Here is another Kevin Corvelli mystery that is, in my opinion, a step above the first. This is going to be fun to see what Corleone’s next novel will hold for us. If you get in on the ground floor and follow the protagonist and his surrounding characters, it is an interesting psychological study to watch them grow as the author continues to let them develop as the story does.
Here is Amazon’s write-up:
“Kevin Corvelli—a hotshot New York defense attorney who packed up his bags and hung his shingle in Hawaii to dodge the spotlight—is deep in his mai tais at a resort when an argument erupts down at the other end of the bar. It’s a pair of newlyweds, married that very day on the beach. And since Corvelli doesn’t do divorces, he all but dismisses the argument.
That’s at least until the fire breaks out later that night, and he barely escapes his hotel room. Most weren’t so lucky, including the new husband. His wife, Erin, becomes not only the police’s prime suspect for arson and murder but also Corvelli’s newest client, and she has a lot working against her, like motive and opportunity, not to mention a history of starting fires.”
That is the only spoiler you will get from me! I will say that I was left scratching my head at the end. Humans are strange sometimes.
The book might be even more entertaining for a reader if you are from Hawaii. There are more things that tie the story to the State of Hawaii than I expected. Like the Amazon quote says, Kevin Corvelli finds himself in a nice bar courting a lady whom he refers to as “the cougar” when he speaks about her — because the jerk that he is cannot remember her name. They are getting ready to leave the establishment and the first stunning comment comes for Hawaii readers as Corvelli is about to pay the tab.
“I slide my blue Bank of Hawaii debit card across the bar, trying not to look any of the half dozen waitresses in the eye…”
Hey! I could not believe what I was reading — I have two of those in my wallet! Mr. Corvelli, very soon thereafter, finds his drunk self in the room of a burning hotel – with a door knob that is too hot to handle. Freaking out and trying to make an escape via the locked door of the adjoining room, Mr. Corvelli has a discussion with that same card.
“…I fish around in my pockets for my Bank of Hawaii debit card. I finally find the card in the last pocket left to search. With the blue piece of plastic in hand, I rise to my feet and…”
Corvelli has done this before but he is now freaking, shaking, and probably wishing he had not chosen to have a fling with this “cougar” after all.
“As the smoke in the room thickens I stare down at the debit card, my eyes stinging, sweat pouring down my cheeks. ‘You got me into this fucking mess,’ I mutter to the piece of plastic, ‘now you get me the hell out.’”
It did. I never realized my bank card was so handy! He got out of that burning building and thus begins the tale of the Night on Fire. This also begins (or continues) the reader’s relationship with this peculiar attorney who is not always easy to like. If you have read Douglas Corleone’s first Kevin Corvelli novel, then you know what I mean. Corvelli always seems to find ways out of the drama he gets himself into! But, when it comes to his own health, his excessive intake of liquor, his arrogance, and his horrible taste in women, he is hopeless!
He does know how to pick a good financial institution and he does hold his own in the court room. Corvelli knows how to make the law work in favor of his clients — if there is a way, he finds it! Corvelli also starts to show a little piece of his humanity which, until now, has been somewhat lacking. Part of that may be because of how self-absorbed he seems to be. There is a young boy who adds a touch of humanity to things and there are times when we get a glimpse into Corvelli’s head, just a little bit.
“Does the method of murder matter? Is there a ‘cruel and unusual’ standard that can be applied to homicide just as it is to punishment? Should the age and gender of the victims be of concern? Should I only represent the killers of men and not women and children?”
That got me thinking. Corvelli answers himself by acknowledging that in his profession a line can “never be drawn.” Defend them all or not at all.
If you are worried that I am being too harsh on Kevin Corvelli, attorney at law, do not concern yourself too much. A reader does not have to like a character to understand his or her drama or appreciate the storyline. In fact, Douglas (our author) wrote a guest blog post about flawed characters on Debbi Mack: My Life on the Mid-List where he writes:
We all have our flaws, writers and readers alike. So why shouldn’t our heroes be flawed, too? I admit, it’s sometimes difficult to walk the fine line between creating a flawed protagonist and someone readers will dislike. The hero, no matter how flawed, must still elicit sympathy in the reader. The reader must still want to get behind his cause. But that can be accomplished by a writer, even if his or her hero doesn’t always do the right thing, even if the hero is sometimes unsure about what is right and wrong.
Oh, good. I really didn’t want to like the guy, I just wanted him to fix the problems! I felt better after I read that. Besides, like I said, Corvelli was getting a little more human as the story went along.
“Defendant in Makaha killed a peacock, Kevin. With a baseball bat.”
“A peacock?” I say. “Why in the hell would anyone do that?“
“She said it was constantly squawking.”
His partner is furious when Kevin does not take the case when their firm needs the money very badly.
“This woman took a baseball bat to the head of a defenseless peacock, Jake.”
He stands there, mystified. “And?”
“And we’ve got to draw the line somewhere,” I say.
There is that proverbial line drawing again! I was shocked again by that one. Remember this story??? Corvelli gets kudos for not wanting to defend that crazy bitch! Yes, the book is fiction but that story actually did happen and a lot of us were ticked at that woman!
One thing I did notice in moving from one novel to the next — the supporting characters in Mr. Corvelli’s world were much more likeable in the second novel and they seemed to have cleaned up their acts. They always knew how to do their jobs, they just seriously needed to pull themselves together.
In recent years, Hawaii has lost its share of entertainers. Most people are familiar with the name, Don Ho but not everyone is familiar with the name, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, affectionately known as Iz.
“A local band takes the small stage and soon we’re somewhere over the rainbow again.”
Even if the name is not familiar to you, Israel’s version of Over the Rainbow has been a theme song for more than one recent movie — so you will recognize it when you hear it. It is still played often here because we like it.
So, do I have any complaints about the book? Just one.
“It typically takes forty-five minutes just to purchase a pack of Stride gum at the local 7-Eleven.”
That is so NOT true! Corvelli is back on the bad list again! Kevin is just lucky that I liked the court scenes so much!
In my failed quest to make it to at least one of the author’s book signings, I actually ended up with an extra signed copy from the Barnes & Noble in Ala Moana Shopping Center. Since I missed that signing and Douglas Corleone completely, that signed copy, I have two, is not personalized. What a great giveaway!
All you have to do it leave a comment on this blog and you will be entered into a drawing! I am making the deadline for this a longer (until June 21st) since this post has been listed with the Book Review blog carnival that is scheduled to go live on June 19th. I want the other carnival participants to have a chance to win. If you are here after June 21 2011, I am sorry, the giveaway is over. If this post has tweaked your interest, go get your copy of Night on Fire!
Facebook-ians, your comments must be left over here at The Writing Sprite’s blog in order to be eligible. Facebook comments are, of course, welcome but you need to follow that link and leave a comment on the blog as well in order to be eligible to win the book from this award-winning author!
Readers might want to think about getting One Man’s Paradise (the first in the series) so that they can watch the characters develop! In the third Kevin Corvelli novel by Douglas Corleone it is going to be interesting to see how the characters are carrying on with their lives!