Friday, July 26, 2019

Robert McCaw's Off the Grid and the Lava Flow

Robert McCaw joins us today on Drinks with Reads to celebrate his novel, Off The Grid. 

Hilo Hawaii Chief Detective Koa Kāne, the protagonist in Off the Grid, is a cop with a secret. As a teenager, he killed the man responsible for his father’s death and camouflaged the killing as a suicide. And he got away with it! That history creates tension in his character and fuels his life’s ambition—bringing killers to justice. It has also made him suspicious of everyone and paranoid about getting fooled like he himself once deceived the cops. Bottom line—he’s a really good cop.
Koa cools off with a Bikini Blonde Lager or a Paniolo Pale Ale, both local craft beers, as he chows down on his Hawaiian plate lunch—that’s a hamburger patty or a hunk of spam with white rice, brown-gray, macaroni salad, and a fried egg.
Still, local craft beers are a bit light for the heavy lifting Koa confronts in Off the Grid. Called to the scene of a bizarre hit and run accident between a county dump truck and a Honda, he arrives just in time to get knocked down when the burning vehicles explode, incinerating the woman trapped inside. That might call for an Explosion—vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and sweet pear cider.
The real mystery develops when rangers at the nearby Hawaii Volcanoes National Park discover a tortured body abandoned in an active lava field. After clearing this scene, the chief detective could sure use one of Hawaii’s infamous Lava Flows—a drink with flaming red splashes, the color of Madame Pele’s volcanic fire fountains. (See recipe below.)
The two homicide victims turn out to be loners living together deep in a rain forest far off the grid on property owned by off-shore entities. Koa suspects the pair are fugitives, but no one seems to know their real identities. Enter the CIA and other government agencies and the trail leads to one of the weirdest real-life international events in contemporary history. No spoilers here, but there is a hint for those who know the Bar Blaznavac. No fair resorting to the Internet!
Given the volcanic nature of Hawaii and the many eruptive twist and turns in the story, I’ll have to go with a Lava Flow.
You can find Robert on Facebook.

Lava Flow Recipe
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. coconut rum 
  • 2 oz. strawberries (fresh or frozen) 
  • 1 small banana
  • 2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice 
  • 2 oz. coconut cream
  • Pineapple wedge
  • Paper umbrella
Blend both rums with the strawberries to form a paste. Pour into a tall hurricane glass. Separately,  blend the banana, the coconut cream, and the pineapple juice with crushed ice. Slowly, pour the banana-cream-ice mix into the hurricane glass with the strawberry-rum mix and watch the strawberry-rum mix rise to the top along the sides of the glass for a lava effect. Don’t forget to garnish with the pineapple wedge and the paper umbrella.

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