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This entertaining and touching story is all about, well, choices.

Two local guys, Jonah and Kaha, grew up together. BFFs. Jonah chooses to rob a bank, using Kaha as the getaway driver without telling Kaha what he has planned. Kaha’s caught and charged with the robbery; Jonah isn’t caught. Kaha chooses to take the rap, leaving his wife and his growing kids (including young son Makaio) to struggle. Jonah struggles, too, making various choices until he’s killed in a bar fight. Makaio makes choices, too, especially when he and his friend Tom find the stolen money. Then they have to make a choice. But what choice do they make?

Even the reader gets to make a choice.

The characters are well-realized, their motivations understandable. Even the author becomes a character. It’s always good when authors are honest enough to admit that they’re in their stories, too.

So go buy the anthology and make your choice!

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A strange, gruff mainlander rents a house in a smal local neighborhood (feels very local Windward side to me). He’s a loner, does nothing with anyone else, rarely leaves his house, doesn’t even have a dog!

The man living in the house next door to him, on the other hand, is friendly, visits with people, and fits right in.

Which of them – or both – is a murderer? In Alan Gunn’s skilled hands, don’t be so sure you know …

So go buy the anthology, read the story, and take your guess!

Just finished reading Gail M. Baugniet’s short story contribution to the anthology, “Controlling Destiny”. (Gail’s many other contributions such as coordinating the anthology, mentoring authors and editing, doing the design and layout, planning the marketing, etc, while simultaneously being Sisters In Crime chapter president AND managing her own career as author of the excellent Pepper Bibeau mystery series – are astounding!)

It’s possibly the best written of all the stories. Despite including much more than most of the stories, it’s very tightly done. Not a wasted word anywhere.

The narrator, a freelance journalist delightfully named Cacao (as a chocoholic, I heartily approve!), briefly meets a homeless woman (Remy) who is murdered a day later.

The mystery isn’t about the murder. Who did it and why is perfectly clear, with the perp in jail pending trial. The fact of pending trial makes Cacao’s investigation much tougher than the usual PI investigation because NOBODY will talk and risk tainting the trial.

The mystery is about how the homeless woman ended up on the streets. The answer isn’t any of the clichés or stereotypes about homeless people. Read this story and think about it before you go believing the crap Fox News and the malignancy known as the Republican Party spout about the homeless and the poor.

It’s set in a very realistic contemporary Honolulu, including how our local newspaper monopoly refuses to pay its reporters living wages. (Speaking of the poor.)

There’s a nice thematic connection between the end of Remy’s family, Cacao’s own extended family, and what might someday turn into a relationship/family of her own with a local police officer. Being set in Hawaii, where family and extended family is very important, added a cultural background that made this come through even more for me.

So go buy a copy of Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha, and enjoy this story. And ping a thanks to Gail at her blog, Gail M. Baugniet – Author.

Since I wrote this story, all I’ll say about it is, it’s clearly the most GLORIOUS story in the anthology. Anyone in their right mind will agree. (If they don’t agree, they aren’t in their right minds and probably voted for Trump, anyway, so they’re hopeless in darkness and do not have the Light of Glory dwelling in them, anyway.)

So go buy the Dark Paradise anthology in paperback. Then you can read and annotate this thoughtful, complex excursion into the darkest parts of the human psyche, that has much to say about the complicated relationship between the individual and the moral code forced on us by our society. (Remember, we learn our culture’s behavioral codes before we’re even conscious. Anthropology 101.)

You’ll want to stand the paperback copy up by your bed, open to this story, so it will be the last thing you see before sleep and the first thing you see upon waking. (Building a shrine and making offerings is optional.) Then go buy the ebook and consult it for wisdom and guidance throughout your day.

Thereby will your life be transformed, and that of all those with whom you come in contact be made GLORIOUS, forever and ever. Amen.

Unlike “Drifting,” the people in this story are going somewhere: crossing the channel from Molokai. One is swimming, the other two are escorting him.

One main thing I liked about it is that its core is a man-woman friendship. A friendship, not a “turning into a romance”-ship. Refreshing against the popular backdrop that the only relationship between men and women is sexual.

The style is very clear and involving, the characters realized in depth. The mystery isn’t so much “who dun it” as “how will the bad guy do it”. You try commiting a murder at sea between the islands without being spotted!

So go buy the Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha and find out. You won’t regret reading this story

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!