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Hilo Buddhist Temple, Hilo, HI – 9:00 PM Hawaii Time

An escape hatch had been built into the wall of the temple during WWII, so the story went, to allow conscientious objectors a means of avoiding capture by MPs. A recently fired sniper rifle over his right shoulder and two spent cartridges in his pocket, Nachtmann was clearly not a pacifist. Still, he too needed a fast exit. Squeezing through a small opening, he slipped out of the building and into a small garden.

Nachtmann felt good. He’d gotten off two clean shots, cold zero. The resulting chaos, the screaming, crying and rushing about in the Shanga Hall was still faintly audible behind him. He counted on that. He needed the time to stash his piece and get in the wind.

Kneeling by a concrete bench near the garden, he fumbled around for the gun drop that was supposed to be there. It wasn’t. A chill stole down his spine. The drop was to have concealed his piece. It had to be there. He couldn’t walk out into the street carrying a loaded rifle, not now.

Wait, he thought. Maybe the cache was behind the other bench standing opposite.

But it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere.

Foliage rustled over Nachtmann’s left shoulder. He turned his head. Emerging from a narrow breezeway leading into the garden was an aging monk wearing yellow robes in the Chinese style. Huge folds of fabric hung below his wrists. A long skein of cloth swung from his left forearm, draping nearly to the ground.

The monk hesitated briefly. He had not expected to find the garden occupied. A moment later he smiled. Nachtmann smiled back. Then he stood, walked toward the cleric and bowed. The monk, still smiling, returned the gesture. As the old man’s bow came to its lowest point, Nachtmann reached over his own shoulders, seized his gun barrel in both hands and swung down hard. Under the ferocious descent of the plummeting rifle butt, the old man’s skull cracked.

Before his blood could stain the fabric of his robes, Nachtmann dragged the man’s body into the shadows. Once there, he removed his own clothing, dressed himself as a Chinese monk and hid the sniper rifle beneath the layers of saffron.

The disguise was largely convincing. Monks’ garments are loosely draped and generous, and these covered Nachtmann’s large frame easily. True, his head was not shaved, but his hair was short and, in the darkness, none but the most observant would notice. He gathered up his shirt and trousers and left via the breezeway from whence the old man had come.

Near the gate of the temple stood a gathering of homeless men waiting to solicit spare change from the crowd inside. Nachtmann approached the most disoriented among them, inclined his head and handed him the bundle of clothes.

At that moment, just behind Nachtmann, another figure exited the temple, brushing past Nachtmann on his way out.

Nachtmann glanced over his shoulder. He knew that man. It was Anthony Dudgeons.

Hilo Harbor, Hilo, HI – 9:45 PM Hawaii Time

Kona Wind cruised into Hilo Harbor, graceful, dignified and fashionably late. Deborah Garrison, her two bags beside her, stood by a railing, watching as crewmen and dock workers secured the vessel in preparation for landing.

The fragrance of an offshore wind was only fitfully apparent, masked by the sour tang of exhaust from the engines below. When it did reach her, the aroma of the warm breeze carried the power to transport Deborah Garrison into the past.

Not far from here, in such a breeze, she had ridden horseback over rocky cliffs and swam in warm volcanic pools. She had eaten poi, salt fish and mango, listened to Hawaiian songs and sat at the feet of storytellers who, in their tales, recreated the ancient days.

It was these experiences, coupled with the influence of Katherine Stanford, her guardian, which had inspired Deborah to study anthropology, to work toward preserving what legacies still remained of the great and noble Hawaiian people. And it was those studies that led her to believe, as her father had before her, that a great injustice had been done here.

She now hoped that, in returning, she might find a way to both preserve herself and her young family, as well as to put right some of the inequities that had been visited upon her home.

Deborah looked around. Only a few passengers had elected to go ashore, the remainder choosing to stay behind in anticipation of the next day’s schedule. Even so, there were scores of greeters dockside. She scanned the faces, wondering if she would still recognize Anthony Dudgeons. She hoped so. All her running had left her aching for a friendly face. Suddenly, her arm flew up in a euphoric wave.

“Anthony!” she shouted. “Anthony! Anthony!”

There, in the midst of the throng, Dudgeons’ head turned toward the sound of his name. He returned her greeting, his tan, rangy arm arcing over the heads of the crowd. His hair had gone gray, almost white, but he was still as lanky and elfin as Deborah remembered.

“Hello, darling!” he called back. “How are you?” She marveled at his smile. Remarkably, from nearly sixty feet away in the dim evening light, his sparkling teeth shone brightly. Even the robed Buddhist monk standing some distance away seemed to notice.

Rosedale, CA -- 11:15 PST

El Salvador’s civil war, which Sally Hank’s live-in housekeeper had survived, had been a stern schoolmaster. It had taught Maria to be alert and vigilant, especially when it came to unexplained vehicles moving through the night.

Returning home on foot from a late dinner with friends at a nearby home, Maria noticed a black Toyota sedan pull onto the road from a parking place just across the street. Out of habit, she checked car’s license plates. Though the vehicle drove away too quickly for an accurate reading, she did notice that the number contained several repetitions of both the letter ‘O’ and the numeral zero.

Fifteen minutes later, when the police arrived to investigate the disappearance of Noah Garrison, Maria passed that information along.

Hilo Harbor, Hilo, HI -- 10:15 Hawaii Time

There had been a problem securing the landing bridge to the Kona Wind. Twenty-five minutes after first sighting one another, Anthony Dudgeons and Deborah Garrison finally embraced on the dock. Some distance away, Hugh Nachtmann watched.

It had been nine years since Nachtmann had been this close to the object of his obsession. In a similar situation, another man might have felt a tender ache, some combination of longing and regret, closing around his heart. In Nachtmann, the feelings were not quite so straightforward.

Although not a stupid man, Nachtmann was delusional. He was certain that Deborah Garrison knew he was nearby. Indeed, she was on this dock tonight, so he believed, because she knew he would be here also. Furthermore, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he had thoroughly persuaded himself that Deborah Garrison was as fixated on him as he was on her.

In his mind, if nowhere else in the universe, there was a powerful connection between them. They were bound by destiny, a matched set, a pair.

What interest Anthony Dudgeons had in her, Nachtmann hadn’t a clue. Whatever their relationship, it repulsed him to see the older man touching his woman. Watching Deborah’s eyes sparkle as the two of them talked was, to Nachtmann, unalloyed agony. Moreover, he was convinced that she was as revolted by Dudgeons’ attentions as he.

Nachtmann called out to her with his mind. Come on, baby, he urged. There’s no need make yourself crazy. Get the old geezer away from all these people and let me take him out.

At that moment, Deborah laughed, took Dudgeons’ arm and began to walk off the dock, toward Hilo. Nachtmann smiled.

“Atta girl,” he whispered. “Come to papa.”

Even dressed conspicuously, it was not difficult for Nachtmann to stay out of sight. Scores of people crowded the terminal. He hung back, keeping to the shadows.

He noticed that Deborah and Dudgeons were moving slowly. In similar circumstances, that’s exactly what he would have done. He imagined that Deborah was reading his mind.

