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Night on Fire: A Kevin Corvelli Mystery    by Douglas Corleone order for
Night on Fire
by Douglas Corleone
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Night on Fire follows One Man's Paradise as the second in Douglas Corleone's colorful Kevin Corvelli mystery series, set in idyllic Hawaii. Not having read the first book, I missed knowing some of the protagonist's background, but was still able to enjoy this legal mystery on its own merits.

Corvelli is a hard-drinking New York defense attorney, now partnered with the older Jake Harper in Honolulu. He has the requisite (for the modern mystery protagonist) vulnerabilities. As this episode opens, he's courting a hot cougar at a small outdoor beach bar at the Kupulupulu Beach Resort, when his pleasant evening is jarred by a loud argument between newlyweds (the bride is particularly easy on his eyes). Later that night, he's awakened to discover the resort (where he ended up in the cougar's room) on fire.

Corvelli and his lover make it out and he saves four-year-old Josh, whose grandmother dies in the fire. There are 'nine confirmed dead, five in critical condition'. Kevin learns that Josh's mother drowned just a few weeks before and the father has no interest in his kid, so feels some responsibility for him. The next day, a panicky Erin Simms (the fiery bride) calls - she's a person of interest to the police and wants his help.

They barely meet when officers show up in force to arrest Erin for arson and murder (her hubby was knifed before going up in flames). Turns out she has motive , opportunity, and a damining past history. The prosecutor, Luke Maddox, has 'a hard-on for the media', with his sights on the head prosecutor position. He plays hardball, trying to have Corvelli removed from the case. The latter responds by uncovering evidence of prosecutorial misconduct - and accusing Maddox of worse.

It's quite the legal battle. Along the way, Kevin spends time with Josh, has an unprofessional liaison with his client, and is beaten up. The resolution to the case comes out of left field to catch the reader by surprise. I enjoyed Night on Fire and look forward to the next Corvelli adventure.

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