November 8, 2005

Lono Waiwaiole's "Wiley's Refrain"

Available Nov. 29th

Wiley's looking up. Most of the book is familiar territory; a couple of people have been "done wrong," and Wiley and his buddy Leon are out for justice. Throughout the story, Wiley asks himself existential questions with no easy answers, but by the end, he's starting to feel like his life has a point again.

The story is set in Portland and Hawai'i, and an example of Wiley's humor shows up in his comparison of the two area's rainfall patterns. And there is more humor; one of the more endearing things about our hero (sub-hero?) is his humor, especially in tight spots.

As I've said before, the characterizations are what make this series. Though most of us (hopefully!) don't lead the lives portrayed in these books, we know people like Wiley: broken but lovable, a rule breaker who follows a strong moral code, a man of action who's not always sure what's going on. The fact that he--and his friends--are always asking about the road he's traveling just adds to the interest: I find myself rooting for him to find his way.

Also as before, there's a certain amount of sex (especially for the bad guys) and violence (pretty equally distributed). Bad things happen to good people, in the typical "noir" tradition. Finally, the writing is just as good as before; you can tell the author loves to play with language. Some of the turns of phrase are just plain beautiful (and the bad guys' swearing provides another source of humor as a running joke throughout the book.)

All in all, a fun ride.

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