This riveting new mystery series pays loving homage to legendary author John D. MacDonald. Stryker McBride is a former crime reporter who lives on a hugely expensive houseboat, "the Travis McGee." When Stryker receives an unexpected SOS call from a sultry beauty queen, he agrees to look into the suspicious death of the woman's grandfather. As Stryker investigates, he encounters a cast of characters as diverse as Hawaii itself, including Auntie Kealoha, a charming entertainer turned mobster, and her 400 pound right-hand man, a Chinese-Hawaiian named Tiny Maunakea. Soon, Stryker discovers a deadly secret buried deep in the heart of Hawaii that has consequences much larger than one old man's death.
Vivid and exhilarating, Aloha, Lady Blue transports you right to the heart of an island paradise populated with exotic women, glorious scenery, and whispered scandals. Memminger brings Hawaii to life so vividly that you can almost hear the pounding of the surf and catch the scent of plumeria on the breeze. Fans of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series will be swept away by this delicious, action-packed tale.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
CHARLEY MEMMINGER is an award-winning humor columnist, screenwriter, and author who is based in Hawaii. A former crime and investigative reporter, Memminger's work has appeared nationally in magazines and newspapers. He was twice named the top humor columnist in the country by the National Society for Newspaper Columnists. He lives in the sleepy windward Oahu bay town of Kaneohe with his wife, cat, love birds, geckos, and other indigenous island wildlife.
Read an Excerpt
It was one of those typically blustery mornings in late August when rain squalls march across Kaneohe Bay from the eastern ocean, one after the other like soggy invading battalions. I was in the day cabin of the Travis McGee, my fifty-foot-long Vagabond houseboat, nursing along my first meal of the day, which I had come to refer to as Honey Bunches of Budweiser because it sounded healthier than “swigging beer for breakfast.” The gods were restless, pacing outside the screen door on the covered aft deck, waiting to be fed. The two German shepherds, Kane and Lono, had been on duty all night, patrolling the grounds of the Bayview Yacht Club, a small suburban club on the windward side of Oahu where I kept my boat. As the nominal night watchman, I was the only club member allowed to live on his boat. Keeping an eye on two piers berthing about seventy-five boats, a swimming pool, two tennis courts, and the club’s longhouse and bar wasn’t as difficult as guarding Fort Knox or even Taco Bell, especially with the gods doing most of the heavy lifting.
I took the gods two large metal bowls with dry dog food mixed with leftover spaghetti and meat sauce from the night before, which they tucked into with the restraint of hyenas bringing down a Serengeti wildebeest. They were still wet from their last patrol, so I couldn’t let them inside. I’m not the greatest housekeeper in the world, but you don’t spend a couple of hundred thousand bucks on a houseboat just to have it smell of Eau de Damp Dogs.
I had already taken my morning exercise, diving off the end of A Pier and swimming the half mile along the edge of the channel to the last reef marker and then back. I was still in pretty good shape for a gentleman of a certain age. Nothing like when I was a nationally ranked butterfly specialist, but I wasn’t ready for a walker and ear trumpet just yet.
I finished my breakfast with a last swig and walked back inside. The houseboat came with twin Merc 230-horsepower engines, two seventy-five-gallon fuel tanks, two bedrooms with baths, two wet bars, galley, covered lanais fore and aft, and a day cabin big enough to stage the finale of Oklahoma! The day cabin was ringed by picture windows that let in light no matter what time of day when the blinds were open. It was bordered on one side with a leather sofa facing the big Sony. A wet bar was in the corner, and elsewhere in the room were coffee tables, another couch, and a couple of chairs for hypothetical guests. The galley was separated from the main room by a counter and contained all the usual appliances you’d find in a regular kitchen except for a garbage disposal. There was no sewer hookup.
Upstairs, or up the ladder, as the grumpier old salts at the club liked to remind me, was a second deck with a state-of-the-art flying bridge, the other wet bar, a hot tub, a couple of kayaks, surfboards, and a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 Jet Ski. A guy has got to have his toys.
I’m told there are also a couple of anchors somewhere on the boat, but I hadn’t had to use them because I had yet to put the Travis McGee in the water. The thing about a smallish yacht club is that there are only so many wet slips, especially slips that can handle a fifty-foot-long houseboat, and Bayview Yacht Club boat owners tend to hang on to their slips until they die.
