) to solve the crime; I was sorry that the journalist from that one doesn't appear here, but a mysterious Samoan-speaking Caucasian widow does the job well.
Phil Gigante's audio narration fits well for the series.
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