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Pleasing the Dead [Hardcover]

Deborah Turrell Atkinson

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2009 Storm Kayama Mysteries (Hardcover)
Some nasty predators dwell in paradise, and they arenat all hiding in the azure waters. The day attorney Storm Kayama arrives in Kahului to help Lara Farrell set up her new dive shop, someone bombs a restaurant. When one of Laraas employees, a recent Japanese immigrant, kills himself and one of his young daughters, Storm begins to ask questions.
The tentacles of the Yakuza, the dangerous, Japanese organized crime group, grip local businesses, real estate, and politics. Cunning and deadly, the clan leaders exploit underage women and eliminate anyone who dares face up to them.
Storm finds herself up against a lethal and faceless enemy, in a place where disposing of a victim is easy as dumping her in shark-infested waters.
But who is hunting whom? In a struggle to the death, Storm begins to realize that surviving doesnat always mean living. For some, the ghosts of the past may be more painful than the anguish of the present.
Hawaii lawyer Storm Kayama must battle against the yakuza's presence and an ancient adherence to tradition to save more young girls from a terrible fate.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Feb. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590585976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590585979
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,811,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“In this fourth in the series, Atkinson continues to mix realistic stories of contemporary Hawaii with facts about the islands’ past. The combination goes far beyond the tunnel-vision tourist’s view.” –Booklist of Pleasing the Dead
“Rich with Hawaiian folklore, Atkinson's convoluted fourth mystery to feature attorney Storm Kayama (after 2007's Fire Prayer) explores the dark side of paradise…Readers will root for the strong, likable Storm as she uncovers secrets on an island that's only idyllic on the surface.”  
Publishers Weekly of Pleasing the Dead

About the Author

Deborah Turrell Atkinson lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, with her husband and two children. A zest for traveling off the beaten path, friends, and her deep interest in the native myths and lore that abound among Hawaii’s rich and varied cultures contribute to her books.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful and Deadly Mystery Feb. 13 2009
By Cindy Chow - Published on
Once again Deborah Turrell Atkinson displays her talent for writing mysteries that brilliantly convey both the beauty and dangers of Hawaii. In her fourth outing, attorney Storm Kayama travels to Maui to meet with her new client, former champion windsurfer Lara Farrell. To her surprise, Lara seems reluctant to reveal the details about her business partnership with her fiancé Ryan Tagama. Or more accurately, as Storm soon discovers, the ties with Ryan and his Japanese financier father whose tendrils connect him with shady Japanese businessmen who all display a distinct lack of pinky fingers.

Storm's first sights on Maui are the burned remains of a local restaurant, and that harbinger foreshadows a tragic domestic shooting and additional murder as her own room is repeatedly invaded and she is followed by an ominous SUV. In her own life Storm is dealing with the tentative relationship with her boyfriend Ian Hamlin, who left her for a "break" after Storm's previous investigations left them both scarred and wounded.

Atkinson's mysteries always excel at detailing the sights and flavors of Hawaii that only a local could convey. From the diverse and delicious foods such as poi pancakes and saimin with fish cake to the Hawaiian tradition the "coconut wireless" that makes a small island a small neighborhood, all of these descriptions display traits that are uniquely Hawaiian. More than just a regional mystery, Pleasing the Dead explores the complex relationships between fathers and their children and the long-lasting, tragic, legacies left when those relationships are broken. This latest Storm Kayama mystery is the most harrowing yet, with an exciting battle at sea that the reader won't soon forget. A beautiful, scenic, and fascinating thriller that shouldn't be missed.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading! March 12 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got hooked on the first book and kept getting the one after Great to read and keep you guessing
3.0 out of 5 stars Good series from Hawaii! Dec 14 2013
By Susan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like the a little predictable at times. Love all the aloha! Makes me miss living there! Old home week with some places mentioned.
4.0 out of 5 stars An inexpensive Hawaiian vacation Feb. 9 2011
By Mary Beth Magee - Published on
Paradise isn't always perfect for attorney Storm Kayama. She has a habit of attracting murder and mayhem, no matter which island she visits. In "Pleasing the Dead," she runs afoul of powerful Japanese mobsters, a temper tantrum-prone client and mysterious relationships that threaten lives all up and down the social strata.

Author Deborah Turrell Atkinson brings the Hawaiian Islands to vibrant life in this latest entry in the Kayama chronicles. Set on Maui, the book takes us behind the tourist scenes and into the small towns and neighborhoods of the island. We meet grocers and contractors as well as the police officers. A number of Hawaiian foods appear throughout the story as well, whetting the reader's appetite. (I'm definitely ready to try the shave ice with hidden ice cream and azuki bean she describes on page 222.)

Kayama is a strong protagonist. Atkinson gives her a distinct personality that is fresh yet familiar at the same time. She could be your chum from high school or your next door neighbor. Her heart is for people, as evidenced by her mission to bring the little girl, Carmen, a favorite stuffed cat that was left behind when the paramedics brought her to the hospital. At the same time, she fiercely stands up to people who mean harm to those who are important to her.

The large cast of fascinating supporting characters requires attention from the reader. Many of the names are of Japanese origin. The typical reader will be able to keep them straight with a minimum of effort. You'll hate some and love others, but you will be intrigued by the interplay between them in this tense story.

The threads of Atkinson's plot weave through the story like tendrils of some exotic vine. Relationships and past histories converge and digress, but the end result is an entrancing story rich with Hawaiian lore and language. There is some rough language (the reason I gave it 4 rather than 5), but a great read.

If the weather has you wishing for a warm vacation, get "Pleasing the Dead." It's a great escape to Hawaii, a lot less expensive than air fare and no security checkpoints to face.
4.0 out of 5 stars Swimming with the sharks May 28 2009
By Pat Browning - Published on
The beautiful island of Maui is the real star of this show. Atkinson has thoughtfully included a map to help the reader follow the action.

Although attorney Storm Kayama is the protagonist, the character that lingers in my mind is Ichiru Tagama, a Japanese gentleman of the old school who gets caught in the grip of the Japanese crime organization Yakuza. Tagama's progression from real estate tycoon to doting father to pragmatist facing reality parallels Storm's investigations into a client's proposed dive shop.

Storm has her work cut out for her. Her client, Lara, is a bit flaky. She's about to marry Tagama's son. She's on deadline to get the dive shop up and running. She wants to own the land under it, yet she shows little interest in Storm's questions and legal documents. Taking
tourists out on a dive boat, she's not particular about observing the 3-mile limit from shore. She's not above baiting the water to attract sharks and give the tourists a thrill.

The whole island seems to ignore legalities. Yakuza is into property ownership and child prostitution. Everyone knows it but they turn a blind eye and are afraid to talk about it. Everyone seems to be hiding something.

Two characters who turn out to be Storm's allies are former "water girls" or child prostitutes. Their lives are also at stake when Storm's stubborn pursuit of the island's secrets almost gets her killed.

In my favorite chapter, Lara takes Storm snorkeling. Twenty to 30 feet down, the water is so clear they can see 50 feet in any direction. Storm marvels at the way they are watched by sea creatures that nevertheless go on about their business. Suddenly Lara is knocked galley-west by a four-foot, white-tipped reef shark. She's badly
frightened by the attack from a shark she calls Bruce and considers to be her family totem, or protector. We will meet Bruce the shark again.

PLEASING THE DEAD is an absorbing read on several levels. There's a glossary of Hawaiian words in the back.

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