One Man's Paradise
by Douglas Corleone
Cover Artist: Steve Gardner / Pixelworks Studios
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312611583
Date: 27 April 2010 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Criminal Defense Lawyer Kevin Corvelli has moved his practice from Manhattan to Honolulu. He wishes to flee the bad publicity of a botched case, which resulted in the death of an innocent client, Brandon Glenn. Unfortunately, he can't escape his past; soon he becomes embroiled in another high profile murder case involving an all-American boy-next-door type. Corvelli must defend Joseph Gianforte Jr. who is accused of murdering his former girlfriend, Shannon Douglas, on Waikiki Beach. Corvelli's life is endangered as he searches for the true killer. The list of suspects includes Shannon's elderly law professor, drug toting island natives, and members of a New Jersey Mafia family. What Corvelli thought if paradise turns into a deadly nightmare.
Douglas Corleone's One Manís Paradise is an incredibly entertaining mystery novel. It has all the trademarks of an awesome whodunit: a gorgeous, exotic locale; a gruesome murder; an interesting, believable cast of suspects; nail-biting suspense; torrid romance; Italian thugs with funny nicknames; laugh out loud humor; and a hero made after my own heart. Corvelli doesn't clean; one look inside my tornado-wrecked apartment and you'll soon realize neither do I. Also, One Manís Paradise has a shocker ending you will never forget. When the killer's identity is revealed, I shouted "Oh my God!" I couldnít believe it. I didn't have a clue.
My next vacation will be to Hawaii. After reading One Man's Paradise, I longed to visit those beautiful islands and sip mai tais on Waikiki Beach. During the three days it took me to read this mystery, I greeted my coworkers with aloha and told them mahalo when they did something nice for me, which is a rarity. Corleone takes his readers on a tour of the islands. Corvelli kayaks, albeit clumsily, to the island of Moku Nui where he smokes Maui Wowie with a prime suspect; he and his bartender girlfriend, Nikki Kapua, visit her favorite tourist attractions, the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium where he is threateningly groped by two Italian mobsters. Instead of the Manhattan skyline, Corvelli's office windows offer a magnificent view of mountains enshrouded by clouds and rainbows.
Corvelli has a great sense of humor that made me laugh out loud. He learned many of his witticisms from his former boss, Milt Cashman (a.k.a. Not Guilty Milty), who represents rap stars in Manhattan. Not Guilty Milty has a list of ten commandments to which Corvelli tries to abide. Corvelli and his private eye, Ryan Flanagan, have a difficult time keeping one of the major ten commandments: Thou shalt have sex with neither client nor witness. Corvelli sleeps with a witness, Nikki Kapula, and Flanagan sleeps with the mother of the victim after telling her his real name is Ben Dover. During his investigations, Corvelli sometimes pretends to be a friend in order to pump someone for information. I think of him as a modern Hercule Poirot. However, he refers to himself as James Bond. When he's drunk, he's James Bombed.
There is a tremendous amount of alcohol consumption in One Man's Paradise. It seems to be a favorite past time of Corelli and his legal eagle cohorts. Waikiki seems to be the macho man's paradise with its endless assortment of themed bars and beautiful, bikini-clad tourists and locals. My favorite bar is the Aqua Bar where there are wall-to-wall fish tanks and the wait staff dress like merpeople. Not only is there a tremendous amount of alcohol consumption but there is an ice epidemic. Not the type that melts in your glass but the illegal drug. Ice gives its user a cocaine like rush followed by sixteen hours of euphoria during which one performs erratic behavior such as obsessive cleaning. From one look at my apartment, it's obvious that I've never used ice.
Corleone's characters seem very real to me, especially that of Kevin Corvelli. I haven't decided whether or not I like him. He's good at what he does - defending criminals. Many of them are drug dealers. He's the type of lawyer most police hate. As soon as the police get the drug dealers off the street, Corvelli is helping to put them back into circulation. He's ruthless, vindictive, and amoral, but very successful - the idol of every criminal lawyer. I wonder how he would feel if he had a child who died from a drug overdose or was killed during a drug sale gone awry. Would he be so eager then to defend drug dealers?
Honolulu is a vacation paradise and I think of Corvelli and his girlfriend Nikki as a type of Adam and Eve. They find love and serenity with each other. Unfortunately, there is always a snake that will turn paradise into a deadly nightmare - a nightmare from which Corvelli may not be able to escape if he doesn't free his client, Joseph Gianforte Jr. Corvelli may lose his practice . . . and his life. Unfortunately, as the heated, highly publicized trial draws to a close, all evidence continues pointing towards Gianforte.
You must read One Man's Paradise and discover for yourself why it won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. This complex, fast-paced courtroom drama is a must read for all mystery lovers. Douglas Corleone has quickly joined the ranks of great suspense writers such as John Grisham, Scott Turow, David Baldacci and John Sandford. If you're looking for an awesome whodunit to take with you on vacation, let One Man's Paradise be your choice. In fact, reading One Man's Paradise made me feel as though I was already on vacation.