ALOHA, LADY BLUE

ALOHA, LADY BLUE IS A RIV­ET­ING CRIME NOVEL WITH A GOOD CAUSE.

FLUX Hawaii - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - TEXT BY LISA YA­MADA

A buried fam­ily se­cret, a mys­te­ri­ous death, a damsel in dis­tress (or so it would seem)—aloha, Lady Blue has all the trap­pings of a good crime novel. Based, in part, on au­thor Charley Mem­minger’s ex­pe­ri­ences as a for­mer crime and in­ves­tiga­tive reporter at a Honolulu news­pa­per, Aloha, Lady Blue fol­lows the story of Stryker Mcbride, a washed-up jour­nal­ist seek­ing to un­cover the mys­tery of what hap­pened on Ka­hala Road—a road that doesn’t ex­ist on any map.

Mcbride, who feels re­spon­si­ble for the death of one of his sources years ago, would be con­tent to spend the rest of his days with “the gods,” as he calls them, two Ger­man shep­herds named Kane and Lono, sip­ping Bud­weis­ers for break­fast while dry-docked on his boat, the Travis Mcgee. But he has lit­tle time to wal­low af­ter his help is en­listed by the beau­ti­ful Am­ber Kala­ni­anaole Kam, a for­mer Pu­na­hou class­mate, who asks Mcbride to look into the mys­te­ri­ous death of her un­cle Wai Lo Fat—a name that con­jures up ties to the Chi­nese syn­di­cate if there ever was one. What fol­lows is an ac­tion-packed sto­ry­line that will leave you hang­ing on un­til the truth be­hind Ka­hala Road and what took place there is re­vealed.

A riv­et­ing who­dunit for those fa­mil­iar with Hawai‘i, as well as those who aren’t, Aloha, Lady Blue de­liv­ers vis­ual so­lil­o­quies that take read­ers past sweep­ing taro fields and heart-stop­ping moun­tain ranges while in­cor­po­rat­ing fac­tual el­e­ments with panache. Read­ers get a quick les­son in Hawai­ian his­tory, from Cap­tain Cook— “whacked” af­ter Hawai­ians re­al­ized he wasn’t the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the god Lono—to Chi­nese plan­ta­tion work­ers, for whom Mcbride tries to imag­ine “how bad life in your own coun­try would have to suck be­fore it seemed like a good idea to sail ten thou­sand miles to work in a strange for­eign land un­der the hot trop­i­cal sun.”

Though it leans, at times, to­ward the melo­dra­matic, with sto­ry­lines that in­clude sub­jects like ge­netic mod­i­fi­ca­tion, weaponized tox­ins, and the blights of ur­ban sprawl (“The en­tire trans­for­ma­tion of O‘ahu from an idyl­lic, en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive, sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture-based so­ci­ety into a fucked-up mish­mash of ar­chi­tec­tural and ur­ban-plan­ning bull­shit,” as one ur­ban plan­ner tells Mcbride.), Aloha, Lady Blue is a fast-paced read that will have you turn­ing its pages late into the night.

The book was orig­i­nally pub­lished by St. Martin’s Press in 2013 and was re­leased in pa­per­back form in 2015. To mark its de­but, Mem­minger has pledged to do­nate all au­thor roy­al­ties from its book sales to the Hawai­ian Hu­mane So­ci­ety. “I re­al­ized what an im­por­tant job the Hawai­ian Hu­mane So­ci­ety has, not just putting dogs and cats up for adop­tion, but tak­ing care of all the an­i­mals in its care, as well as try­ing to close down il­le­gal puppy mills, sav­ing an­i­mals that are mis­treated, and even ar­rang­ing for noisy wild roost­ers to be caught,” Mem­minger writes in the pa­per­back’s in­tro­duc­tion. Mem­minger first be­came in­ter­ested in help­ing the Hu­mane So­ci­ety af­ter adopt­ing his fam­ily’s first pet, Boomer, a poi dog with a strong hint of bor­der col­lie, in 1995.

Aloha, Lady Blue is avail­able in Hawai‘i wher­ever books are sold, as well as on Ama­zon and book­shawaii.net.

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