Preview of new Lei Crime Kindle World novellas: Coconut Island



Coconut IslandBy Janet Oakley

Beatrice dropped her school bag and ran out into the hallway. “Mama! Something funny is going on. The bay is all dry.” She rushed to the living room where there was a large window that looked over the street.

There was a commotion in the kitchen. Beatrice’s mother, hurried down to her. Her teenaged brother and sister, Clarence and Janice, were close behind. They all stared out the window at the empty bay.

“I heard of this, children,” Beatrice’s mother said.

“Can we go down and look?” fourteen-year-old Janice asked. “I could look for opihi and crab.”

“Or treasure,” Beatrice chimed in. “I could help Honu if he’s stranded.”

Their mother frowned. “No. The sea may come back and flood the street. But I think we will be safe here for now.”

Flood the street? Beatrice thought. Won’t it flood the flower shop below us? She opened a side window. The smell of plumeria and sour seaweed hit her, but the strongest thing she sensed was the lack of natural sound. No myna bird or dove called. It was deadly still.

The sea did come back. Beatrice watched in horror at the speed with which it filled in the bay, raced across the beach and spun Mr. Chang and his truck around. The building shuddered when something hit it.

“To the back, children.” Beatrice’s mother pulled on her arm. “Now.”

“Where’s Hillary?” Clarence asked as they squeezed down the hallway. “Shall I wake her?”

“She didn’t come home.”

Beatrice was shocked at the tone of her mother’s voice, even more at her determined assault on every window in the kitchen. Mama shattered each glass pane with a heavy iron pan. Through the gaping windows, Beatrice heard someone yell.

“My Honu project.” The thought of it getting wet if another wave should strike the front of the apartment made Beatrice sick. “I’ll be right back.” She dashed down the hall to her room and picked up the large sheet of cardboard. She peeked out the window. Down below, Mr. Chang and a neighbor were assessing the damage to the truck and what appeared to be missing railroad rails on the other side of the street. The little palm trees looked forlorn.

“Beatrice!”

Beatrice snatched a stuffed animal, clamped it under her arm, and then grabbed her project. A roaring noise made her turn her head. Out beyond the sea break, she saw a black wall making its way toward the town of Hilo. It went over the break as easily someone pouring water. Huge boulders twisted and tumbled along with the wave’s flow. People started to scream. Beatrice ran.

Halfway down the hall, the apartment shook so violently that Beatrice was thrown to the wooden floor. She crab-crawled her way back onto her feet and ran to her mother just as the walls of the building collapsed.  The floor tilted, then seemed to push her up as the wave broke open the ceiling, and then the roof to the morning sky. Beatrice grabbed onto the closest thing to her— the glass knob on the door that once led into her parent’s bedroom. Her cheek against the door, she rode the wave as it rushed debris and people in toward the red dirt and green hills behind the town. To her horror, as she spun, Beatrice caught a glimpse of the giant wave behind the one that carried her now. It was the biggest thing she had ever seen. Higher than the apartment, it smashed down the remaining structure of the home and neighborhood she had known all her short life. The door caught on a large piece of the apartment’s roof and threw her on top of it. She grabbed on, her bleeding fingers seeking anything to hold onto. Somewhere in the din, she heard her mother cry out to her. The last thing she saw was Mr. Chang’s truck sweeping past her upside down and Honu from the sea, beating its legs as fast as they could go. Even the turtle’s eyes looked terrified.

About Coconut Island

Memories are dangerous. Investigative reporter Wendy Watanabe is no stranger to mysteries, but can she handle one steeped in her own family’s history?

A box of letters from a WWII soldier stationed on the Big Island is found at the Hilo Historical Society and unlocks painful memories for Wendy’s Great Aunt Bee.

Bee’s older sister was swept away in the 1946 tsunami, but now Wendy suspects she was murdered first. As she delves into the mystery, Wendy meets a group of nonagenarians who were at the USO center on Coconut Island during the war. One is a hero. Another is a cold-blooded murderer.

When the threat turns to Bee, Wendy seeks the aid of Detective Leilani Texeira and together, the women race to catch the killer before he claims another life.

About the author

Janet Oakley writes award-winning historical fiction set in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her debut novel, Tree Soldier, won the 2012 EPIC ebook award for historical fiction and the 2013 grand prize for Chanticleer Books Reviews. It was chosen by librarians in Washington and Idaho as the 2013 EVERBODY READS. The novel’s prequel is a 2015 WILLA Award silver winner, an Indie BRAAG and received a “highly recommended” review from the Historical Novel Society.

Coconut Island will be Janet’s second Lei Crime Kindle World novella, following Saddle Road.

 

She is also published in Clover, A Literary Rag and several anthologies. When not writing, she can be seen wearing petticoats and teaching 19th life hands-on to kids.

Visit her website and blog.

About Amazon Kindle Worlds

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Lei Crime Kindle World is based on the Lei Crime series, created by bestselling author Toby Neal.

About the Author