That’s good, baby, he thought. Nice and easy, that’s the way to play it.

As he passed through a well lit area, his attire attracted some attention. A young Asian couple stared at him curiously. Brazenly, he put his two hands together and nodded a greeting.

A moment later, an East Indian matron bowed in his direction. When he bowed in return, his rifle showed beneath the robes. Spinning around, frantically tugging and slapping at fabric, he managed to conceal it, but when he turned back, Deborah and Dudgeons had disappeared.

“Shit!” he said, a little too loudly.

Up ahead, some thirty feet away, the corridor angled left. Perhaps they’d picked up their pace. Perhaps they were only a few steps away. He hurried forward. At the bend in the passageway he stopped and craned his neck to see better, but there was nothing to see. No one was there. Nachtmann’s head jerked in all directions. He began to panic. Where could they be? He began to panic.

Just then, he spotted a narrow, unmarked door, which he opened. From inside, down a cramped hallway, came the sound of laughter and moving feet. Still, no one was visible and the voices were impossible to identify. He looked back toward the main corridor. Dudgeons and Deborah were not in the crowd. He had to chance it. He went through the door.

Once in the hallway and out of sight, he gathered up the robe in one hand and, holding his rifle in the other, ran at top speed, the slap of his sandals resounding off the ceiling.

Thirty feet ahead, the passage turned at a right angle. Twenty feet past that was a door. Nachtmann slid to a stop and looked inside. In a small room, a lone clerk sat behind a counter. Nachtmann ran on. At the end of the hall stood another doorway, an exit. Outside it and directly across an empty lot was Pauami Road, the street fronting the passenger terminal. There, at the head of a line of waiting cabs, Anthony Dudgeons helped Deborah inside a green taxi.

Nachtmann dared not lose sight of them now. Dudgeons’ address in Hilo was an unknown. It was not even available to the security team of the Faber-Brady Trust.

He jumped down the steps and raced toward the cabs. There were nine in the taxi line. As he came parallel with the rear of the final car, Nachtmann slowed, crossed to the street and walked around and behind the vehicle to the driver’s side window. The cabby looked up.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he said. “You’ll have to go to the head of the line.” Nachtmann took a step forward, nodding as if he’d understood. Then, with a quick glance around, he raised his rifle butt and drove it into the man’s head.

Nachtmann smiled. He loved that sound; like several stalks of celery snapping in two at once.

206 Kauwa Road, Off Highway 130, Pahoa Town, HI -- 10:55 PM Hawaii Time

Dickley lay on his mattress, his lips parted, his eyes at half-mast. Nearby was a water pipe. In the air was the sappy, sweet smell of hashish. Dickley was stoned, and he had good reason to be.

The conversation he’d overheard that afternoon filled him with dread, so much so that he’d left the saloon and pedaled quickly home. There, more unpleasantness awaited him. The mother of the boy whose bicycle he’d stolen had an angry new boyfriend. Dickley’s ribs still ached.

It had not been a good day. The voices in his head chattered like magpies.

Earlier, Dickley had turned on the television, hoping it would distract him, perhaps lull him to sleep. It had done neither. The screen still flickered at his bedside

A cop drama was ending, its moody anthem and terse dialogue were being replaced by self-important fanfares and inane sound bites. It was time local news.

“Good evening,” said the announcer. “Making headlines tonight, the Big Island has been rocked by a shocking series of events that began, innocently enough, at a lecture presented by members of the Hilo Buddhist Temple.

“At approximately 8:45 this evening, Dr. Michael Crockett, an expert in the field of international law from Oxford University, England, in full view of over 600 people, was felled by gunfire, murdered, after making a presentation based on the life of Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani.

“In the aftermath of the tragedy, police were called to help control demonstrators, protesting what they termed, ‘the assassination of an important political figure.’ Geri Kitagawa is live in downtown Hilo and has this report. Geri.”

With that, the scene changed. The images, now from the street, showed throngs of protestors in full outcry. Kitagawa’s voice described a hostile crowd in an ugly mood.

Dickley had no real interest in the story, but he had once lived in Hilo. He recognized some of the locations. That kept him watching.

The camera zoomed in on a small group of mourners holding candles. Standing beside them, Kitagawa read the lead-in for a feature story on Dr. Crockett’s life and death.

“Included here, we have footage of the actual assassination,” Kitagawa said. “We are going to show it now. Viewers should be warned: some of what follows is graphic and violent. If you find such images disturbing, please, don’t watch.”

A montage of still photos including pictures of old Hawaii, Hawaiian royalty and early European settlers filled the screen. A recording of Dr. Crockett’s voice played. A sequence of photographs illustrated the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani, which Crockett’s voice narrated.

At last, the video leading up to Crockett’s murder came onscreen. It was no wonder the crowd was outraged at his death. Crockett had been a handsome man and a mesmerizing public speaker. Even Dickley paid attention, not so much to his words as to the rhythm of his voice.

When Crockett reached the climax of his speech and the audience began to cheer, Dickley even choked with emotion. When gunfire roared out of nowhere and Crockett fell, Dickley gasped. When a picture of a beautiful Hawaiian woman, holding Crockett’s bloody head in her arms, flashed onto the screen, Dickley Hooper fell mute.

He turned on his side and drew his knees up to his chest and began to shiver.

“The young woman you just saw with Dr. Crockett,” the announcer said, “is Kailikane Kapono, a school teacher from the Puna District.”

Dickley began to mutter through his chattering teeth. “Go now,” he said, over and over again. “Go and tell them. Go and tell them. Go and tell them.”

Reflexively, he reached for his drawing pad, flipped through and scribbled something on each picture. He couldn’t recall her whole name, but he remembered her initials. He hoped that would be enough.

At length, Dickley fell into an uneasy sleep. Then, just after 2:00 AM he sat up, unexpectedly suffused with a sense of calm.

“Of course,” he said aloud. “That’s it. If I do what she tells me, she’ll leave me alone. I’ll do it. Tomorrow, I’ll go to the saloon. I’ll go and tell them.”

Home of US Congressman Joe Chow, Hilo, HI -- 11:15 PM Hawaii Time

Joe Chow’s telephone rang at 11:15 PM exactly. Chow himself answered the call. The initial conversation had been efficient and brief.

“Congressman Chow?” said a voice.


“Please hold for the President of the United States.”

That had been ten minutes ago. Since then, the congressman had been on hold, listening to five thousand miles of white noise.

The Michael Crockett assassination story had gone international almost instantly. How could it not? It had everything: a desperate cause, beauty, blood, violence and death. It had also been recorded, start-to-finish, on broadcast quality video.

Chow had been at a network production facility the previous evening, watching previews of his upcoming ad campaign. He’d watched the footage as it beamed out via satellite.

It was a spectacular television, made all the more powerful by a heart-rending picture of a beautiful Hawaiian maiden cradling Crockett’s bloody head in her arms. Short of preemption by war or natural disaster, the story was sure to headline morning newscasts worldwide.

Congressman Chow, still on hold for the President’s call, began to feel queasy.

