Saving Paradise. Mike Bond. Mandevilla Press. November 2013. 302 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9781627040013.
Pono Hawkins is a Special Forces veteran of Afghanistan who has seen too much war and too much mindless brutality. He’s a guy who seems programmed to correct wrongs when he sees them. That hasn’t always been a wise thing to do; in fact it also earned him some prison time both inside and outside the military. So he spends his days surfing and relishing every moment of this land, Hawaii, he loves so, so intensely! He also teaches other vets how to surf, a form of therapy that takes them into a healing space they desperately need after having served in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade and more. He makes some money because of his surfing dog, Mojo. That’s all about to come to a squeaking halt!
Pono hates the tourist areas of Honolulu as well as the way the “haoles” or white Americans and Europeans have raped the land of Hawaii, imprisoned its native people in back-breaking labor for little pay, and taken their land for the sake of profit or “big business.” That intense dislike quickly increases when Pono finds a dead woman on the edge of the surf not far from a well-known hotel. Now, because of his criminal record, he’s not exactly getting much information from the local police. Add to the mystery that a coroner’s report that initially said the victim died from drowning in a rather unique way, considering where she was found, has now been retracted. Anyone with a connection to the police is mum about this serious retraction of significant evidence. Pono can’t let go; he becomes fanatic about finding the real killer.
Wind-powered is supposed to be one of the natural resources that can lead to the creation of energy. It’s supposed to be one of the “green” energy forms that people can feel good about using. However, it turns out that it’s not so green and leaves behind enough side effects that are inhospitable to this already depleted earth to sink a ship It also costs a fortune to set up but not because the wind costs money to transform into energy; it turns out that politicians and business executors are in the loop for the profits and if it means the displacement of Hawaiian natives, not a great loss – so be it! The reader also gets a bit of an education about the pros and cons of this latest energy-producing fad! Add a gang to the creep list and some women about whom the reader will wind up mentally quibbling since they seem innocent yet know quite a bit about the murdered journalist, Sylvia Gordon.
Pono moves to the top of the hit list due to his continuous inquiries and his insistence on using the enemies’ employees as sources or connections. Just when it seems that there’s hardly anything left to plunder in Hawaii, a group of greedy entrepreneurs will stop short of nothing, including murder, to make sure their Wind-Powered Energy project succeeds. But they fail to understand the passionate love the native Hawaiians have for their land and the determination they have to make sure this energy nightmare never happens. Intense clashes will arise in different ways that turn into a real nail-biter thriller.
Mike Bond knows Hawaii and human nature just as well. So it’s the heavy-hitters against a Special Forces Vet – quite the challenge!
Saving Paradise is one heck of a crime novel/thriller and highly recommended! It’s a keeper!