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4.3 out of 5 stars
Aloha, Lady Blue
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
For Travis McGee fans, the choice of reading this book is a no-brainer. Memminger is an award winning humorist whose columns I always enjoyed. This is his first in a series of riffs on John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee character. In the first few chapters, the pace seemed a bit herky-jerky. By the time one gets about a third of the way into it, it becomes hard to put it down. Be prepared to lose some sleep trying to find out what's going to happen next. Given my love of sea turtles I wasn't real thrilled with the protagonist popping a beer cap at a passing sea turtle. However, the two dogs more than make up for that. Kane and Lono are Memminger's homage to Zeus and Apollo from the Magnum P.I. series - just named after more culturally appropriate god. In the vein of Corcoran, White, and Cunningham, Memminger is a powerful new player in this genre. Charley, you just might be my new favorite author.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
i loved the hawaiian lore in this book. i have to confess that i never knew much much about the heady blend of cultures in our fiftieth state, both indigenous and imported, and the purchase they have on the psyches of hawaiians. what an exotic place! after reading ALOHA, LADY BLUE, i'm eager to visit, and not just for the beaches.
thank you, Charles Memminger, for this rollicking and fascinating read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
Not many authors are able to set a book in Hawaii and have it feel natural. Charley Memminger does an impressive job of writing a book that is fun to read, has a story that is relevant to current issues in Hawaii, and accomplishes this with a smile. I enjoyed the entire book, and hope there are many more to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2013
Occasionally I browse Amazon to find new Hawaiian mysteries....Sometimes I am lucky in finding a truly engrossing and Hawaiian feeling book. This is one of those times....I am hoping this author is already working on his second novel. And as soon as he referred to his two dogs as 'the gods" I knew I was going to love him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Aloha, Lady Blue I have been a long-time fan of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, so this was a real treat - flavored like a McGee, but with distinctly Hawaiian overtones. Memminger has a sure grip on both plot and character; you can sense the backstories of the subsidiary characters and sidekicks. Memminger hits the sweet spot that many writers miss - presenting people who act and talk as though the live in Hawaii, and are not someone's generic island cartoon buffoons. More Aunty Kealoha and Tiny Maunakea, please!

The plot lines were both ripped from the headlines and from some of Hawaii's shameful past; no mean feat to have them both resolved in the satisfying present. This story wrapped up well, with some poignancy and no loose ends, and it just whetted my appetite for the next one. Great read! Hey, Charley (gotta love an author cool enough to use the name "Charley," not "Charles" or "Chuck")! When's the next one coming out?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2013
I enjoyed this book. I had a couple of problems with it but nothing too serious. It tended to bog down in spots and it is too long, a sin committed by too many crime writers these days. But that aside, I have read crime books by so-called "name" writers that aren't as good as this one.
The writer strikes the right balance between serious dialogue, some insight, and some wit. He reminds me a lot of crime writers from the past. I had no problem with his references to past writers, books, etc. I don't think it was over done and it didn't get in the way of the narrative and that's the important thing. I look forward to his next book. He needs to tighten it up and move it along a bit more in his next work but I think he'll do okay. One last thing that bothered me a little. He has chosen to follow a trend with his character that I don't like. That is; his character has won a large lawsuit in the past and that is how he lives. Too many characters in modern crime writing are living off the proceeds of lawsuits or pensioned off because they were injured in some way on some "dangerous assignment" or whatever. This device is just too convenient and intellectually lazy for me. As I recall, McGee had to work for his money.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 5, 2013
Stryker McBride, a reporter for the "Honolulu Journal," was investigating police corruption when a beautiful female officer, Jeannie Kai, died in his arms, leaving him traumatized. He sought seclusion aboard his private yacht, "Travis McGee," with only his two German shepherds, Kane and Lano, to keep him company. The wealthy, spoiled Amber Kalanianole Kam, a former classmate, begs Stryker to investigate the death of her Chinese-American grandfather, Wai Lo Fat, who supposedly drowned in his taro field in the middle of Kala Lane Estates. Soon afterwards, Stryker discovers a conspiracy of Chinese-Americans and U.S. Army personnel that can be traced back to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Aloha, readers! You are destined to enjoy a wonderful summer vacation when reading Charley Memminger's unique mystery debut, "Aloha, Lady Blue," which is set on the luscious Hawaiian island of Oahu. Memminger has a flair for describing tropical locales, recreational pastimes and historical landmarks. He also provides the reader with a crash course on the settling of the islands, beginning with the aborigine Polynesians, continuing with the Conquistadors and concluding with numerous Asian ethnic groups. The story's hero, Stryker McBride, is an affable man who participates in a lot of water sports such as surfboarding and sailboat racing; he also likes to drink Budweiser, and he can do it without always getting drunk, unlike the lawyer in Douglas Corleone's best-selling Kevin Corvelli novels, which are also set in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The author and the hero of "Aloha, Lady Blue" both have a dark sense of humor. Several times, Stryker recounts with morbid curiosity the death of Amber's father, Clarence Lo Fat, who enjoyed hand gliding off "perfectly good" cliffs while releasing colored smoke. One of the pyrotechnic canisters on his hand glider exploded and he plummeted into Sea World Hawaii's porpoise pool, killing himself, a porpoise and its rider during a crowded performance. Sometimes the humor can be extremely perverse. For example, there is a bar, Club Buy Me Drinkee, which is owned by a six-foot-eight former professional football player who is now a drag queen. You'll have to buy the novel in order to learn why he is nicknamed the Enola Gay. I can't print it here without being reprimanded. Neither can I tell you the bizarre motivational technique that Mary Ann Morgan, CEO of the Honolulu Men's Health and Wellness Academy, employs in order to help her wealthy clients lose up to fifty pounds and keep it off. I need to lose some weight but I might become anorexic if I joined this academy.

