Dominated by the culture, language and the beauty of Hawaii; The Last Death is an excellent first or second draft that somehow managed to get published. It's a map, an almanac and a language book all in one. If youíve ever wanted to learn anything at all about Hawaii such as what route to take from one place to the next, what the weather is like in any part of the island for most of the year, or the language -- especially the language -- read this book. If you're looking for well-told mystery, look elsewhere.
Phillip Carnegie, a middle-aged police detective on Hawaii, is investigating a string of murders that indicate a serial killer is on the loose. Carnegie welcomes the opportunity to either confirm or disprove that theory, as the drug case he's been working on has stalled. When the brutal murders start to creep around the people he cares about, however, the detective fears he's bitten off more than he can chew.
Many books have filled their pages with tales of culture and people that most readers donít know at all or severely misunderstand; hopefully, after reading the book, the reader is more well-informed and is enthused about learning more. Not so with this book. The exorbitant use of the Hawaiian language makes the reader think that this is merely a language book disguised as a mystery. The reader is beaten over the head with every point that author John A. Roynesdal is trying to make about life in Hawaii past and present; each detail is excruciatingly repeated time and time again. The writerís pathetic attempts at showing both sides of Hawaii are confusing and contrary. The Hawaiian characters go from being intelligent and realistic to caricatures of the dumb-Hawaiian myth. The excessive amount of detail that crams the book will make the reader either vomit on the book from disgust or suffer such a blinding headache that they burn the book to prevent another one.
The characters donít stay consistent -- they change for seemingly no reason at all and, not surprisingly, they are made up of the usual cast that one would expect. The fat captain who doesnít really work but criticizes and interferes with the genius rogue Detective Carnegie, making Carnegie have to go out on a limb and solve the case on his own; three other friends on the force cover the role of any assistant that has ever been assigned to help any cop in any mystery known to man. Thereís also the helpful secretary and an outside accomplice who happens to know the suspect in the case and is able to help Carnegie figure out the crime.
The actual story line for the book is great and the plot twists that are there are fantastic and worthy of the best mystery writers in the business. However, the reader has to sort through so much crap and nonsense that itís not worth it to find that out. If this book had been worked over with a red pencil a couple more times before printing, it would be many times better. As it is, no one will blame the reader for never wanting to set foot on the shores of Hawaii for fear that people actually do talk and think in as dumb a fashion as they do in this book.