The Diamond Head Deception

CoverAbout the Book by James Blakley

After putting Iowa crop insurance cheats out to pasture, independent insurance fraud investigator Luna Nightcrow heads to Hawaii, but not for a vacation. The Shilpa, an Indian ocean liner, sinks and Luna is hired to determine if it still carries “Pacific Splendor” (a rare diamond insured for $15 million). The trouble is that Luna’s not the only one looking for the diamond. Secessionists, sportsmen, and other suspects might sink to any depths to recover or smother Pacific Splendor.

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Reviewed by Felita Daniels

This book starts immediately with action.  I liked that Luna isn’t one to wait around for things to happen to her.  She jumps in and takes action. The length of this novel (216 pages) is not unusual for a cozy, but this work is NOT a cozy.  The action and mystery have enough time to be fleshed out.  As a reader, I would have welcomed some extra time devoted to get to know some of the characters a little bit better.

My understanding is that this is the author’s first book. I think there is a lot of potential here.  He’s a good storyteller.  A little more polish on the writing craft and some more experience under his belt and he will be well on his way.  Some sentences were a little awkward.  The grammar issues weren’t to the point it made me put the book down, but I did notice some.

If you like stories with a good amount of action and grit you will enjoy this read.  The elements of diamonds, the ocean liner and multiple individuals after the same thing make for a nice package.  This author is going on my ‘watch for new releases’ list.

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Author PhotoAbout the Author

James Blakley was educated at Missouri Western State College and Washburn University. While at MWSC, he was a local and national award-winning columnist and section editor of “The Griffon-News.” Blakley worked 10 1/2 years as a page and as an Assistant Librarian for the River Bluffs Regional Libraries of St. Joseph, MO. He currently lives in Topeka, KS where he worked for The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and several years in clerical and customer support capacities for international computer companies, such as EDS and HP.

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11 Comments

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11 Responses to The Diamond Head Deception

  1. Donamae

    Lots of action. Interesting story line.

    • James Blakley

      Thanks, Donamae.

      “The Diamond Head Deception” storyline developed in two ways. The first was from a longtime personal curiosity: That is, why are there no diamonds (do date) in Hawaii? After all, it’s a state with an ongoing volcanic history; and sizable diamonds owe much of their development to volcanoes, right? That set up the mystery: Finding a diamond where they shouldn’t normally be. “The Diamond Head Deception,” explores the circumstances surrounding the discovery of The Aloha State’s first stone: Pacific Splendor.

      The second storyline involves the action portion: Who will solve this mystery? Well, something as rare and unique as a Hawaiian diamond would fetch a huge amount of money (after being cut, appraised, and then insured). Add to that the worry of its theft or loss, as it is being returned to Hawaii via ocean liner. To help alleviate this fear is a crack Cherokee Indian insurance investigator, sent to ensure not only the diamond’s safety but its authenticity too, during a period of political unrest in Honolulu.

      Later, I’ll talk in more detail about how I came up with the story’s colorful characters.

  2. James Blakley

    Yes, thank you very much for hosting. And also to Ms. Daniels, for writing a fair and balanced review of “The Diamond Head Deception.” I always appreciate reviews, good or bad, because they let me know what track I’m currently on as a writer and how I can improve going forward.

  3. Trix

    I appreciate the review!

  4. Victoria

    Great review – thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Rita Wray

    The story sounds very intriguing.

    • James Blakley

      Thanks, Ms. Wray. And as promised, here is more about some of the inspiration for the book’s colorful characters.

      “The Diamond Head Deception’s” leading lady, a Cherokee Indian insurance investigator named Luna Nightcrow, solves offbeat insurance frauds as her métier. The idea to make her non-white came from the stylish, often groundbreaking, TV crime fighters of my youth. Whether it was “Get Christie Love,” “Hawaii Five-O,” or “Miami Vice,” a lot of minority sleuths cropped up in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Also prevalent were then-exotic locations and professions for these crime fighters. Honolulu, Hawaii and Des Moines, Iowa serve as two rather unusual settings for “The Diamond Head Deception”: Made so by the fact that neither has a historic connection to diamonds.

      As for why I made Luna an insurance investigator? I liked the old NBC Wednesday mystery series “Banacek”, starring George Peppard as the titular Boston bon vivant who handled high-end, hard to solve insurance frauds. Though white, his Boston base and jet-setting sleuthing were refreshing changes from the usually hardboiled, urban gumshoe image. Thematically, Luna Nightcrow is more in the vein of “Banacek” than your average 8 a.m. til 5 p.m. Despite not having Banacek’s Polish proverbs and doting chauffeur, she is witty and charming, but equally determined, daring, and even caring.

