Now this one I have some issues with. It’s rich and detailed and the main character (and narrator for most of the story) is uniquely himself. There’s a murder in it (but little mystery). The end wasn’t a surprise for me; it was inevitable.
My issues? It presents the main character (a mentally-challenged, perhaps autistic, man) as stupid and murderously violent. It presents a “surfer dude” as even stupider. It has a local man make fun of the main character as a “pupule haole” (crazy white) just because the main character looks at the local man’s daughter.
Perhaps the story is meant satirically, but to me it’s one bigotted, malicious clichè after another. And that’s what made the ending inevitable.
Don’t agree with my ‘issues’? Go buy the anthology, check this story out for yourself, and see what you think. There are many stories in the anthology worth reading, so feel free to skip over this one.
Set in the Mokuleia area where O’ahu’s premier polo matches happen, Laurie Hanan’s story happens in the polo culture of North Shore. it feels very real as a young woman (Emmy) sets out to unravel the crime hidden behind a friend being comatose after being thrown by Emmy’s horse, Journey.
There’s a young adult feel, too, courtesy of Emmy’s frequent Instagramming and (of course) the title.
Two unusual characters are critical to the plot: Journey, and Emmy’s dog Dacey. Both provide clues and save the day. Fortunately not in that cutesy way that too many mysteries use.
The way I read this one, someone owns the tool that did it and did it, or someone else used the tool and did it and is getting away with attempted murder because the tool owner can’t prove innocence.
I can’t tell for certain – can you? Go buy the book and see for yourself!
By the way, the paperback is much easier to read on a beach than the Kindle version. So spring for the paperback while you’re buying. Then go hang out at the beach in Mokuleia and read your heart out!
A workshop on using poetry and songwriting (!) techniques in writing stories. Happens at 10AM TODAY. So roust your lazy carcass down to Aina Haina and learn some unusual ways to make your stories better!
A necessary part of fiction is the reader’s “willing suspension of disbelief”. I think that part of writing an effective story is to convince your reader to suspend their disbelief.
Based on this article at Fast Company, there might be things we can do to enlist the reader’s own brain in suspending their disbelief:
How Your Brain Keeps You Believing Crap That Isn’t True
This one feels the most local of the bunch so far. Set on North Shore, but among people who live there. It has the local vibe, although surfers don’t wax their boards to make them go faster. (They wax the tops of their boards so they won’t slip off the board while surfing. And don’t get me started about earthquakes, tsunamis and storm surge.)
I’ve seen houses like that of the main character, Suzanne, on pilings real close to the shore. I have a friend who used to live in that area, in a 100+ year old house standing maybe 40-50’ from the water. The house had repeatedly been floated up into the valley behind it by monster surf and storm surges.
The mystery in this one is, who’s the incredibly skilled burglar cleaning out jewelry, electronics and other valuables even when the owners are home? It has a warm, gentle humor that made me laugh a couple of times. And the end will surprise you.
So go buy the Dark Paradise anthology and find out.
Wow. This story by Hannah Cheng of relationship problems between two UH dorm roommates, with its powerfully ambiguous climax, just may be the star of the Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha anthology. I cared about both of the main characters, giving the ending even more hefty emotional meat (however you choose to interpret the ending).
Go buy the anthology just for this story, if nothing else.