Hawai‘i: a novel by Mark Panek

A nine-term U.S. senator and political patriarch is dead, leaving modern-day Hawai‘i at a crossroads: crumbling public educa- tion at all levels, a crystal meth epidemic, Native Hawaiians getting shipped to Arizona prisons, and class divisions so deep that even State Senator Russell Lee has to scramble to avoid eviction from his family’s dream home. When an illegal gambling debt puts him even deeper in the hole, Russell’s only way out is to go all in, joining forces with an up-and-coming young developer, a linked-up underworld kingpin, and a Chinese casino magnate. Their goal? To sway an electorate easily distracted by a local media obsession with weather reports and Hawai‘i football into rolling the dice on the most unlikely legislative ambition in the state’s history. Russ lays it all on the line—his house, his family, his career, his principles—in a battle that pits him against the next-in-line “anointed” Democratic party favorite, an environmental movement hardened by years of anti-development crusades, and the long-lost righteous Hawaiian blood-brother he must convince to join him in the name of helping his people. From the summit of Mauna Kea to the crowded shores of Waikiki, from the State Capitol to the seedy backstreets of Honolulu, from a ten- thousand-dollar breast enhancement to a young mother’s fading jailhouse tattoo, Mark Panek leaves out nothing in this scathing portrait of 21st-century paradise.

A much-needed contemporary answer to James Michener’s Hawaii

- Chris McKinney, award-winning author of The Tattoo, Mililani Mauka, and Boi No Good.


Hawai‘i succeeds in constructing a blisteringly authentic representation of the Hawai‘i we live in today, one that stands tall in its unapologetic honesty.” – Hawaii Book Blog

Get it before the post-Inouye island power players figure out a way to ban it.” – Don Wallace, A Salty Blog

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About the Author:
Mark Panek was born in New York City. A graduate of Colby College, he has travelled widely, having lived in Maine, New York, Sydney, Honolulu, and Tokyo. This is his third book. For more information about Mark Panek, click here.