There are so many things that make Hawai‘i a great place to live: great weather, beautiful landscapes, diverse culture, a different pace of life.
However, Hawai‘i has its darker sides, too.
Like anywhere else in the world, Hawai‘i also experiences the reality of criminal behavior and self-interest from those who place their personal gain above the lives of others.
It takes courageous individuals to call out these persons when it happens, and there is perhaps none more famous for doing so in modern Hawai‘i than brazen and daring investigative journalist James Dooley. Recently, Dooley compiled his most-impactful investigations into a true-crime, non-fiction book, “Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers, and Corruption in the Aloha State,” published by the University of Hawai‘i Press.
Dooley spent decades breaking open the hidden world of organized crime and its ties to political corruption. It is quite a feat when one really thinks about the personal risk involved in trying to expose criminal acts by those who want to keep it hidden, especially when it involves money or power.
Despite this, Dooley’s drive for shining sunlight created shockwaves in the Hawaiian Islands, made headlines, and in the end helped justice to be served.
We are impressed by the author’s ability to shy away from colorful characterizations in his writing style, or pressing his opinions. Instead, we are presented only with the facts, allowing us to make judgments for ourselves.
In addition to being a fascinating and invaluable chronicle of Hawai‘i’s modern history, “Sunny Skies, Shady Characters” is also a keen reminder of the importance of demanding transparency in our government and society, because history has proven time and time again that there will always be those who will take advantage of the “shady” areas where none can see too clearly.
Ed Justus is the owner of Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe. Yuriko and Ed Justus are Kalaheo residents. Talk Story Bookstore is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.