You’d think that since the average age of a club member seemed to be about 114, boat slips would become available rather frequently. But it’s the members of the tennis fleet, the ones who get daily exercise and restrict their alcohol intake, who die off regularly. The geezers who own boats, who drink all day in the Longhouse Bar reliving the glorious days of sail when Admiral Nelson ruled the sea, these guys apparently live forever. It must be all those vitamins in the rum.
So the Travis McGee had been sitting on blocks at the water’s edge for the past year and a half, sort of like my life.
I looked at the cluttered desk near the hallway that passed as my office. The red light on the telephone blinked on and off indicating there was a voice message, one I had already listened to three times. It was from Amber Kalanianaole Kam, a girl I had had a huge crush on in high school but hadn’t laid eyes on for probably twenty years. I pushed the button to hear the message a fourth time. Her voice sounded fragile, like a piece of fine porcelain about to shatter.
“Stryker,” she said. “You might not remember me, but we went to Punahou together. My grandfather Wai Lo Fat died in a terrible accident a week ago. Stryker, I think I need your help.”
Copyright © 2013 by Charley Memminger
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Charley Memminger is a beloved former Honolulu Advertiser columnist whose “Honolulu Light” column was eagerly anticipated with each update. I was delighted to learn he’d published a new book “Aloha, Lady Blue,” different from former publications, more of a crime mystery. That venue is not my normal reading fare, but it was Charley Memminger who we’ve missed, so it was worth the effort to take a look. I was delighted to find both a well-developed storyline and his standard mastery of understated though hilarious, laugh out loud lines. In fact, it was my sister in Virginia that alerted me to this book being published. She listened to the audio version, and I am certain missed most of the little hidden Easter egg prose that he crafted. To say he crafted it is probably going too far, it’s really the way he expresses himself in general, and that’s what makes it so much fun. My sister also reported that the audio version’s reader murdered Hawaiian name pronunciation, so read the book, much moh bettah. There was one continuing characteristic that made this book gangbusters, besides a very well developed plotline with multiple side stories, and that’s Charley’s very accurate description of relevant Oahu multi-culture places and style, as well as faithfully and accurately naming restaurants and other things we know (was that product placement Charley?). When he’s disguised something to protect the guilty (or innocent), he only changed a couple letters in the name to be able to claim “no foul,” which isn’t hard to do with Hawaiian names. And in a salute to a former well known Hawaii-based detective TV series, Charley gave us Stryker McBride’s gods Kane and Lolo, who add a certain balance to it all. While I never much cared for detective mysteries, I hope Charley will publish more of the Stryker McBride series (well, it won’t be a series unless he does). And OBTW, Stryker gets his 10 minutes of fame to set the world right in the end. Men everywhere are cheering. Aloha.
Ok, Charley is my brother, but this story captured me. His humor was terrific. Very good read!
I was upset when Aloha, Lady Blue was finished. I was reading Memminger's book at the same time I was reading Anderson's The Drummer. Wow two winners. Lady Blue has fantastic characters. I loved the style. Great depth of the local culture. Bring on Memminger's next read.
Two thumbs up – and five stars! Fans of Charley Memminger, Hawaii’s national-award-winning humor columnist (“Honolulu Lite”), will love his first novel, “Aloha, Lady Blue.” Although the intricately woven plot of this thriller will keep you turning the pages way past your bedtime through a series of bizarre and entertainingly crafted episodes, the author’s funny streak will keep you smiling too. The elderly Chinese victim of the crime that Memminger’s hero, Stryker McBride, is trying to solve is called Wai Lo Fat. McBride describes his “first meal of the day, which I had come to refer to as Honey Bunches of Budweiser because it sounded healthier than ‘swigging beer for breakfast.’” The appeal of the novel is deepened by its ample serious side: the insights it provides into the not-always-pretty history and delicious multi-ethnic culture of the Aloha State, as well as its look at the seamy side of paradise, something Memminger knows well thanks to his years as an investigative reporter (unparalleled training for a future humor columnist!) who had his share of up-close-and-personal encounters with some of the more notorious denizens of the Islands’ underworld. Two thumbs up for “Aloha, Lady Blue” – and if I had more thumbs, they’d be up too!