Focus Friday: Torn Roots


A new Lei Crime Kindle World novella

TornRootsMidResBy Scott Bury

This week’s Focus Friday features an book that’s coming out at the end of the month through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program.

The Lei Crime series is the creation of BestSelling Reads member Toby Neal. Earlier this year, it became a Kindle World, where other authors can publish books and stories featuring Toby’s characters, settings and world. Eight novellas and stories appeared in April in the Lei Crime world, and another set is coming this month, including titles from BestSelling Reads members Scott Bury and Christine Nolfi.

Torn Roots will be out on July 31. Set in Maui, it features Toby Neal’s police detective Pono Kaihale and FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott, as well as new characters created by author Scott Bury.

Sam knew where the tracks would lead as soon as he saw them—straight to the pillar of smoke rising above the jungle. He judged it to be about a mile uphill, coming from somewhere under Maui’s rain forest canopy. 

He jogged along the path the ATV had torn through the jungle, over shredded grass where wide tires had ripped into the reddish-black soil. The path dodged a boulder on the slope, then doubled back to avoid a steep dip. Sam ducked under a low branch, took three long strides between dense, thorny shrubs and regained the ATV tracks on the other side of the dip.  

His sling-bow, axe and shovel bounced against the backs of his thighs with every long stride. He hit the FPS radio button clipped to his shirt collar. “Fire response,” he said. “I’m heading toward the source, about a mile off the Hana Highway, uphill, a mile west of Ohe’o Gulch.” 

He jumped over a thick log. He could smell the smoke now. “We need a water bomber, and a crew, stat.” He didn’t know whether the Haleakala Forest Ranger Service used “stat,” but he figured they’d get the message. 

Birds, some brown, some bright red-and-grey, whipped past him. He felt heat but wasn’t sure whether it came from the fire or the sun. He could see orange and red flickering ahead, and thick, black smoke rolling upward. He ducked under another branch and then saw the fire. 

He heard it, too, a deep roar punctuated with snaps, like a hungry beast gorging on its prey. He heard a whining hiss, as well, the sound of water boiling out of live wood, but for a second he imagined it was the rain forest crying in pain. 

Smoke stung his eyes. He ran across the slope so that he was upwind of the fire, but little breeze penetrated the canopy and the smoke was still thick. Sam pulled the bandana down from on top of his head to cover his nose and mouth.  

Flames raged up the bole of a koa tree. Its long leaves steamed and smoked. At the base, shrubs burned bright orange and red, billowing dark gray smoke. A small clearing amidst a stand of tall koas was filled with roiling smoke. Anger hotter than the flames shot through Sam. Someone made a campfire here last night, prohibited in the park, and hadn’t put it out properly.  

He pulled his axe from the loop in his backpack and stepped to a low olomea bush a couple of yards from the fire. He hated to do it, but he had to make a firebreak, and this was one of the few places he could start to make a difference by himself.  

Two strokes from the axe took the bush off its roots, and he picked it up and threw it away from the fire, under the forest canopy. Then he started attacking other bushes and smaller trees, clearing a path of flammable material. He hit the button on his radio again as he put away the axe and took out his shovel. “Really could use some help up here making a firebreak,” he said, and then coughed.

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, Marketing, Canadian Printer, Applied Arts, PEM, Workplace, Advanced Manufacturing and others.

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.

And visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.



  1. Such a wonderful cover! That alone put Torn Roots at the top of my ‘next read’ list!