No Place Like Paradise

Mystery stories are thrilling, but they’re even more thrilling when they play out in your own backyard. In the current issue of BAMBOO RIDGE, Gail Harada’s short story, an excerpt from NO PLACE LIKE PARADISE, delivers all the suspicion and thrill of good detective fiction, plus it’s right here in Hawaiʻi with character’s you’ll recognize and seedy bars that — if you haven’t been to them — you’ve at least driven by.

Maybe I’m biased because I like a good mystery, both in print, and on TV. Sherlock Holmes, Dexter, and the sadly cancelled TV series Veronica Mars are some of my favorites. Hawaii Five-0 makes the list because it’s set in Hawaiʻi. Period. But has anyone noticed how the both the bad guys and the good guys on that show tend to be… not from here?

Harada’s piece then, is a breath of fresh air. The story revolves around Naomi Miyamura, a new public defender who’s looking into the disappearance of her father’s secret half-sister, Auntie Pearl. Her only source of information about the disappearance is her cryptic, beachcombing Uncle Buddy, but as we know, it’s a small island, and people and events are often connected in unexpected ways. Here’s an excerpt:

I didn’t want to force the issue; after all he was my uncle and I was supposed to show him respect and wait for him to get to the answer, but I couldn’t help myself. I blurted out, “Uncle, what do you mean ‘she disappeared’?”

“It’s too late—your father and I already went try. Your auntie just didn’t come home one night. They found her car at the Pali Lookout. People suspected her boyfriend. He was one mean bastard—we couldn’t figure out how come she ever went hook up with him or how come she stayed with him. Police never found anything. So people said maybe was one double suicide—maybe the boyfriend went kill her and then killed himself. Plenny people commit suicide up there on the Pali. Or maybe the boyfriend went kill her and flew to the mainland to disappear. Or maybe she eloped with that pilau dirty bastard because we all hated him so much….”

In between solving crime, Naomi takes a self-defense class, so she’s got some butt-kicking skills to see her through her impending adventures. On the other hand she has nightmares and seems a little troubled — but just troubled enough for this genre! In conclusion, I have high hopes for the rest of NO PLACE LIKE PARADISE. Keep writing Ms. Harada!

To read Harada’s story, go here and get issue #98 of BAMBOO RIDGE. The book can be ordered online right now at one-third off the cover price!

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