Focus Friday: Torn Roots


A Lei Crime World novella

By Scott Bury

Pono recognized a thin older Hawaiian woman standing to one side of the protesters, her long gray hair reaching down her back. So old Sophia Keahi is keeping an eye on this, he thought. It figures she’d be against off-island money developing the shoreline.

Facing the protesters were what Sam assumed were the developers: a slender Asian man in a light gray suit and tie, and Tyler Lopes, the man who had brought the complaint into the Hana Sheriff’s station.

And in the middle of it, a tall, slim woman stood on the concrete form that would one day be a wharf for luxury yachts. Her shoulder-length blond hair had been styled so that it would wave in the on-shore breeze, while setting off her blazing blue eyes. She drew her lips into thin lines as she screamed at the men in front of her. “This is a fragile ecosystem! There is no justification for building a luxury marina, a playground for trust fund babies. And the slope across the highway is a recognized national forest preserve, a site to be conserved for endangered Hawaiian flora and fauna, not for mansions for the elite! We say, stop the development and stop it now!”

“No yacht club here! No land for trust fund babies!” the other protesters chanted in unison. They’re well organized, Pono thought.

To one side were a young Asian woman dressed in a dark suit, holding a microphone in one hand and a headset to her ear with the other, and two men in KHIN-TV shirts. One, a local, held a video camera on his shoulder.

“Hey, Johnny, howzit, brah?” Pono asked the camera man in pidgin.

“Hey, Pono. Protest group doesn’t want the company to build the marina, nor the housing development up the hill, neither. Chick there like beef.” He nodded at the tall blond woman, meaning she was spoiling for a fight.

“Hello, officer,” said the young woman in the suit. If she hadn’t been wearing heels, the top of her head would have come up to the middle of Sam’s chest. “I’m Aisha Chen.”

Pono nodded at her. “Where’s Wendy?” he asked, referring to KHIN’s main reporter, Wendy Watanabe.

“This story is too minor for her, so she’s letting the intern handle it,” she replied, looking toward the protest on the shore. She bounced on her toes and slapped the microphone into her palm. “Did you get the chanting?” she asked Johnny, the cameraman. He nodded. “Okay, I’m ready.” She stepped between the camera and the shore, straightened her jacket, swept a hand through her long black hair and cleared her throat. A red light came on the front of the camera.

“This is Aisha Chen from the site of the Kipahulu Marina, where an environmental group is preventing the Halawa Construction Company from proceeding with building a wharf for luxury yachts. Led by this young woman, reportedly from Canada, the group says they will not leave until Halawa and the owners of the property, Enterprise Shore LLC, cease and desist from building in what the environmentalists say is a pristine, and fragile shoreline.” She paused, looking straight into the camera, for a count of three, then visibly relaxed. “Look okay?” she asked the cameraman. He nodded.

“How do you know she’s Canadian?” Pono asked her.

“She’s been hanging around the island for a few months, now, showing up at different meetings and so on. But I think that’s all I should tell you, Officer, until I clear it with the station’s legal department.”

“Hey, sista, no get all li’dat,” Pono said. “We don’t need to get so formal.” He turned to Sam. “Canadian. What, are you all six-footers up there in the snow?”

“She’s one hundred eighty-two centimeters tall, or five-foot-eleven-and-a-half, and I’m six-four. So, no.” Sam replied.

Pono looked at him for a few seconds, head tilted. Then he smiled, a dimple flashing under his moustache. “Six-four. Okay. Didn’t mean to cut you down, haole.”

“I was born here, remember? My Dad guys haole, but my Mom guys all Hawaiian”—his father was from off-island, but his mother was Hawaiian.

“So sensitive,” Pono said, wiggling his eyebrows.

About Torn Roots

Hawaii is known for volcanoes and sandy beaches. Beauty and danger reign.

After breaking a case of murdered poachers in Maui’s national park, Detective Pono Kaihale accepts a short-term position as Acting Lieutenant in Hana on the island’s rain-forest coast. He is looking forward to redirecting lost hikers and moderating mild lovers’ spats and enjoying the natural beauty of the southeast coast. But by his second week on the job, Pono finds trouble here comes in unexpected forms.

Environmentalists, property developers, protesters, arsonists, kidnappers, and a rogue Homeland Security agent converge on his new post, Pono feels like the eye of a brewing storm. And when a new FBI agent gets involved, Pono realizes the stakes are much higher than a quiet period in his career.

Lives will be lost if he doesn’t solve this mystery quickly.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Ottawa Citizen, the Financial Post, Applied Arts and others.

He was invited to write a short book for the Lei Crime Kindle World series of Toby Neal. Torn Roots appeared in July 2015, almost the same day as another Kindle World novella, Jet – Stealth, a part of the Jet Kindle World of Russell Blake.

Scott will publish a new Lei Crime Kindle World story in time for Christmas 2015. Palm Fronds and Snowflakes will feature Vanessa Storm from Torn Roots, as well as other beloved characters from Toby Neal’s Lei Crime world.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds a BA from Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

Read his full bio on his BestSelling Reads Author page.

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And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.


About Scott Bury