Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha – Night Swim

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

Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha – Drifting

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.

Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha – He Was #2DIE4

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!

Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha – Tsunami!

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.

Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha – Unresolved

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.

Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha – Jimmy Chan, Counterspy

Have read the first story, “Jimmy Chan, Counterspy” by Bob Newell, in Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha. Fun and lightly humorous. Jimmy finds himself way out of his league, up against Chinese and Russian spies experienced in very-modern rendition and torture. And his client is a former US intelligence agent whose reasons sound a bit suspect themselves.

To find out how it turns out, go buy the book and meet Jimmy Chan, Counterspy.