Wired Hard by Toby Neal
Paradise has nowhere to hide from a thief with an obsession.
Security specialist Sophie Ang has a new case: someone is looting artifacts from a royal Hawaiian archaeological site on Maui. Things get deadly fast, and Sophie’s friend, Lei Texeira, Maui homicide detective, takes the case.
The women track a killer whose tangled motives extend high into the world of Hawaiian cultural affairs, and deep into the darkest of human motivations—and all the while, Sophie walks a tightrope between new love and heartbreak.
Toby Neal is a featured author on www.bestsellingreads.com.
About Toby Neal:
Kirkus Reviews calls Neal’s writing, “persistently riveting. Masterly.”
Award-winning, USA Today bestselling social worker turned author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. Neal is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her stories. Neal’s police procedurals, starring multicultural detective Lei Texeira, explore the crimes and issues of Hawaii, and are so popular that they’ve spawned a licensed fan fiction world on Amazon.
Neal focuses on mystery but also writes romance, YA, and memoir.
Receive one of her books, full-length, award-winning Torch Ginger, by signing up for her email list at http://tobyneal.net/
Review by Brooke Frederick:
Sophie Ang is an interesting crime-fighting portrait whose story I thoroughly enjoyed. A former FBI agent, now in private security, she lives in the highly international yet fiercely local milieu of the Hawaiian Islands. She communicates in English but swears in Thai.
Not getting jokes in English (because she misses so many idioms and expressions) makes relationships more difficult for Sophie, as if she didn’t have trouble enough, with a stalker ex-husband whose violent streak is legendary. I found myself rooting for Sophie yet I also felt a certain distance from her.
The conflict starts quickly in the first page or two and builds throughout the book, taking the reader on some unexpected twists and turns involving historical Hawaiian artifacts valuable enough to kill, and die, for. Teaming up with her Detective friend Lei Texeira of the Maui Police Department, Sophie goes after the baddies, uncovering one surprise after another.
I only wished her love life were a tad more resolved by the end of this romp, but perhaps that is meant to happen in the next book in the series.
As mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed my brief trip to the criminal neighborhoods of Maui, and recommend this book to anyone looking for a satisfying mystery under the ornamental palms.
Review by F. M. Pepoon:
Wired Hard is the latest in Toby Neal’s Paradise Crime series, and I think it’s the best so far. As Sophie begins to settle into her role as a private security contractor, she is assigned to what appears to be a simple security guard role at an archaeological dig site in Lahaina, on Maui. However, things are not nearly as simple as they seem, and Sophie is quickly drawn into a tangle of Hawaiian artifacts, greed, money, and power. The plot is fast-paced and immersive – I couldn’t put down the book and read it in two days.
As with all Toby Neal’s characters, Sophie is a complex person. While on the surface, she is a strong, independent, intelligent woman, she also has scars from her past, both on the surface and in her psyche. This makes Sophie’s actions difficult to predict, and creates a person with whom most of us will be able to relate. Supporting characters are equally intriguing, especially the Ghost, with whom Sophie has become close, even as she struggles with his moral code.
Added to the twisting, enthralling plot and fascinating characters are the glimpses of Hawaiian culture that give Toby Neal’s books a deep richness that always keep me coming back for more. There is a real sense of place in the stories that make the reader feel a part of the books. From detailed descriptions of the land and people, to the food and culture, I always feel that I learn so much from these books.
The dig site in the book is fictional in name and some aspects, but after reading the book, I went online to find out more about the real dig site. I’ve been to Maui many times and never knew this site existed. Mahalo to Toby Neal for once again educating her readers.