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Hawaii and Crime Done Right
on November 29, 2011
It's not easy to write a story that takes place in Hawaii for a wider audience and do it well. Many authors write from an outsider's perspective, throwing out careless mistakes which cause local readers to groan in the same way they suffer the mispronunciation of famous street names or landmarks on Hawaii Five-O. Other writers spend so much time explaining why Hawaii is the way it is, they lose the rhythm of the narrative and distract from the story they are trying to tell. Another common trap is to use local expressions without bothering to explain what they mean.
The late Ian MacMillan could strike the right balance, and Toby Neal can, too. The main character in Blood Orchids--Lei Texeira--grew up partly in Hawaii, partly in California. Having Lei for a main character is like having a cultural interpreter to show you what it's really like to live in Hilo, on the island of Hawaii. The authenticity is there, the local flavor and texture are there, too. But the contemporary social issues are in the background. This story is about a very human and likeable cop with more than a couple of things to prove. Her friends, family, enemies, and the things that happen to her and around her make this a compelling read.