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Saving Paradise by Mike Bond

Saving Paradise” is an environmental and political thriller set in the Hawaiian Islands.  It has all the elements of a great thriller: a likeable and complex protagonist (journalist/surfer, ex-Special Forces and ex-con, Pono Hawkins), an atmospheric and beautiful setting (Molokai and Oahu), and a tense mystery that nearly takes down our hero in the process of solving the crime.  Pono is a former Special Forces officer who was assigned to Afghanistan and suffers  PTSD and other psychological illnesses that plague thousands of veterans of the middle east wars.  He is characterized as a flawed but likeable guy who keeps finding trouble but desperately wants to avoid getting caught and sent back to prison.  He has a very strong loyalty to his native Hawaiian roots and wants to preserve the beauty and serenity of the islands for as long as possible.

A journalist is found washed up on the shore on Waikiki and it is quickly determined that she was actually drowned in fresh water and dumped in the ocean.  Who would want her dead?  The lead candidates all have ties to the current governor and Big Energy and are tied specifically to the burgeoning wind power industry in Hawaii.  Environmental groups are opposing the wind power lobby because they argue wind turbines endanger several species of birds and seals and contracts to set up wind farms has been bought for political favor both at the state and federal level.

As someone who supports wind energy in my own state I took with a grain of salt the conspiracy plot.  Still, I recognize that wind power does have an environmental downside, and is not appropriate in every state’s plan to diversify energy resources.  Bond argues that solar power makes more sense in a state like Hawaii, and he may well be right.  It is also true that sweetheart deals have been worked out between the alternative energy companies and Washington and certain states, but Bond has probably heightened the conspiracy theory in order to make for good book copy.

In the end I enjoyed “Saving Paradise” as a very well written, fast-paced and exciting thriller, even though the conspiracy plot left me a little skeptical.

Reviewed from a supplied copy.

Liz Nichols








” is an environmental thriller set in the Hawaiian Islands.

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