      Luna also draws conceivable inspiration from the then avant-garde TV show “Charlie’s Angels.” You might say that she exhibits Sabrina Duncan’s brains, Kelly Garrett’s penchant for dressing to impress, and Jill Munroe’s…well, everything else. (lol) Coupled with Nani Nyoko (a jewelry appraiser) and Narmata Buddhiman (an Indian interpreter) and you have a nice multicultural trio of female crime fighters for “The Diamond Head Deception.” This also allows more glamor and even romance to creep into this outing, thus appealing to a broader range of readers.

  6. James Blakley

    In the holiday season’s gift-giving spirit, here are over 30 self-published or small press-published authors (from 5 countries and 3 continents) whose writings I personally read and reviewed. Many should be available through online retailers (e.g., Amazon.com).

    ACTION/ADVENTURE
    Pennies In A Pound–Roy Stolworthy
    Secret Agent “X”-Volume 4 (various authors)
    Medusa Defence–Roger Cave
    Blank Slate–RW Graves
    All In–Roy Stolworthy
    The Lost Continent–Purcival Constantine
    The Guy’s A Loser Detective Agency– M.T. Albright

    DRAMA
    Schrodinger’s Telephone–Marion Stein
    30 – (The Daily Express Chronicles)– James Anderson
    Johnny Oops–Arthur Levine

    FANTASY/ROMANCE
    Alien Contact for Idiots–Edward Hoornaert
    A Trick of the Eye– Jack Thompson
    A Civil Right To Love–Kim Robinson
    Atlantis– Lisa Graves
    Stonehenge–Lisa Graves
    The Hunt: Rise of the Fae–Kristin Leedy

    HORROR
    PulpWork Christmas Special 2014 (various authors)
    Skin Trials: Book One (The Six Trials) (Volume 1)–H R Holt
    The Whaler, Bebe, The Farda–Steve Roach
    Juju Man– DK Gaston

    MYSTERY
    The Serpent at the Plain of Panope (Lincoln Confidential Book 2)–W.T. Keeton
    The 13th Fellow: A Mystery in Provence–Tracy Whiting
    Lincoln Confidential: The Goddess of Strife– W.T. Keeton
    Dead Links: (An Amanda Katt Thriller)– Nigel G. Mitchell
    The Execution of Justice–JD Michael Phelps
    Dexxman–Robert AV Jacobs
    Blood Spiral–Sam Waas
    Situation Critical– SD Skye
    The Bigot List–SD Skye
    Imbroglio–Alana Woods
    The Moth To The Flame–De-Ann Black
    Darkest Hours (Lost Hours)–DK Gaston
    The May Carousel–Leslie Wooddavis

    POETRY
    Love, Loss and Loneliness– Lisa Williamson

    SCIENCE FICTION
    Quantum Tales: Volume 2–Nigel Mitchell
    Requisite Variety: Collected Short Fiction– Lior Samson
    Three from TOMORROW: a Tales from TOMORROW 3-fer! –John Patin
    Tales from TOMORROW #3–John Patin
    Tales from TOMORROW # 9– John Patin
    Man Overboard–Nigel Mitchell
    Novel Ideas– J.C. Allen
    Darkness Falls (The Outage Series)–Mathieu Gallant
    Clausdrum (Life Without Parole)–Susan Jones
    History of the Timelaws–Marise Ghorayeb
    The Ninth Leg–James Quirk
    Taurus Moon Relic Hunter–DK Gaston

    Non-Fiction
    David Janssen: My Fugitive– JD Michael Phelps

    All highly imaginative reads from rising star indies across the globe!

  7. Cathy Lee

    Hi James. You’re a “new to me author.” I’m also a librarian. I know a few folks that have moved from library positions into writing. It’s all part of that “loving books and words” spirit that makes it a natural transition, I think.

    • James Blakley

      Hello, Cathy Lee. I loved to read and write, long before I worked in public library service and the advent of blogging and “self-publishing” revolution.

      As a child, I was a self-publishing powerhouse: I wrote sci-fi, action/adventure, and comedy short story series–sorry, no romance (lol)–on loose-leaf, ruled paper; then, illustrated them with magic markers; stapled them together, and finally, gave them to family and friends. Some were silly, others quite sophisticated (for an 8-12 year old). I must have written close to 100 easily, but sadly have about a dozen left.

      In my late teens, I turned from fiction writing to journalism, becoming a high school newspaper section editor; and later, in college, an award-winning columnist and section editor, even submitting editorial cartoons occasionally. Unlike many of my childhood works, this time I wisely preserved nearly all of my academic writings, including term papers, journals, et al.

      And I continue to expand my writing talent, by trying to help fellow indie authors as well as expose the lesser-known works of the giants (like London, Clarke, et al.) with analytical reviews on places like Amazon.com and Goodreads.com.

      So who says, “You Can’t Go Home Again?” and that there’s a “Childhood’s End?” (lol) For me, Cathy Lee, the “transition” to writing (now, as short novels and book/movie reviews) was an exuberant homecoming because the talent and love was already there, just archived you might say.