At that moment, the other end of the phone line came to life.

“Hello, Joe? It’s Bill Clinton. How are you, buddy?”

“Good evening, Mr. President. I’m fine, thank you. It’s good to hear from you, sir. How are you?”

“Fine, Joe, fine. Thanks for asking. Hillary sends her love, by the way.”

“Thank you, sir. I appreciate hearing that. Please extend my sympathies to her on the death of her father. Pamela and I have been praying for her.”

“I’ll be sure and tell her. Listen, Joe, I guess you know why I’m calling.”

“Yes, sir. I’m afraid I do.”

“What the hell is going on over there? I just saw that video and it looks like some of your people are on the brink of revolution.”

Chow could hardly disagree. “Yes, I know, Mr. President,” he said.

“I mean, first there’s the attempted takeover of Iolani Palace last June and now this.”

The previous summer’s protest, although unsuccessful in taking and holding Iolani Palace, did realize one of its objectives, that of mass media attention. This latest incident could only build on that notoriety.

“I sympathize with the feelings of the Native Hawaiian people,” Clinton said. “God knows they have ample reason to feel put upon, but what can I do? Let them secede? Hell, the United States fought a war with itself over that.”

“Yes, sir,” said Chow.

“Something’s got to give here, Joe,” he said. “Hawaii’s gone Democratic in nearly every presidential race on record. As a Democratic President, I can’t very well ignore this situation.”

“I know, sir,” Chow said. “It’s difficult.”

“Tell me something, Joe,” said the President. “This is your home turf. In your opinion, short of outright concession, is there anything I could do to oil the waters a little bit?”

“To tell you the truth, sir,” Chow said. “I don’t know. I’ve spoken to a number of sovereignty leaders. They’re radicals. They claim to want what they want and nothing less.”

“Hard liners, eh?”

“Yes, sir. On the other hand, there are those in the community who might be satisfied with something in the middle.”

“Like what?”

“Compensation for lost lands, perhaps. Maybe some kind of ongoing restitution.”

“You mean like Native Americans get?” Clinton asked.

“Something like that, yes sir.”

“Well,” said the President, “it’s certainly worth thinking about. It’d go down a whole lot easier than the alternative, that’s for sure.”

“Yes, sir,” Chow agreed. “It certainly would.”

“Can I ask you a favor, Joe?”

“Anything, Mr. President.”

“Would you nose around a little bit? Stay on top of this situation for me?”

“Absolutely, sir.”

“I mean, I can get all the briefings I can stand from the FBI and so forth, but what I really need here is a ‘people index.’ Know what I mean, Joe?”

“Yes, sir. I do.”

“Great. Meanwhile, I’ll have Bruce Babbitt over at DOI look into the feasibility of your Native American / Native Hawaiian idea. Let’s stay in touch on this, OK Joe?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Excellent. I owe you one, buddy. Give our best to Pamela. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, sir.”

Chow hung up the phone and sighed, burying his face in his hands. Some of his constituents would consider the compromise he had just proposed a boon. To others it would seem a betrayal. However it was perceived, changing the status of Native Hawaiians was bound to be a tough sell, both in Hawaii and in Washington, DC. Do I really want to be a US senator, Chow asked himself.

“Damn it,” he said aloud. The answer, he knew, was ‘yes.’

Home of Moses and Alana Pukuli, Pahoa Town, HI -- 11:50 PM Hawaii Time

Caleb Keona lay in the dark, waiting for Joshua. Since coming to the Pukuli household, the brothers had conducted nightly debriefing, to settle the day’s events and prepare for the day to come.

Just before midnight, Caleb’s door opened and quickly closed again. He watched as his brother sat down near his bedside.

“Moses is bringing some cop over from the mainland,” Joshua whispered.

“I know,” Caleb replied. “I heard Alana taking about it on the phone. Why is he doing that? Is it what I thought?”

“Yeah. It’s the killings.”

“Fuck!” Caleb said.

“Stay cool, brah.”

“That arrogant bitch! Fuck! Shit”

“I mean it, Caleb,” said Joshua, placing a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Stay cool.”

“But if she hadn’t stopped us before, we’d have nothing to worry about.”

“We still don’t,” said Joshua. “We know where he lives, right?”


“And we know where he hangs out, right?”

“Yeah. The Long Branch.”

“So, we’re cool,” said Joshua. “Besides, tomorrow I’m driving Moses to the airport.”

Caleb’s interest was piqued. “What? You figuring to off everyone on the way back?”

“Off everyone? What are you talking about, man? No. I’m just going to listen. Find out what they’re up to. Stay ahead of things.”

Caleb lay still for a moment. “I still think we ought to tie up the loose ends.”

“Forget loose ends,” Joshua said. “Just chill. That’s all we have to do for now, man. Stay ahead of things and chill. OK?”

“Yeah,” Caleb said after a moment. “OK.”

Bakersfield, CA – 11:50 PM PST

A California Highway Patrol officer heading back to the main office had heard the BOL. Be on the lookout for a black, late model, two-door Toyota bearing a California license plate with “several O’s (ocean) and several zeros.”

“10-0 (exercise great caution),” the dispatcher warned. “Possible 278 (stranger abduction from parent or guardian) in progress.”

Moments later, the officer spotted a black Toyota, license plate 5OOO600, some three hundred yards from a private airfield just off Highway 99. From there, according statements by a teenaged couple who were parked nearby, a man and a child had exited the vehicle, walked through an empty patch of ground and out onto the airfield.

Shortly after that, the couple said, they’d heard the sound of a small prop-engine airplane taxiing down the runway and taking off.

Potrero Hill, San Francisco, CA – Midnight PST

Frederick couldn’t sleep. Deborah Garrison’s disappearance still churned in his head. Hawaii and the Faber-Brady Trust, too. At 11:45, he went into the den and spread his notes across his desk.

Then, around midnight, he looked at his watch, picked up the phone, and dialed his brother-in-law in Hawaii.

“Hello?” It was Alana Pukuli.

Hi, Alana. It’s Hal.”

Hal! How nice to hear your voice.”

“Same here, Alana. Listen, I need to speak to Moses. Is he available?”

“He’s out just now. Is there anything I can do?”

“Yeah. Tell me how many people live in Pahoa.”

“In the town, only about a thousand.” she said. “In the Puna District there are a lot more, of course; maybe twenty-five thousand. Why?”

“Something about a case I’m working. Listen, speaking of cases, what’s going on with Moses? Why does he want me over there?”

“Oh, it’s awful, Hal. We’ve had four murders in two days. The papers are all over it, and you know Moses. He’s taking it very personally.”

“I can see why,” said Frederick. “Four murders in a town of a thousand? That’s a lot of dead people.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Listen, Alana, do me a favor, will you? Ask Moses to get me a copy of whatever reports are still available concerning the deaths of Isaac and Rebecca Faber?”

“The Fabers?” she said. “Good Lord, Hal. What for?”

“It’s complicated. Will you ask him?”

“Of course,” Alana replied. “Of course I will.”

