I'd never heard Phil Gigante read before, and was truly impressed by his handling the range of characters, especially female voices. Plot suffered fro..Show More »m a slow start, and somewhat confusing (at least in audio) finale. I'd definitely read more of the series.
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 s..Show More »cenery 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.
I've seen reviews that state this one can be read as a stand-alone, which is probably true, but I'd still read the others first. Phil Gigante is a gre..Show More »at fit as narrator for the series.
As for the story here, frankly I found the first third or so rather boring, with Apelu moping around on a remote island alone, grieving for his young daughter who'd died on cancer; he blames himself for not having insisted she be treated earlier. The wife and kids are in Western Samoa with her family, except for the older boy, Senele, who comes to live with Apelu later in the story. Anyway ... once one of the pahlonghi (white American) associated with the construction crew is murdered, the action picks up, or at least we have something to go on from there. The ending is quite rushed, almost tacked on, so I didn't really get why the victims were killed specifically?
The book filled time, but if I had to describe it in a single word: grim. Between Apelu's morbid moping, and the nasty characters, it was tough to actually like reading this one. I will give Enright credit for the way he so thoroughly coveys a sense of place and culture. On to the next installment, which just came out ... though probably not right away.