There is the typical assortment of strange characters that populate most crime novels, many of which have silly nicknames. The largest guy is called Tiny, Tiny Maunakea; he's a hit man who speaks as though he is British born and Harvard educated in classic literature. Tiny works for Auntie Kealoha, the sweet, plump, elderly woman who is known as Hawaii's Grandmother of Crime. The hero's sidekick is a former police officer, Blue Ho'okane, a native Hawaiian who surfs and speaks pidgin. Readers should be prepared to hear "bruddah" many times. There is also the promiscuous girl, Amber Kam, who manipulates the hero by sleeping with him; afterwards, she cruelly dumps him. Fortunately, Stryker's real love interest is the Honolulu Medical Examiner, Dr. Melba McCall. One of the strangest characters is Franky Five Fins, a surfing religious fanatic who is also a notorious hit man; his death was listed as a suicide even though his corpse was found inside a bullet-riddled barrel.

What began as a sun-drenched noir slowly evolved into a bizarre mystery that involves secret organizations, viruses and military conspiracies that can be traced back to World War II. Charley Memminger's "Aloha, Lady Blue" is highly recommended for fans of crime drama, especially those that are humorous, such as Douglas Corleone's Kevin Corvelli novels ["One Man's Paradise" (One Man's Paradise), "Night on Fire" (Night on Fire) and "Last Lawyer Standing" (Last Lawyer Standing)], which I have read and highly recommend. Also, "Aloha, Lady Blue" is recommended for fans who love mysteries set in exotic locations, but don't want to leave the United States--in mind as well as in body. I'm hoping this novel is the beginning of a wonderful series. Until the next installment, I will say, "Aloha!"

Joseph B. Hoyos
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
Reviewers before me hit the nail on the head with their insightful feedback - and for the most part, I echo their sentiments. This is a promising debut featuring former reporter Stryker McBride who acts as unofficial security guard for the local marina where he lives on his boat. The Hawaiian locales are beautifully realized and his affection for the late John D MacDonald is evident throughout. The dialogue is crisp and the story moves forward at a good pace.

Having said that, there were two aspects that I felt could have used some judicious editing to make the book even sharper: the author's knowledge of Chinese Americans and WWII lore is impressive yet I got lost sometimes trying to keep up with all the specific details. Additionally, there were instances where Stryker is coming off as too good and the author tried a bit too hard to get this point across. Still, not enough to detract from an engaging story and hopefully there will be more Stryker stories to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 25, 2013
I was thoroughly entertained by Charley Memminger's mystery novel, Aloha Lady Blue. Any reader who's enjoyed John D. MacDonald's novels should read this book. While neither a homage nor strict imitation, this novel is in the spirit of MacDonald, and Memminger makes that even clearer when we learn the name of the houseboat on which protagonist Stryker McBride lives: the Travis McGee. The setting in Hawaii comes alive through Memminger's descriptive language. If you're looking for something to read on the flight from the mainland to Hawaii, you can't do better than this novel.

Rating: Four-star (I like it)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2013
I give this book four stars as it is well written by someone who knows Hawaii. Memminger's writing is similar to another favorite author of mine, Charles Knief who has written several mysteries set in Hawaii. The original title was Kahala Road and it should have been left at that, but the editors changed the title to highlight a HPD female officer killed early in the story. A real page turner with lots of twists and turns in the plot. The descriptions of the locations are real as the author lives in Hawaii and did his research well.

Jim Husing
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