Chapter Six
Tuesday, April 13, 1993

Hamakua Coast, South Hilo, HI – 12:10 AM Hawaii Time

It had taken an hour and a half to get from Hilo Harbor to the ruggedly beautiful Hamakua Coast. Once there, Nachtmann switched off his headlights and followed the green K-Boy Taxi as it turned off the main highway onto an isolated byway. There, near the road’s end, at the center of a newly landscaped lot, stood three boxy townhouses.

Nachtmann killed his engine and rolled to a stop in the gnarled shadows of a nearby banyan tree, watching as Deborah and Anthony exited their cab. Dudgeons fumbled briefly with his keys, then opened the door to the center unit and conducted Deborah inside.

The cab backed out the drive. Nachtmann slunk down to avoid being seen as it passed, his eyes remaining fixed on the townhouse.

Something wasn’t right.

There was no light coming from inside. Common sense dictated that at least one lamp on the lower floor should have been illuminated, if only briefly. Nachtmann frowned and kept watching. Ten minutes later, the building’s interior remained dark.

Carrying the sniper rifle over his shoulder and still wearing monk’s robes, Nachtmann crept from his vehicle and headed toward the townhouse. Reaching a flowerbed directly beneath a ground floor window, he crouched down and crawled toward the window, then rose to his knees and peeped over the sill.

The townhouse was empty. There was nothing inside, neither a stick of furniture, nor a breath of life. It was deserted...a blind.

Nachtmann cursed. Dudgeons had been one step ahead of him since this operation began. Just tonight, the man had bested him for the second time in less than two hours. Worst of all, he didn’t even seem to be trying. Nachtmann ground his teeth.

His first thought was that there must be a passageway from the middle unit to one of the other townhouses in the row. It was a good guess, but it was wrong. A quick check revealed that none of the units were occupied. Indeed, two of them had plywood boards for windows.

That left two logical possibilities: Either Deborah Garrison and Dudgeons had departed via a second vehicle and a hidden exit or there was a passageway beneath the townhouse which led to a second structure somewhere nearby.

He prayed it was the latter.

Inside the townhouse -- 12:15 AM Hawaii Time

Once inside the townhouse, Dudgeons walked directly to what appeared to be a storage room door. Thinking that he meant to stow her baggage inside, Deborah opened her mouth to object. She needed her belongings nearby. She then realized that what she’d thought was a closet was, in fact, the entrance to a downward leading stairway.

“In you go,” Dudgeons said, smiling. Deborah hesitated. The experience of the past few days had made her cautious. Her scalp tingled for a moment. She shook it off. There’s nothing to worry about, she reminded herself. This is Uncle Anthony, the man who just flew half way around the world to help me.

At the bottom of the stairs, a dimly lit subterranean passage stretched into the distance.

“Just a bit further,” Dudgeons said as they entered.

Deborah’s heels clacked on concrete, echoing in the gloom.

Outside the townhouses -- 12:25 AM Hawaii Time

Nachtmann edged around behind the townhouse complex, looking for evidence of either a concealed escape route or a nearby outbuilding. Of the latter, he found one: a garage.

Inside was a 1992 copper-colored Pontiac Firebird. Nachtmann whistled softly. Totally tricked out and detailed, it was the sort of machine that ordinarily fascinated him. Not tonight, though. Its presence explained nothing and led nowhere. He turned and walked back outside.

It was then that he spotted a tiny light glinting through the trees, about a hundred yards away. At first, he was tempted to ignore it. It’s too far from the townhouse, he thought. It’s across a highway. It’s too elaborate a ruse.

After a thorough search of the grounds, however, and finding no evidence of any alternative exits, he realized that the light was also something else. It was the only prospect in sight.

Keeping one eye on the distant glimmer, he picked his way through the underbrush leading toward Highway 240. As he reached the roadside, the light became more distinct. It was now within forty yards. He crossed over the asphalt and crept along the trunk of a fallen palm and into a thicket.

Now less than ten feet from a chain link barrier, Nachtmann could clearly see the light he’d been following. Just beyond the fence, near the top of an otherwise blank wall and twenty feet off the ground, a single bulb shone behind a small window. The window glass was frosted opaque.

Nachtmann grumbled. Even if he could manage to get parallel with the opening, it would be impossible to see through it.

He kept moving.

Southeast, thirty feet down the line, the fence angled toward the ocean side cliffs. From that vantage, Nachtmann could just see the front edge of the building, outlined by a glow streaming from windows around the corner, a hundred fifty feet away. Twenty-five feet beyond that, on the outside of the fence, was a monkey pod, a huge umbrella shaped, canopied tree.

Yes,” Nachtmann whispered, clenching his fist. “There it is.”

From the high, inner branches of the tree, he would be able to see over the fence and into the windows of the building. If Dudgeons was inside, he’d be a sitting duck. All Nachtmann had to do was wait.

He stripped down to his olive drab underwear and began blackening his skin with dirt.

Inside Dudgeons’ Compound -- 12:55 AM Hawaii Time

Overcome with relief at the thought of having found safety, Deborah allowed fatigue to overtake her. Moments after her head hit the pillow, she lay sleeping. Moments after that, she dreamt.

It was a decades-old dream, one she’d had thousands of times since the death of her parents. In it, either Rebecca or Isaac Faber sat at their daughter’s bedside reading aloud. This time it was Rebecca reading Aesop’s story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

And what do you think the moral is, sweetheart?” Rebecca asked her daughter.

I don’t know, Mom,” Deborah replied.

At that, the scene changed. Now in a chapel, Deborah stood beside her mother’s coffin.

You must always remain vigilant, Deborah,” Rebecca said from within her casket. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

Home of L. David Kane, Hilo, HI – 5:30 AM Hawaii Time

His assistant, Trask, had called Kane at home the previous evening. The repair shop had been unable to locate a needed replacement part. The limousine, therefore, would not be ready until late the next afternoon. Would Mr. Kane prefer to drive himself or would he be requiring his chauffeur for the Tuesday commute? For the second day in a row, Kane opted to drive to his office.

After the call, the director went back to playing solitaire and watching the financial news on CNN. Then he ate a light dinner of Italian sausage and grilled vegetables. An hour later, he went to bed.

His night was not restful. Kane awakened at 2 AM, dozed off again at 2:30 and reawakened at 3:00. From that point forward until 4:45, he only grazed the edges of sleep. Then it was time to get up.

The executive director showered, dressed himself, drank a glass of tomato juice and left for work.

Faber-Brady Trust Building, Hilo, HI – 6:00 AM Hawaii Time

Arriving at the building and driving down the ramp to the executive parking level, Kane shook his head in wonder. The inspection crew from Hilo Building and Safety had apparently worked all through the night. There were concrete patches on every weight-bearing girder from the ground level right through to B3.

Near the bottom level, where the new cement was driest, a painter was already busy touching up around the repairs. Soon, just as Devlin had promised, the spots would be invisible. If the executive director hadn’t been so drained from worry and lack of sleep, he might have been impressed.

Kane entered his 24th floor office, walked behind his desk and sat down heavily.

