Authors Showcase: Stolen in Paradise by Toby Neal
April 7, 2015
The Book: Stolen in Paradise
The Author: Toby Neal
The Story: One betta fish, two dead biologists, three trysts, four suspects and thirty-five pairs of shoes add up to complicated days in paradise for Special Agent Marcella Scott.
Marcella gets into sand way over her Manolos investigating the death of a prominent scientist washed up on a Waikiki beach with a bullet hole between the eyes. BioGreen, a genetically-engineered algae that could solve the world fuel crisis, has been stolen from the development lab—a hotbed of intrigue where everyone on the project has something to hide.
Marcella also has a secret vice, more dangerous than expensive shoes—and it leads her into arms that are too close for comfort.
About Toby Neal:
Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. She wrote and illustrated her first story at age five and has been published in magazines and won several writing contests. After initially majoring in Journalism, she eventually settled on mental health as a career and loves her work, saying, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.”
She enjoys many outdoor sports including bodyboarding, scuba diving, beach walking, gardening and hiking. She lives in Hawaii with her family and dogs.
Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters-from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable heroine in the Lei Crime Series.
Review by Mrs. Reinig:
Stolen in Paradise is a turn-off-your-phone and curl up and read kind of a book. I set out to read it with certain expectations, having read Toby Neal’s work before. “I know Toby Neal” I thought. I expected a swift moving plot, a nasty villain, a heinous crime, and a lot of psychological layering, to tie it all together. I got all that, but…on page twelve, an eyebrow shot up. On page twenty-six, my eyebrows went up. (not one, but both eyebrows).
I scrapped my preconceived notions and relaxed into a thoroughly enjoyable, unpredictable read. At times, I chortled aloud, despite being on public transportation, and looking exceptionally silly doing so. Marcella Scott, while hinting at layers of underlying emotional issues, actually comes through as one of the most bold, charismatic, accurate images of a strong, modern woman, with dynamic, take no prisoners attitude, and a healthy, robust sexual appetite, that I’ve ever read.
Marcella is the awesome chick you meet and instantly want to be friends with. She’s bold, she’s fearless, she’s sexy, and she owns it. She’s a woman I’ve met, and known, and loved, and laughed with. She’s real. The villain wasn’t who I thought it was, and the crime was interesting and well presented. I finished the book after two days, and said “damn”. I wasn’t ready to quit reading.
Review by Sam Pearce:
I’ve read all of the Lei crime series so far, and when I got this book I knew it was going to be great. I wasn’t wrong. This book talks in depth about Marcella, the FBI agent who is also Lei’s best friend. It takes place a bit before the fourth Lei novel and it helps set the stage for it a bit while not even being about Lei.
When Marcella was first introduced I was quite excited about the idea she might get her own book. She was such a strong character that she demanded one. I was especially excited to see that she did in fact get one. The book itself emphasized further how strong her character is, and it gives a closer look into the kind of person she really is. She struggles with her past and her present, while dealing with work and a boss who seems to hate her. But with her parents there to support her, along with a hottie or two, she tackles a tough case even while it tangles into a deep web that really hits home.
I hope there is more in this series (and maybe one more branch out character…*cough* Sophie *cough*) because I really enjoyed it. Fans of the Lei crime series look out, Marcella’s going to knock your designer shoes off!!