HBMF Note: Four SinC/Hawaii (Sisters In Crime- Hawaii) members, Laurie Hanan, Gene Parola, Ray Pace, and Gail Baugniet will give a panel discussion on Saturday entitled “Why Men Join Sisters in Crime” in the Author Pavilion Mauka at 1pm. They will also have a SinC/Hawaii booth where books will be sold and signed.

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The Hawaii Chapter of Sisters in Crime, a local group of crime and mystery writers, will be participating at this year’s Hawaii Book and Music Festival. Since there will be four authors and their books at one table we decided to do some mini-reviews to give you some info on each one.

FeA  ForEveryActionFor Every Action There Are Consequences by Gail Baugniet
If the exotic character name of the protagonist, Pepper Bibeau, is any indication of the clever surprises to be found in this book you won’t be disappointed. The story takes place in 1960’s Chicago but our main character Pepper is from Hawaii, trying to carve a life for herself post-Vietnam. Pepper uses her past skills as a war-nurse to investigate insurance claims. While unraveling the truth about medical claims and insurance fraud, and coming to grips with her past, Pepper is compelled to solve the murder of a friend–a friend who died while wearing Pepper’s coat. The personal and racial struggles of this local girl come mainland transplant is as applicable in the past as it is now.

Almost Paradise by Laurie Hananalmost paradise
You know how they say some people write with personality? Laurie Hanan is one of those people. This is the first book in her mystery series based on Oahu. Protagonist Louise Golden is a mail carrier in Kaneohe and a local transplant. She’s good at her job and keeps to herself but soon gets caught up in a missing persons case. Rife with witty details, this book has it all–smugglers, car chases, even entitled celebrities. The third book in the series, Another Day In Paradise, is my favorite of all three, with just the right amount of humor and intrigue, a unique plot and colorful local characters. Hanan also gives a portion of her book proceeds to help rescue dogs. Follow her on Facebook for more adventures and interesting on-goings.

Hemingway Memoirs of Les by Ray Pacememories of les
This is an intimate look at the life of Les Hemingway, the brother of Ernest Hemingway, who was in his own right a talented and accomplished writer. This is a fast and easy read, mostly because you’re eager to learn more about this kind and humorous man who was just as talented and well-traveled as his brother. It’s both sad and interesting to learn the details of Les Hemingway’s life constantly overshadowed by his siblings accomplishments. Les’ personality really comes through in Pace’s writing. It’s not a mystery novel… but  Pace is active with the SinC/Hawaii group and has other book published or in progress.

Lehua, Ka’ao a ka Wahine by Gene Parolalehua
Parola crafts a work of fiction that takes place in one of the most tumultuous periods of Hawaiian history–just after the fall of the kapu system when native Hawaiians struggled to find structure and meaning in the wake of social and cultural devastation. Kudos for choosing such a meaty time-frame and topic. I’ll admit that Parola has done his research and weaves his tale with accurate details. There’s a little bit of mystery and a little bit of love surrounding our main character, but it’s mostly political. I wanted to love this book more, but it’s hard since I have very specific opinions about this time period. I also felt Lehua, the main character, was a little one dimensional. She’s ali’i and beautiful. She runs like the wind and surfs like she was born in the water. Her hula is a gift from the gods and on top of all that she’s a thinker… and she challenges the old ways, and sees things that the other ali’i do not. *snore* She’s the Hawaiian version of a “Mary Sue”. Parola is also the author of several other mystery novels.