On the previous day, the news from Kidwell & Perk indicating that Faber Heath may have fathered a son had been exhilarating. Today, Kane was worn out from thinking about it. Thinking, in fact, was what had kept him awake.

What if Kidwell & Perk had been wrong? What if Heath had had no son? On the other hand, what if the son existed but proved inappropriate or was unwilling to serve? What if he’d been raised by Bolsheviks?

What if? What if? What if? The permutations of the question were endless and wearing. Only one thing would bring peace of mind. He had to know what Kidwell & Perk knew. He had to find out.

His hand trembling, Kane picked up the telephone and dialed.

DFW, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport -- 6:00 AM CST

Awaiting takeoff aboard a non-stop flight to Kailua-Kona Airport, archeologist and historian Katherine Stanford’s mind was alive with remembrance. The past she contemplated was recent, the history was her own.

It was five years, almost to the day, since she had last spoken with her friend, the great kahuna, Puhi Okaoka Kapono. In her memory, both the man and the moment remained very much alive.

“Am I right?” Katherine asked him. “Is it true?”

When Kapono spoke, it was not to answer her question, but to ask another. “Do you recognize this plant?” he said, bending to snip a cluster of flowers from a shrub in his garden.

Katherine looked at it. The bush itself was plain, spindly and austere, as if reserving all its beauty for its crimson blossoms.

“`A`ali`i,” she said. “Otherwise known as dodonea viscosa. It’s a member of the soapberry family.”

Kapono smiled. “Very impressive,” he said, plucking and holding out a handful of the red petals. “Smell them.”

Katherine brought the flowers to her nose and inhaled deeply. “Talcum,” she said. “They smell just like talcum powder.”

“In the old days, kahunas prescribed the leaves of this plant to treat rashes.”

Stanford looked at him quizzically. “Is this your way of answering my question?” she said. “Because if it is, I’m not following.”

“I only wish I could bathe the skin of your brain with `a`ali`i, Katherine Stanford. You have a powerful itch for knowledge.”

She gave a slight bow. “As do you,” she said.

“True,” Kapono replied, “But I yearn for only what the gods wish me to know.”

“Kahuna Kapono,” she said. “Perhaps the itch in my brain is the gods’ way of expressing their desire for me to know.”

Kapono closed his eyes. “Perhaps,” he said. “Still, I wonder...”

“What? If my curiosity is dangerous? If my mind wishes me ill?”

“That too,” answered the master. “More importantly, I wonder what it will mean if I confirm or deny your speculations? What difference will it make?”

“None,” she said. “I swear, nothing will be done with your secret...not so long as you are its keeper.”

“And you realize that merely knowing may one day bring you harm?”

“If that is what the gods desire, Kahuna.”

Puhi Okaoka Kapono gazed up at the sky, nodding his head and sighing resignedly. “Very well,” he said. “But there is one problem.”


“I have sworn that my lips will never speak of this to an outsider.”

“What, then?” she said.

He motioned to her, then cupped his hands around his mouth. “Come closer,” he said. “My lips will tell my fingers. My fingers will tell your ear.”

The plane turned and came to a bumpy stop at the end of the runway. A moment later, its engines roared to full power. The aircraft soared into the sky, pressing Katherine Stanford’s body deep into the cushions of her seat.

“Thank God I’m no longer sworn to secrecy,” she said to herself. “I have to tell someone...and I know just the person.”

Then, streaking toward her island home, she slept.

Potrero Hill, San Francisco, CA – 4:10 AM PST

Frederick awakened to find himself sitting upright on the side of his bed. He could see Hannah’s face looming before him. The television was on. Hannah was talking and pointing toward it. He couldn’t understand a word she was saying. Robotically, he turned his head and looked at the screen.

Soldiers in quaint uniforms, sepia photographs of Polynesian warriors, paintings of princes and queens, American Presidents and Hawaiian sunsets appeared and then faded from the screen. Then, abruptly and in mid-sentence, the sound of Hannah’s voice became intelligible.

“...and it’s the second time they’ve shown this thing in fifteen minutes,” she said.

The montage of still images gave way to videotape of a distinguished looking Englishman speaking in front of a crowded auditorium. After a few moments of oratory, his speech came to a close. The gathering broke into applause. A moment after that, there were gunshots. Just before the screen went dark, a beautiful woman held the speaker’s blood-spattered head in her arms.

The last image froze and shrank into a corner of the screen while the newscaster spoke, staring solemnly into the camera: “Our studio switchboard has been flooded with calls enquiring about the identity of the young lady shown in that video,” he said. “Her name, according to our sources, is Kailikane Kapono, a school teacher from the town of Pahoa on Hawaii’s Big Island. Once again, a dramatic and evidently politically motivated homicide was committed in the island state of Hawaii last night. As yet, there are no suspects. We’ll have more on that story as details become available. In the nation’s capitol last night...”

“Did you hear that?” Frederick said. “Kailikane Kapono, a school teacher from the town of Pahoa.”

“Yeah,” said Hannah. “What a coincidence, huh?”

“Maybe,” the inspector said. “Maybe not.”

Brown Field, Small Craft Airport, San Diego, CA -- 5:15 AM Pacific Time

Having arrived in San Diego aboard a Cessna C172 some four hours earlier, the two travelers, man and boy, now rested on a large cot inside an airplane hanger. Lying awake, Lewis watched as Noah Garrison’s sleeping eyes flicked from side-to-side behind his closed eyelids.

He’s dreaming American dreams, Lewis thought. How different they must be from those of my boyhood.

From an early age, as far back as he could remember, Lewis Foo had cherished the revolution. In his daydreams, he saw himself as an iron-willed party loyalist, marching alongside his comrades, each of whom gave of their gifts and talents, in selfless service to the people.

It was an immensely satisfying fantasy, but there was a hitch: Fiu Tse Liu had no gifts or talents, or so it seemed.

He was not athletic. He was not academic. He had no aptitude for rhetoric. He was neither scientist, soldier, nor politician. How might he contribute? In what arena might he excel?

It was only as he approached the end of his mandatory public education that Comrade Fiu’s gift was discovered. Quite by chance, one of his instructors overheard Fiu doing a devastatingly accurate vocal impression of a pompous fellow classmate. Standard aptitude tests conducted shortly thereafter revealed an accompanying flair, almost a genius, for languages.

Experimentally, he was enrolled in an advanced English class. In a matter of months he had not only mastered grammar and syntax, but spoke six regional dialects flawlessly.

His freakish skills quickly brought him to the attention of the Chinese Secret Service, which conscripted Comrade Fiu into the CSS training academy in Beijing.

There, the red-faced ravings of the political officer in Fiu’s detachment were burned into his brain. He could still picture the man’s face, twisted in anger, spraying saliva as he spat out the party line.

“America seeks to undermine the struggle of the Chinese people by supporting a puppet regime,” he said, emphasizing the word ‘puppet’ by slapping a map of Taiwan. “They say that our claim is illegitimate. They say we are not entitled, that we have no right to our own land.”

He would stop there, Lewis remembered, and look around before continuing.

