Trail of the Hana K’ilo by Channing Whitaker (Skeptic Detective #2)

Hana K'ilo

Trail of the Hana K’ilo
by Channing Whitaker

Book #2 Skeptic Detective series

340 Pages

Published by BooksGoSocial (13th August 2019)

Purchase from| Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK |




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My rating: ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, BooksGoSocial, and the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 2.5

Book number 2 in the skeptic detective series sees Dr. Harlan Holt and his girlfriend Genevieve travel to Alaska for a romantic getaway…well…that’s what Genevieve thanks anyway. After a colleague of Dr. Holt’s goes missing while following the trail of other missing persons, which he believes is the work of the Hana K’ilo, Harlan feels obliged to follow in his colleagues footsteps, not to prove the existence of the Hana K’ilo, but simply to find what happened to Dr. Bremer. Travelling to Alaska in the off season, Harlan and Genevieve find themselves part of a small collection of guests and staff, as they try to find out what happened to Dr. Bremer, as well as those who disappeared before him. Are the disappearances the work of a mythical beast that hides in the Alaskan wilderness? Or is it a bit simpler than that?

After I read the first skeptic detective book, of which I received an eARC from netgalley as well, I was pretty excited to read this one. I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first instalment and was hoping the same for this one. However, it didn’t quite turn out how I’d hoped. I was incredibly interested in this one due to the nature of the story. Being set in the Alaskan wilderness and being centered around a mythological beast tied to that really intrigued me, though the mythical beast itself and it’s legend was entirely made up for the story, it honestly didn’t bother me that it was ‘real’, so to speak. Whitaker did an absolutely fantastic job of creating the myth of the Hana K’ilo and did a fantastic job of inserting it into the story so that it actually SOUNDED like it was an actual legend of Alaska. Honestly, the mythology of the Hana K’ilo was my favourite part of the story.

The characters, two of which we knew from the first instalment, were well written, though I did find Raina quite annoying, especially for a scientist. She placed so much faith in something that she had no proof of and it just annoyed the tripe out of me, she was meant to be a scientist but she was so focused on something that there was only writings about, no physical proof. Harlan actually irritated me so much in this book, in the first one he was so level headed and methodical, while in this one, he spent over half the book trying to hide his real reason for choosing Alaska as his and Vieve’s holiday destination and sneaking around trying to pretend that he barely knew Raina at all. I actually found it a little bit insulting on Vieve’s behalf, I don’t understand why he wasn’t just straight up to her about everything, she would have gone along with it anyway. I feel that this was an attempt to create conflict to make the story a bit more dramatic, while all it did was detract from the actual plot. The other characters were okay, nothing really stood out about them if I’m honest.

I found the story to drag a hell of a lot. The pacing just wasn’t here for this one, I feel like nothing really happened until about three quarters of the way through the story and it just made for some dull reading unfortunately. Even after things had started moving a bit more, there was two parts where I just skimmed through because nothing was actually happening. The dialogue between Ida and Harlan in the car after the ice incident while it gave us a little bit of information that was interesting, I skimmed about half of it because it just didn’t appear to have much to do with the story at all and was just being used as a form of filler. There was another instance where I skimmed over about a page, but I honestly can’t even tell you which part it was because it wasn’t overly important. To be honest, I’m surprised that I finished the book, I think the only thing that kept me going was to find out whether the Hana K’ilo was real or not. I will say though (view spoiler)

The narrative I found to be a bit…clinical? There wasn’t a lot of showing in this story, it was basically all telling, which makes for a very monotonous read for me. And while I know that part of what makes Dr. Holt, Dr. Holt, is the fact that he approaches things very clinically with a severe lack of emotion, I found that the whole story itself was being told in this way, which I found really grating. It caused me to become jolted out of the story as there was no flow to the writing for the most part. I also believe another round of editing was needed, just to iron out the small errors such as grammar and spelling errors that made it difficult at times to tell which character was actually speaking. In the authors note at the end of the story, I actually found that Whitaker’s voice was exactly the same as that he used to tell the story, there was no difference between his normal voice and his writer’s voice, normally there is a massive difference between the two, but with this author I found there not to be, which is a bit odd in my opinion.

All in all, I really enjoyed the first instalment of the skeptic detective series, but this instalment fell a little bit flat, I’d be interested to see where the series goes and what the next one is like.

View all my reviews

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