The events of the past year have shattered Hawaiian vulcanologist Annie Tagama's life. Her brother died during a military sortie. His death brought on her mother's suicide. Annie's fall into hot lava left her limping and paralyzed with fear around volcanoes. Her father has become a cold tyrant who avoids responsibility by burying himself in his research. Now her little sister Leilani has disappeared. All the while, her research suggests that a violent volcanic eruption is coming. To top it all off, the man who started this chain of events, the man she has loved from a distance for years and now despises, Mano Oana, comes to them with a story that her brother, Tomi, is not dead but is on the run from Iranian thugs.
As Tomi resurfaces, Annie discovers that Leilani is not with him as she hoped. Then phone calls begin threatening Leilani's life and taunting Annie that her mother's suicide was not suicide at all. Attempted break ins, a hostile neighbor involved in the cult of the worship of the ancient Hawaiian god Ku, and a threatened mortgage foreclosure on the Tagama's long-held land force Annie to turn to Mano.
With Leilani's life at risk, Annie and Mano race to figure out how to keep Tomi safe and who has Leilani. Is it the cop, Leilani's former boyfriend, who cannot seem to find the time to look for her? Is it Annie's coworker's husband who had run off, falsified and published his wife's findings, and returned with a story that a casino is planning to buy out Aloha Shores? Is it her hostile co-worker who wants her job? Is it the neighbor involved in the cult that Leilani got involved with? Is it the Iranians or the casino planners? Time is running out.
Colleen Coble sets the story on the "Big Island" in Hawaii. Rain forests, the ocean, and the volcanoes provide a powerful setting.
Coble does a great job of characterizing Mano in his struggle with diabetes and Annie with her need to be needed by her family. The plot is intense and keeps the reader guessing which of the many possible suspects has kidnapped Leilani to the climax. Tomi's popping in and out of the story for awhile is disconcerting, but Coble presents his self-centeredness well. At one point when Tomi disguises himself as a woman, Mano comments that "his boobs are falling." Other than that, readers should not find much objectionable. Most readers of suspense novels will enjoy Black Sands enough to look into the first book of the series, Distant Echoes. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Leilani Silva has always been content to bask in the glow of her more flamboyant brother and sister and to quietly assist her father in his volcano research. Leilani does, however, have a secret crush on Mano Ohana, though he's never noticed her. Her devotion turns to disdain after a mistake by Mano kills her beloved brother. But when her younger, more beautiful sister goes missing, she's forced to turn to her former love—now her sworn enemy—for help.
Mano Ohana believed he had made a fateful mistake that cold night—a mistake that had cost the life of his best friend, Kale Silva. But the night before he is to bring Kale's belongings to his family, Mano discovers nothing is what it seems: His friend is still alive—and he’s in danger. Worse, the danger threatens to spill over to the rest of the Silva family—and the entire Hawaiian islands.