“But they are WRONG! Not only will Taiwan ultimately fall, the Chinese people, in the person of Comrade Fiu, will bring revolution to the shores of America. The Yankee dogs, in fact, occupy lands to which they are not entitled. Comrade Fiu will lead them out of their ignorance, though they die in the process.”

Fiu Tse Liu’s heart had thrilled, listening to this diatribe. The pride he felt, knowing that he had been chosen to strike such a blow was almost more than he could bear.

But that was another time, long ago.

Looking back on it now, Lewis Foo could no longer remember exactly what had once made him so proud.

Noah turned over, stretched and yawned. “What time is it, Uncle Lewis?” he said.

Fiu looked at the boy and swallowed hard. “Five-thirty,” he said.

“Is it time to go yet?”

“Almost,” he replied.

IGM, Kingman International Airport, Kingman, AZ -- 6:10 AM Mountain Time

A dozen or so early rising travelers hunched over paper coffee cups and stared at a TV mounted on the food court wall. For the third time this hour, Headline News Network was broadcasting a story about an English lawyer who had been shot to death while addressing a crowd in Hilo, Hawaii. Hilo was his destination, so the name of the location caught Jim Garrison’s ear. Nothing else about the piece struck a chord, however, so he dismissed it.

In an hour and twenty minutes, he was due to board a flight for Phoenix. From there, he’d catch a connecting flight to LA International and then on to Keahole-Kona Airport, just 85 miles from Deborah’s hometown. For the moment, that was enough to think about.

SFO, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA -- 5:15 AM PST

His gray fedora tilted back on his head, Hal Frederick sat by himself at the boarding gate, concentrating on Hannah’s book, A Brief History of Hawaii.

“The Faber-Brady Trust,” he read, “arguably the richest non-profit organization in the world, has been a focus of contention and debate since the day of its inception. Founded in 1890 by Luella Akela Faber, the granddaughter of a high official in the court of King Kamehameha III, Mrs. Faber was ali’i (Hawaiian nobility) by birth and the last of an old and powerful family. As such, she inherited an enormous tract of land comprising roughly 8% of the total area of all the islands combined.

“Upon her death, Mrs. Faber endowed the trust with her entire estate. The lands, and ‘...all the income that derived from it...’ were to be used, in perpetuity, to fulfill the terms of the trust charter. It is around that charter, its meaning and intent, that controversy has swirled for over a century.

“On one side of the debate are the ostensible benefactors of the trust, the Native Hawaiian population; on the other side, the directors of the trust itself. At issue is the meaning of the phrase ‘preserving the Hawaiian way of life.’

“Initially, the charter of the trust was written in Hawaiian, Mrs. Faber’s native language. As a practical matter, however, since most of the directors, both then and now, have been English speakers, the document was translated. In the original, so say Native Hawaiians, the Hawaiian phrase which was interpreted as ‘preserving the Hawaiian way of life,’ really means something more akin to ‘preserving the Hawaiian way of living’ or ‘Hawaiian lifestyle.’

“Taking this meaning, according to one faction, the trust was created to directly benefit surviving Native Hawaiians. In other words, to provide them with educational opportunities, social services and financial assistance.

“Directors of the trust, on the other hand, have consistently maintained that Mrs. Faber’s intention was not to dispense money and provide services, but to create the Institute of South Pacific Studies, an academic conservatory and living museum dedicated to preserving the heritage of Pacific Islanders. Given the tremendous disparity between these two points of view, the intense feelings it arouses are not difficult to imagine.”

Frederick let the book fall on his lap just as his wife returned from the departure desk.

“Whoa,” he said.

“Whoa, what?” Hannah Frederick handed her husband his boarding pass and sat down beside him.

“I’ve just been reading about the Faber-Brady Trust.”

Hannah cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah?” she said. “What about it?”

“Seems to me as though the deck has been stacked against the home team.”

“How do you mean?”

“It appears that the charter has been interpreted to favor the needs of the few at the expense of the many.”

“You mean the trust is crooked?” asked Hannah.

“Let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise me to see the board of directors screwing on their socks in the morning.”

An agent switched on the gate’s public address system. “United Airlines Flight 41 for Kailua-Kona Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii is now ready for boarding at Gate 81,” she announced. “Aloha and welcome aboard.”

Pahoa High School, Pahoa Town, HI -- 8:00 AM Hawaii Time

The image of the young island woman grieving over Michael Crockett’s body was a sensation. A news writer at a Los Angeles television station dubbed it “the Polynesian Pieta.” Around the world, virtually every television station airing the footage was deluged with telephone inquiries. Who was she? What was her background? What relationship, if any, did she have with the deceased man? Most of all, they wanted to know, where is she now?

A determined investigative reporter from the LA Times finally tracked down the manager of the public access station responsible for the video in which the woman appeared. The manager identified her as Puna District high school teacher and social activist, Kailikane Kapono. From there, a quick search of news databases revealed that Kailikane, besides being soulfully photogenic, was also the granddaughter of Puhi Okaoka Kapono, the holy man who, on the 100th anniversary of the fall of the Hawaiian monarchy, had burned himself to death on the steps of the Faber-Brady Trust Building.

Public curiosity soared. What had been intense interest escalated to near mania. More journalistic investigators joined in the search.

The school teacher’s telephone number was unlisted. Other public records failed to yield the woman’s address. Puna High School officials were largely unavailable. Those who could be reached were unwilling, or unable to divulge their colleague’s whereabouts. There was only one means by which reporters might hope to get fresh, new facts for their audience: they would have to show up at Puna High School and wait.

At 6:00 AM, media vans began arriving. An hour and a half later, six television crews and eight print and radio journalists were on hand. Still, there was no sign of Kailikane.

By 8:00 AM there was still nothing real to report. Public fascination, however, was unabated and there was airtime to fill. For no other reason than to give themselves something to say, TV journalists began to speculate. Had some horrible catastrophe also befallen Dr. Crockett’s beautiful mourner? The question caught on. The viewing audience took up the cry.

Where is Kailikane Kapono? What has happened to her?

PHX, Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, AZ -- 8:30 AM Mountain Time

He’d spent three days wearing the same shirt. That was long enough. Deplaning at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Jim Garrison found the nearest gift shop. There, he picked out a Phoenix Suns t-shirt, a light windbreaker, gym bag, and socks, then grabbed a toothbrush and shaving kit. A newsstand featuring the latest LA Times stood nearby. He grabbed a copy, paid for his purchases and headed for the men’s room.

Once there, Garrison lathered up and broke out a razor just as a pair of fraternity types gamboled inside, laughing and talking raucously.

“Hey, man,” said one, “did you hear about that Hawaiian chick on the news?”

“The one with the dead guy?”


“Dude, she is so hot.”


Garrison examined his face, then tilted back his head, stretching the skin around his jaw. He remembered the news story about the young woman in Hilo. He pricked up his ears to listen and began dragging the razor up his neck.

“But did you hear what they found out about her?”

“No. What?”

“Remember that old Hawaiian guy who torched himself a while back?”

“Torched himself? Oh, yeah. I remember. That was fierce.”

“Check it out, man. That old guy was the chick’s grandfather.”

