Molten Death



Molten Death (An Orchid Isle Mystery)
by Leslie Karst

About Molten Death


Molten Death (An Orchid Isle Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – the Big Island of Hawai‘i
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Severn House (April 2, 2024)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1448312167
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1448312160
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CKWF5VWT


A glimpse of a quickly melting corpse at the foot of a volcano has amateur sleuth and food enthusiast Valerie Corbin shocked. But how can she investigate a murder, when there’s no evidence the victim ever existed?

The first Orchid Isle cozy mystery, set in tropical Hilo, Hawai’i, introduces a fun and feisty LGBTQ+ couple who swap surfing lessons for sleuthing sessions!

Retired caterer Valerie Corbin and her wife Kristen have come to the Big Island of Hawai’i to treat themselves to a well-earned tropical vacation. After the recent loss of her brother, Valerie is in sore need of a distraction from her troubles and is looking forward to enjoying the delicious food and vibrant culture the state has to offer.

Early one morning, the couple and their friend – tattooed local boy, Isaac – set out to see an active lava flow, and Valerie is mesmerized by the shape-shifting mass of orange and red creeping over the field of black rock. Spying a boot in the distance, she strides off alone, pondering how it could have gotten there, only to realize to her horror that the boot is still attached to a leg – a leg which is slowly being engulfed by the hot lava.

Valerie’s convinced a murder has been committed – but as she’s the only witness to the now-vanished corpse, who’s going to believe her?

Determined to prove what she saw, and get justice for the unknown victim, Valerie launches her own investigation. But, thrown into a Hawaiian culture far from the luaus and tiki bars of glossy tourist magazines, she soon begins to fear she may be the next one to end up entombed in shiny black rock . . .

The amiable characters, stunning backdrop and culinary delights make this the perfect cozy of fans who enjoy a tropical vacation with a twisty murder mystery and compelling Hawai’ian culture – paired with an added bonus of recipes of local Hawai’ian dishes!


About Leslie Karst

In addition to Molten Death, Leslie Karst is the author of the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari mystery series and Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG. After years waiting tables and singing in a new wave rock band, she decided she was ready for a “real” job and ended up at Stanford Law School. It was during her career as an attorney that Leslie rediscovered her youthful passion for food and cooking and once more returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts. Now retired from the law, Leslie spends her time cooking, cycling, gardening, observing cocktail hour promptly at five o’clock, and of course writing. She and her wife split their time between Santa Cruz, California and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Q&A With the Author

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I came up with the idea for Molten Death as I thought back about how surprised I’d been on my very first visit to Hawai‘i at how different the Big Island was from what I’d imagined it would be from all the Hollywood movies and glossy tourist brochures I’d seen over the years. But it was different in a captivating, almost magical way, largely because of the island’s active volcanoes. The presence of those volcanoes has shaped not only the island’s geology, flora, and fauna, but also the culture of those who live here—from the intrepid Polynesians who made the long voyage from the South Pacific to the archipelago by outrigger canoe some eight hundred years ago, to the current residents of the “Orchid Isle.” 

So when I set out to write a cozy mystery set on the Big Island, my biggest desire, in addition to of course crafting a compelling mystery story, was to bring to readers a picture of what the place is truly like—not for tourists, but for those who actually live here. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing about the lava! I admit it—I’m a bit of a volcano junkie. And one of the reasons I chose the theme I did for my mystery was so I could describe to others the sense of awe one feels when seeing hot, molten lava in person, for it’s an experience that involves all of the senses: The mind-boggling sight of the red-and-orange lava beast slithering down the slope towards the ocean; the intense heat upon your skin, as if the door to a gigantic oven had been opened wide; the sizzle of the rain on the hot lava; the crackling of the molten rock as it cools, and the explosion of methane gas when the flow overtakes and ignites a small tree; and finally the acrid smell and tang of the sulfuric gas, causing your eyes to sting and your breath to catch. 

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

I’m currently writing book two in the Orchid Isle mystery series, entitled Waters of Destruction. In this sequel to Molten Death, my protagonist Valerie is hired as a bartender at the Speckled Gecko, where her pal Sachiko is the dining room manager. The guy she replaces has not shown up for work for several days, and everyone assumes he’s merely gone AWOL. But when his body is discovered in the Wailuku River (whose name means “waters of destruction”) and Sachiko becomes the prime suspect in his murder, Valerie steps in to help her friend and investigate. The only question is, can Valerie discover the identity of the real culprit before her customers learn that it’s more than Mai Tais she’s been serving up at the bar?

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?

I’v got a busy spring and summer ahead. On April 8, I’ll be in Junction, Texas with my wife to experience the total eclipse of the sun. (Fingers crossed for clear weather that day!). Then two days later, I head up to Seattle for the Left Coast Crime mystery convention, where I’ll be on two panels. My last Sally Solari mystery, A Sense for Murder, has been nominated for the Lefty award for Best Humorous Mystery, so fingers crossed for that, as well! Then in May and late August, I’ll be attending two more mystery conventions: Malice Domestic and Bouchercon. If you’re going to be at any of them, do come up and say hello!

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

First of all, thank you for buying and/or checking out from the library the books we authors write, for reading them, and for posting reviews! We love and appreciate our readers, and couldn’t do what we do without you!

In addition, you might be interested to know that besides Molten Death and my Sally Solari culinary mysteries, I’ve also penned a memoir, Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG. In this true-life Julie and Julia meets Notorious RBG mash-up, I recount how finagling my way into hosting an intimate dinner party for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sends me on a journey of culinary discovery—and, ultimately, completely changes my life. 

Author Links


Chicks on the Case

Mystery Lovers Kitchen





Purchase LinksAmazonB& 


March 29 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT  

March 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

March 30 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

March 30 – Elicia’s Book Haven – REVIEW

March 31 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

March 31 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 1 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 1 –Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW*

April 3 – Novels Alive – REFVIEW

April 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 6 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT


April 7 – Rebecca M Douglass, Author – REVIEW

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!
Want to Book a Tour?
Click Here


Post a Comment

Wait! Stop! Are you leaving the same old comment on all the blog pages? Try switching things up a bit. I love reading your comments, but if its the same thing each time... it feels like spam. And NO ONE likes spam...
Please make sure the comments you leave are related to the post, and are at least eight words in length.

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget