In his return to the North Shore, Kimo discovers trouble in paradise, from an epidemic rise in the use of crystal meth to increasing pressure on real estate prices. As well, he rekindles an uneasy friendship with an old friend whose sexual assault drove Kimo into the police academy, and further into the closet, six years earlier.MAHU SURFER showcases a handsome, sexy hero who struggles to overcome personal troubles and makes private sacrifices for the public good. Throw in an exotic tropical locale, plenty of aloha spirit and a dash of surf culture, as well as a slam-bang ending that puts Kimo and the people he cares about in danger, and you’ve got the makings of a page-turning mystery.
Neil gives an overview of the book:
I parked my battered pick-up at a meter on South Beretania Street, about half a block away from Honolulu Police Headquarters, and sat there with the windows open for a few minutes. Keola Beamer was playing a slack key guitar piece on KTUH, the radio station at the University of Hawai’i, and a light breeze rustled the palm fronds. It was nice to sit there, rather than face what was waiting for me inside.
The pick-up was a hand-me-down from my father, a small-time contractor who supported my mom, my brothers and me by building everything from an addition to somebody’s house to small shopping centers all over the island of O’ahu. He yelled a lot when I was a kid, and let my older brothers pick on me too much, but he and my mom instilled a sense of honor in me, a need to do what’s right. That’s partly why I became a police officer six years ago.
I think it was that sense of honor, too, that made my coming out so hard. Admitting, to myself and others, that I had been lying about being gay for so long was tough, and it was even tougher because the media dragged me out of the closet, when my sexuality became an issue during a case I investigated. My family had to learn I was gay from a TV report.
They stood by me, though, while I was suspended from the force, and they rejoiced with me when the suspension was voided, and I was offered a new job, in a different district, with the boss I was about to report to.
Keola finished, and the station segued into Keali’i Reichel, who sang, “Every Road Leads Back to You.” I figured that was a good cue to see where my road was going to lead me, so I locked the truck and headed down the sidewalk.
The sour-faced aide manning the metal detector looked like he knew exactly who I was, and he wasn’t happy to see me. I took the elevator up to Lieutenant Sampson’s office, and the two cops already on it stopped talking as soon as I stepped in. Neither said a word to me, and I didn’t say anything to them.
I started to understand what it was going to be like to come back to work again, now that everyone on the island of O‘ahu knew who I was.
Though I met Sampson when my suspension was voided and he offered me a transfer to his division, I didn’t know much about him, just that he seemed to be a fair, no-nonsense guy. “Come on in, Kimo, have a seat,” he said, standing up to greet me. “How’ve you been holding up?”
“It hasn’t been easy,” I said, keeping my back stiff as I shook his hand. I looked around as I sat. The furniture was standard-issue HPD, simple and utilitarian. Sampson’s desk was loaded with paperwork and a few framed pictures. A paperweight on a shelf caught my eye; it was a scale model of what looked like a Civil War-era cannon. “Coming out is tough enough when you’re just telling your family and friends. When the media gets involved, and you nearly lose your job, it’s even tougher. But I appreciate your willingness to bring me into your team, and I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”
“Good. I’m embarrassed that this department, which I believe in, didn’t treat you right, but I think we can put all that behind us.” I noticed that he was mimicking my posture, staying stiff and serious. Finally, he smiled. “I’m looking forward to having you work for me. So let’s get going.”
I relaxed a bit in the chair, crossing my leg, and he leaned over and dropped an 8 x 10 blowup of a dead man in front of me.
I am the author of three mystery novels: Mahu, Mahu Surfer and Mahu Fire (April 2008). I've wanted to be a writer since I was about 16, though it took me a lot longer to have my first novel published. Along the way I wrote book reviews for...