“No shit? Dude, some people will do anything to get in the papers.”

Garrison’s razor stopped. The room grew dim. He leaned forward and braced himself on the sink. A high-pitched whine buzzed through his skull. Then, like a phone line jacked into his inner ear, he heard Hal Frederick’s voice.


Can you think of anything…anything at all that might account for your wife’s disappearance? Any odd behavior?


Not really.


Mr. Garrison, don’t hold back. Tell me everything


It was the night before my trip. Deborah and I were watching a news special about Hawaiian politics. One of the segments got to her.


What was that, Mr. Garrison? What was the segment?


It was about a Hawaiian holy man who’d burned himself alive.


Why did she find that especially troubling?


She knew him. He was in the Council of Kahunas. She interviewed him for an article she was writing.

Garrison inhaled sharply, squeezed the bridge of his nose and shook his head. One of the frat boys, seeing him swoon, had taken hold of his arm.

“Hey, man, are you OK?” he asked. “You all right?”

“Yeah,” Garrison said, shutting his eyes for a moment. “Thanks. I was in an accident and I’m still a little woozy. I’m OK.”

Shaving no longer seemed important. He washed off the shaving soap, gathered up his things and walked to the departure gate.

As he waited, Garrison’s brain buzzed. What was happening? What had driven the old kahuna to burn himself alive? What was Deborah’s connection to the tragedy? Who was behind the assassination of the English lawyer? Why had Agent Schmidt treated Garrison like a suspect? Of what was he suspected?

His gaze fell on the LA Times he had purchased earlier. A picture of the Polynesian woman and the caption below caught his eye: “Sinister Forces At Work” says Hawaiian Activist.

He scanned the article. There was little in it and the woman, Kailikane Kapono, made only vague references to unnamed “sinister forces. Still, this was the same person whose grandfather’s death had so troubled his wife. However little she might know, he thought, she certainly knew more than he.

Garrison tore the article out of the paper, folded it in half and slipped it in his wallet.

35,000 Feet Over the Pacific Ocean – 9:20 AM Hawaii Time

In an aisle seat in tourist class, Hal Frederick turned back and forth between two pages near the end of A Brief History of Hawaii, reading and rereading a single paragraph. His wife, her head resting on his shoulder, dozed beside him.

“Hannah,” he said, nudging her softly. Hannah scrunched up her face and made some drowsy, smacking sounds. “Hannah,” he said again, more insistently.


“I need you to listen to something.”

“What am I listening to?” she asked.

“Appendix 3 of A Brief History. It’s a copy of the charter of the Faber-Brady Trust, the bylaws that govern its operation. Check it out. Are you listening?”

“Yeah.” Hannah’s eyes remained closed while Frederick read.

In the event that no child, grandchild or other direct descendant of Mrs. Kailani Faber is available to serve as a board member, the trust and all its assets shall then pass into the care of Puhi Okaoka Kahuna, the keeper of nui huna, and his council.

“I don’t get it. What’s the problem?”

“Come on, sweetie,” he said. “I need your help. Pay attention.” Grudgingly, Hannah began sitting up while Frederick pulled a spiral notepad from his shirt pocket, rifled through the pages and flipped it open.

“First of all,” he said, “the name of the woman who founded the trust was Luella Akela Faber. She was the last of her line, right?”

“Right,” Hannah said with a yawn. “She had no children.”

“Yet, in the trust, Luella sets it up so that the board of directors must include at least one Faber...and not just any Faber, but a direct descendent of a particular Faber.”

“Doesn’t that make sense?” Hannah said. “She wanted to keep the family involved.”

“Yes, but whose family?” said Frederick.

“What do you mean?”

“Look,” he said, turning back to a heredity chart in the main part of the book. “Luella Akela Faber and Kailani Faber were only related because they were married to brothers. They were sisters-in-law, not blood relations. Why then, did Luella Faber go to so much trouble to protect the interests of another, unrelated woman’s children?”

“Um,” said Hannah, sitting up a bit straighter. “Yeah. Good point.”

“And here’s something else,” Hal said, turning back to the appendix pages. “What does ‘Puhi Okaoka’ mean?”

“High priest,” said Hannah. “The highest of the high...leader of the kahunas.”

“Hm,” said Frederick. “I thought ‘Puhi Okaoka’ was part of his name.”

“Whose name?”

“Puhi Okaoka Kapono,” he said. “The school teacher’s grandfather, the old fellow who burned himself alive. I thought ‘Puhi Okaoka’ was part of his name. According to Jim Garrison, Mr. Kapono was a member of the Council of Kahunas. What if ‘Puhi Okaoka’ meant he was the leader of the kahunas?”

“It probably did,” said Hannah. “So what?”

“Well, my dear,” Frederick replied, “if Kapono was the leader all the kahunas, and if the kahunas are in line to take control of eight billion dollars, it tends to cast his suicide in a something of a different light, now doesn’t it?”

“Oh,” Hannah said, her brow wrinkling. “I see what you mean.” She sat still for a short time, biting a fingernail, then she groaned in frustration.

“It’s not fair,” she said.

“What?” Frederick said.

“I’m not even officially old yet and already I can’t remember things.”

“I’ll remind you of that the next time I forget one of our many yearly anniversaries.”

Hannah waved him off. “There was something else in what you read to me before.”

“From what?”

“The charter of the trust,” she said. “Read that again.”

Frederick found the page and cleared his throat.

“In the event that no child, grandchild or other direct descendant of Mrs. Kailani Faber is available to serve as a board member, the trust and all its assets shall then pass into the care of Puhi Okaoka Kahuna, the keeper of nui huna and his council.”

“That’s it,” Hannah said, holding up a finger. “That part.”

“What part?”

“‘Nui huna,’” she said. “It means ‘secret,’ ‘important secret.’ The trust and all its assets shall pass into the care of the head kahuna, keeper of the important secret.”

“And what would that be?” Frederick said. “What’s the important secret?”

“I suggest you talk to my husband about that,” said Hannah, closing her eyes and placing her head back on his shoulder. “He’s a famous detective.”

Faber-Brady Trust Building, Hilo, HI – 9:30 AM Hawaii Time

The first three phone calls Kane placed to the offices of Kidwell & Perk yielded nothing. The lazy bastards didn’t open until 8:00 AM. Even then, no one with any information was available to speak with him for over thirty minutes. When Kidwell finally did show up, the man actually had the gall to bring up the subject of FBT’s outstanding bill.

Kidwell & Perk would be happy to fax over the information Mr. Kane was requesting, Kidwell said, if Mr. Kane would be so kind as to arrange payment for services already rendered.

The nerve of the man. It had taken an hour for Kane’s bank to transfer the funds. It might take another hour for Kidwell’s to acknowledge receipt.


Kane looked up to see the head of his assistant, Trask, poking through the door. “What is it?”

“I have Agent Schmidt on the telephone, sir, calling locally.”

“Yes,” said Kane, testily. “And?”

“He’s requesting the loan of a five-man security detail.”


“No, sir. Plain clothes.”


“Yes, sir.”

Kane hesitated. “Tell him to go through Nachtmann.”

