This second book in the 'Knight and Moon' cozy mystery series finds Emerson Knight and Riley Moon trying to save the world from a nefarious conspiracy. The book can be read as a standalone.
Since she lost her bank job, financial advisor Riley Moon has been working for hunky eccentric billionaire Emerson Knight, trying to straighten out his financial records. Knight has no patience for this tedious paperwork, so he's thrilled when his friend, Buddhist monk Bagus Wayans, shows up at his mansion - called Mysterioso Manor - in Washington DC.
Bagus, who was living on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, has a strange story to tell. He was forcibly removed from his island by furtive strangers - and when he escaped and went home, the island was gone.
Knight is intrigued by this odd occurrence, and the game's afoot. Emerson, Riley, and Bagus hurry off to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to ask about the missing land mass. The NOAA claims they have no record of the island, which seems very suspicious.
Meanwhile, Emerson's cousin Vernon - a crude but likable schlub who lives in an RV behind Mysterioso Manor and writes a blog about unexplained occurrences - learns that hikers have been vanishing from U.S. National Parks.....especially parks with volcanic activity. So Emerson decides that he and his friends - Riley, Bagus, and Vernon - will go to Yellowstone National Park to investigate the case of the missing trekkers.
All this activity brings Emerson and his friends to the attention of Bart Young - director of the National Park Service, and Tim Mann ('Tin Man') - the murderous head of security for park resources. These two tough dudes spread their chests, try to intimidate the foursome, and tell them to mind their own business....or else.🔫
Of course the adventurers ignore the warning and proceed to search Yellowstone. They don't find any missing hikers but they DO come upon a multi-billion dollar installation with enormous pumps that are bringing up lava. Further investigation reveals a scheme that can endanger the entire Earth.
The intrepid bunch then make their way to Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, where their peril from Tin Man escalates even further. Emerson, Riley, Bagus, and Vernon will have to fight for their lives if they're going to have save the planet. (This series leans toward these kinds of fearsome, over-the-top scenarios.) 😲
The globetrotters hilarious escapades involve hatchets; guns; cars; planes; helicopters; enormous lava tubes; science fiction-like matter traps; a forklift; and more - as wicked villains hunt the foursome, and allies and friends help them out.
We're also treated to Bagus's mystical Buddhist philosophy and sharp sense of humor. When asked how he got to Washington DC, Bagus says, "I walked." From Bali? “I walked onto a boat. Then I walked onto a plane. Then, when the plane landed in Richmond, I walked some more.”
During the team's adventures, Emerson and Riley take baby steps in their budding romance💖; Bagus demonstrates Houdini-like powers of escape; Vernon constantly makes (what he thinks are) hilarious raunchy remarks.....and we learn why Vernon's ex-girlfriend is SO mad at him (and the reason is a doozy!).
This is a fun cozy mystery. Recommended to fans of the genre.
Rating: 3.5 stars