Murder on Mokulua Drive: A Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mystery
by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson
Artemesia Publishing

"…it had seemed like life was finally moving away from deadly matters."

If life is what happens when you’re making other plans, then in a cozy mystery, murder is what happens when you’re making life. Such is the way of things for Natalie Seachrist who, in her second outing in this series, is at a relatively happy crossroads—moving in with her boyfriend Keoni and relaxing into a warm and welcoming community—until murder interrupts the peaceful idyll.

Shocked by the death of a new friend and deeply troubled by psychic dreams that may have foreshadowed and revealed details about the murder, Natalie and her close-knit community of colorful characters are rocked by the jarring homicide and desperate for answers. Life gets further complicated when a face from Natalie’s past arrives to solve the case, making for a crowded and potentially awkward situation just when Natalie and Keoni were set to enjoy this new stage in their relationship.

This author knows her genre, and she skillfully blends familiar ingredients that faithful cozy mystery readers will appreciate. The story is further enhanced with several compelling flourishes. First, the author draws on the rich history of Denmark’s safe evacuation of its Jewish population during World War II and integrates this legacy into her 21st-century characters. Next, while cozy sleuths are often known for their intuition, Natalie’s dreams are downright prescient, bringing a mystical quality to the crime-solving activities. Finally, the book’s love affair with its Hawaiian setting is contagious, and the location details create an alluring atmosphere. All these added components bring depth and freshness to a familiar format. If the mystery itself fails to hold the reader at seat’s edge for the final reveal, the book creates sufficient curiosity that, when paired with the friendly cast and creative touches, the novel makes a pleasant and satisfying diversion for a cozy afternoon.

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