Doing the wrong thing for what seems to be the right reason is usually the first indication that trouble is on its way. With a mindset that often runs contrary in such a fashion, it is easy to see where the expression, “trouble is your middle name,” came into being.
In Loco Moco by Ty Hutchinson, Darby Stansfield again determines that he will give up his unsavory clients and go straight. With his plans to spend some time in the beautiful paradise of Hawaii with his girlfriend Izzy, he is ready to settle down and he is confident that she is the girl for him. Convincing her to take time away from work so they can spend some quality time in the island paradise is the easy part. Even as he begins to relax in his new accommodations trouble is brewing. Little does he know that eyes are on them––hot and angry eyes? Someone is desirous of everything he has, but Darby is still unaware of the danger.
Surfing is in their blood and Darby and Izzy find they must get the permission of the island surfing gang in order to invade the waters for their own surfing fun. As they receive the okay, Darby finds himself again in a situation where he needs to decide right from wrong. He is known for his sales to the mob, and this group is aware of his fame. The money is more than he can make himself give up. However, this small gang of thugs is more than meets the eye. Trouble is brewing, and when Izzy is attacked, Darby is not sure where to turn. One of her new friends on the island gives her some advice, while a few of Darbys friends have their own ideas.
When a young girl goes missing and ends up murdered, and then their bungalow is broken into, Darby takes matters into his own hands. Hiring a P.I. and installing a state of the art alarm system, they begin the task of tracking down leads.
When Izzy accepts his proposal of marriage, Darby finds out for the first time that her father is in the FBI. He is no longer quite so enamored of his own choices. Can he keep his involvement with the mob from her and her family? Can he safely leave Izzy in their Hawaiian retreat as he treks back to the U.S for his business meetings, or is the danger closer than they know? When Izzy disappears, Darby finds that he is under suspicion. Can he help decipher the clues before it is too late for her?
Hutchinson has a canny way of taking desperate situations and finding the humor in them. His character of Darby Stansfield is quite cunning in a somewhat shady and slapstick way. He is easy to like and while he certainly plays in the big leagues, he has a charm that takes away the sleaziness. Certainly from the time his character was introduced in Chop Suey, he has evolved from a lowly bottom feeder of a salesman to one of the top contenders. His charm and cunning has grown as well, but there is that bit of naivety that keeps him honest. (In an odd sort of way)
Hutchinson’s stories are well thought out, and the action is quick and easy to follow. The interesting element of this series it the fact that you rarely figure out the solution until it is there before you. The characters who interact with Darby are well-composed and his friendships are deep. He has a compassion that keeps you trusting him even though he is quite a bit of a rogue.
If you enjoy action and comedy this is a great series, one that will keep you entertained. If you love suspense with just a bit of the absurd, Loco Moco is the work you are looking for. This would be a fun book for a reading group, one where you could discuss the odd merits of the decisions that are made throughout.
Ty Hutchinson just keeps getting better.