“Mr. Nachtmann is unavailable, sir. Agent Schmidt needs your authorization.”

“What time does he need these people?”

“7 PM, sir. In Pahoa.”

“All right, then, damn it,” Kane growled. “Tell him OK. Now, for God’s sake, leave me alone.”

Trask bobbed his head and closed the door.

The director placed his palms together, leaned forward and stared at the “start” light on his desktop fax.

“Ring, goddamn it,” he said. “Ring.”

KOA, Kailua-Kona Airport -- 9:45 AM Hawaii Time

A warm, dry breeze blew past Inspector Frederick and Hannah as they stepped off the plane and out onto the gangway. Across the blacktop and behind a barrier in the open air terminal, Congressman Pukuli and his driver, the brown giant, Joshua, waited to greet them.

“Hey, you two,” Moses called out. “Welcome home.” Hannah ran to drape herself around his neck. The congressman, smiling broadly, hugged his sister with one arm while shaking his brother-in-law’s hand with the other.

“I’m so glad to see you,” Hannah said. “Where’s Alana?”

“She’s back at the house, getting ready for the luau.”

“And you’re letting her do all that work by herself?” Hannah chided. “Some things never change. You’re still an oaf.”

Her brother laughed. “Listen,” he said. “I haven’t had my coffee. Give your claim checks to Joshua. He’ll go get the bags and we can grab a cup.”

In moments, they were at a coffee kiosk as colorfully clad travelers eddied around them.

“Anything new on the murder in Hilo?” Hannah said.

Moses did a double-take. “You know about that?”

“Of course. It’s all over the news.”

“It seems to have made a celebrity out of one of your locals, too,” said Hal.

“You mean that Kapono broad?” The congressman shook his head. “Don’t get me started.”

“Bad blood?” said Hannah.

“Let’s just say we’ve had our differences,” he said. He took a long swallow of coffee. “Next question.”

“Did you get the accident report on Isaac and Rebecca Faber?”

“On its way. Should be at the house when we get back. Why the interest?”

“Their daughter has gone missing. I’m working on the case.”

“Deborah Faber is missing?”

“Her name’s Garrison now, but yeah. According to her husband, both she and her kid dropped out of sight sometime last Saturday.”

Moses scratched his chin. “That figures,” he said. “That’s about the time they found Faber Heath.”

“What does Faber Heath have to do with Deborah Garrison?”

“She’s his cousin.”

“So? What’s the connection?” Frederick asked.

“Faber Heath was a board member on the Faber-Brady Trust.”

“I know that,” Frederick said. “So?”

“So it’s an hereditary job. Deborah and her son are his only known living relatives. They’re the only two people left who are eligible to take his place and now they’re missing.”

“Yeah,” Hannah said. “And Hal thinks they disappeared for the same reason Deborah’s parents died.”

“Her parents’ deaths were accidental, Hal,” said Pukuli.

“You don’t believe that any more than I do,” the inspector said.

Moses smiled. “You’re right. I don’t. Way too convenient. Too close to the vote that would have changed the Faber-Brady Trust. Besides, when I was a cop in Hilo, I saw that accident report.”


“It was a shambles. Sloppy police work...missing name it.” He took another long pull from his cup. “You’ll see...It’s a mess.”

“Speaking of messes,” Frederick said. “I talked to Alana last night. She tells me you’re having a little trouble out your way, too.”

Moses rolled his eyes. “R2M,” he said. “Well, yeah, if you can call that sick-o shit ‘a little trouble.’”

“R2M?” Hannah said.

“‘Ritual mutilation murder,’” Moses replied. “The abbreviation is courtesy of the press.”

“Who are the victims?” said Frederick.

“Former drug dealers. Four of them, all murdered within a five-mile radius of Pahoa.”

“So they’re connected?”

“They were all killed by the same person. Except for that, no.”

“No other connection?”

“Not so far,” said Moses. “We don’t even know where most of these guys lived. All their listed addresses are bogus.”

“There’s another connection, right there,” Frederick said. “Gangland hits?”

“You tell me.” Moses fished a stack of crime scene Polaroids from his shirt pocket.

Hannah glimpsed the first picture, put a hand to her mouth and turned away.

Frederick shuffled through the photos. What he saw was not the work of hitters. Professionals concentrated on results. In these deaths, the emphasis had been on form.

Moses pulled a folded sheet of paper from another pocket. “Here,” he said. “Here’s something else.”


“A report of an incident at Upolo Point, about a hundred miles from Pahoa.”

It was a long document. Frederick flipped through the pages. “Bullet points, please,” he said.

“Upolo Point is on the Kohala Coast,” said Moses. “Mo’okini Heiau is located there.”

“Moki Hey-o?”

“Mo’okini Heiau,” Pukuli said again. “It’s the most sacred temple of the ancient Hawaiian religion. All the kings, going back 1500 years, went there to pray and offer human sacrifices.”


“And the tongues and eyes of each of our ex-drug dealers were found on the alter at Mo’okini Heiau.”


“You want to take a look at the murder books?” asked Moses.

“If you’ve got them.”

“Let’s get on the road, then. You can read en route.”

Half an hour later, the minivan was rolling through a wispy, cooling fog. Near Kealakekua Bay, at nearly a thousand feet above the Pacific, the broad blue ocean view was spectacular, the extravagant fragrance, even more so.

Hannah breathed in deeply. Her husband, having kept his head buried in records and reports, finally looked up.

“I thought you said these guys had nothing in common, Moses,” he said.

“Not that I could see.”

“You checked the rap sheets?”


“You missed something,” the inspector said. “Look at this guy, Iggy Arnold. On the mainland he was arrested eight times, indicted six times and convicted twice. Since arriving in Hawaii, he’s been arrested four times, but never charged.”


“It’s the same with all of them,” said Frederick. “Five years ago, within a few weeks of each other, the criminal records of each of these men came to a screeching halt. That’s too much coincidence. Put that together with the fact that they were all hiding behind fake addresses and what do you get?”

“I don’t know. What?”

“They had an angel,” said Frederick. “Somebody with clout was looking out for them. The feds, the state, a crooked DA. Somebody had their backs.”

Moses pursed his lips and stared into the distance. “So,” he said finally, “where does that leave us?”

“At the beginning,” said Frederick. “At the one thing we absolutely know about these guys: they’re ex dope dealers.”

“And so?”

“So, if I was a doper who wanted to score, where’s the place to go in Pahoa?”

“The Long Branch Saloon,” Moses replied.

Frederick smiled. “Perfect,” he said. “I always wanted meet Miss Kitty and Chester. Later on this afternoon, let’s you and I pay them a visit.”

Joshua, the driver, pulled into a roadside service station to fill the tank. His passengers stretched their legs. He cleaned the windows and checked the oil. Then, while inside settling the bill, he crammed his hulking frame into a phone booth and dropped in a quarter.

“Caleb, it’s me,” he said. “I’m coming back from the airport with Moses and that cop. Remember that loose end you were talking about? I think you were right. It’s time to tie it up.”

Ray   Staar

Ray Staar

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