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School Library Journal
This is the story of one prisoner's life told to another. The listener is Cal, a white, onetime racist tattoo artist who lost his voice when his throat was cut in a prison fight. He is serving a long sentence on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Over the years, he has become the kind of man other prisoners feel safe talking to—partly because he can't repeat what they say, but also because they trust the sense of peace he has found in his own silence and the time he has served. Cal's new cellmate is Ken, a Japanese man raised in Hawaii-and an outsider like Cal. He has Cal give him a large, symbolic tattoo on his back as he tells his rich though troubled tale. Ken recounts his childhood friendship with a doomed, modern-day Hawaiian prince and the decaying world he ruled. He found himself the muscle man for a bar-owning, prostitution-ring-running, loan-sharking Korean woman. Falling in love with her daughter was just one of the reasons that he ended up behind bars. Teens will appreciate the many deep, complicated relationships. The language and realities are rough, but there is much compassion and wisdom to balance them.
—Will MarstonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.