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"Chicken Out (Aloha Chicken Mysteries Book 11) "
by Josi Avari
You know I love this series. This was another fun read. Saffron is throwing a Halloween Charity Party in a haunted house and there's a big question about who is the rightful guardian of the house, crooked lawyers, a suspicious death, a lovely family reunion, ghostly scenes, lots of great animal scenes, a fun scene of pineapple jack-o-lantern carving, fun chicken scenes and more. The big ending scene was exciting to me. I think I held my breath the whole time Saffron and Cupcake (the chicken) were in danger.
The plot regarding the suspicious death was a little thin (I figured out who cut the bolts right at the time of the murder but it wasn't revealed until near the end of the book), but the culture and characters were great. I loved that the Haunted House party was for charity (homeless animals / building a shelter) and that not only did folks come in costume but they could bring their pets in costume too. Of course, Saffron brought a chicken (Cupcake). Cupcake was in a trick or treating basket (she's the chicken from the first book who loved the kitchen pot so it worked for continuity too). I like how she works the chickens into the stories.
I loved all the Hawaiian details and scenery descriptions and folklore too. I would never before have thought of a bat as out to help me.
The folklore element was the Hawaiian concept of certain animals being ancestors protecting their Hawaiian family (in bat form for this book). And also (spoiler alert - skip to next section if you might read this book) a folklore (and paranormal) element involving night walking ghosts who kill anyone who looks upon their royal leader. Only family is exempt. It was a scary scene with her and Keahi face down in the sand and the drumming and chanting coming so close. She didn't, at the time, know what the protection word meant and it was a scary scene. Although Saffron (and I) didn't know it, they declared Keahi family and he declared Saffron family so she was protected. I was glad it was explained later because I didn't know what it meant either and Keahi didn't share.
Keahi and Saffron are clearly still experiencing sparks but he's, to my great disappointment, still engaged to Evelyn. I sure hope that breaks up soon so he and Saffron can be together. I guess with at least 8 more books in the series she wants to drag the romance out. There's hints that the veterinarian is going to ask Saffron out. He's tried in this book and I think the previous book but was thwarted before he could get the words out both times.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one. Not all of the books in this series have a folklore element, particularly the animal ancestor protectors, but most of them have lots of Hawaiian culture, which I enjoy.