Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Saving Paradise by Mike Bond

Saving Paradise
Author: Mike Bond
Publication: Mandevilla Press (November 20, 2012)

Description: When a beautiful journalist drowns mysteriously off Waikiki, Hawaii, Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins, now a well-known surfer and international correspondent for surfing magazines, soon gets embroiled in trying to find out why she died. What he quickly learns makes him a target for murder or life in prison as a cabal of powerful corporations, foreign killers and crooked politicians places the blame on him. Haunted by memories of Afghanistan, and determined to protect the Hawaii he loves from dirty politics tied to huge destructive energy developments, Pono turns to Special Forces buddies and his own covert skills to fight his deadly enemies, trying both save himself and find her killers. Alive with the sights, sounds and history of Hawaii, SAVING PARADISE is also a deepy rich portrait of what Pono calls the seamy side of paradise, and an exciting thriller of politics, lies and remorseless murder.

My Thoughts: SAVING PARADISE is a twisty mystery with a cast of thousands and a large school of red herrings. Afghan war veteran, convict on parole, turned surfer dude Pono Hawkins stumbles onto the corpse of journalist Sylvia Gordon when he is out surfing early one morning. Pono served a couple of tours in Afghanistan as a member of the Special Forces and isn't unfamiliar with dead bodies. However, something touches him about Sylvia's and he is determined to find out what happened to her.

Little does Pono know that his investigation will uncover corruption from the Governor's Office to Hawaii's Electric Utility to Hong Kong businessmen who want to build casinos and subdivisions to land companies that control large parts of Hawaii. Circling all through this is a company called Wind Power that wants to build huge wind farms on Molokai and lay underground cables through coral reefs and habitats of endangered species. 

Pono has a huge number of suspects who stand to make or lose billions of dollars in the whole wind farm scam. And  many of them would very much like Pono to be the next one to die. We follow Pono as he runs through the beautiful Hawaiian Islands trying to investigate while eluding the groups who would like him dead. 

I, personally, lost track of all the characters in this story. All of them had, potentially, motives that would make them part of the scam. I also didn't really connect with Pono until near the end of the book. I felt closer to his surfing dachshund than I did to him even though the dog was killed in the first third of the book. 

The environmental message was clear and repeated frequently by almost every person Pono talked to. Wind power was a scam that would cost billions for little reward and would do immense ecological damage to Hawaii. No one wanted it except the corrupt politicians and businessmen who would rake in immense profits at the government's and taxpayer's expense. At times, the message seemed to overpower the mystery.

Fans of Bond's work will enjoy this frenetic, twisty tale. This one requires close reading to keep track of all the suspects, love interests, and assistants. Note taking might even help.

Favorite Quote:
Here I was totally alone in a wasteland of sorrow and fear. Anyone I turned to for help could be Simon's "connection". Anyone who knew me was an accessory just for not turning me in. Any person coming up behind me could have a Glock with a silencer, and there's little you can do about a bullet in your brain.
I got this finished copy from Meryl Moss Media Relations for my stop on the blog tour. You can buy your copy here

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