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The Stone Lantern by Samantha Stevens

four stars

When fifty-year old Jessie Bradford travels from San Francisco to Hawaii to settle her Uncle Rod’s multi-acre estate she thinks it will be a relatively easy process. Just decide whether to keep the property, lease it, or sell it and then hire someone to help her do that for the most money. But when an ancient burial tomb is discovered with forty year old remains inside, Jessie’s life is turned upside down and a process that she thought might take a couple of weeks ends up taking a couple of months. Detective Lieutenant John “Mac” McIntire knows as soon as he see the remains in the cave, with the skull bashed in, that he has a homicide on his hands. He also knows as soon as he sees the tarnished silver belt buckle on the skeleton, that the remains can belong to no one other than Allen Bradford, the father of his high school sweetheart, Jessie Bradford. As Allen Bradford’s secrets are slowly uncovered a cold case gets a little warmer and as Mac and Jessie reignite their relationship, who knows what will happen this summer in, The Stone Lantern.

Samantha Stevens’ novel is a fun journey into Hawaiian life and culture. Along with the enticing mystery of Jessie’s father and his mysterious death, Stevens provides a look into modern-day Hawaii and the struggles and successes that it faces. Stevens’ writing is straightforward, realistic, and enjoyable. The Stone Lantern is a murder mystery, romance, cowboy adventure, and is certainly well-worth the read.