Primitive Secrets by Deborah Turrell Atkinson
Storm Kayama, a recent law school graduate and clerk in her hanai, or adopted, uncle’s lucrative Honolulu firm, walks into his office one morning to find him sitting at his desk, stiff and cold. Years before, Miles Hamasaki had fulfilled a promise to Storm’s father and brought her to be raised with his own family. But questions surround Hamasaki’s death, and her adopted family begins to close ranks as Storm’s suspicions rise.
Heading to the Big Island for a weekend escape from escaslating pressures, Storm narrowly escapes a terrible accident en route to her aunt’s and uncle’s mountain home. There, with Aunt Maile, a traditional Hawaiian healer, and Uncle Keone, a paniolo on the huge Parker Ranch, Storm encounters a legend from her youth and a family totem, or ‘aumakua, which will protect her—and do it a damn sight better than modern medicine is handling the firm’s clients.
As Storm struggles to heal her own childhood wounds and bring justice to Hamasaki’s killer, she also comes to grips with the rifts in her own life and culture.
From the winding cane roads of Hamakua to the seedy side of Honolulu’s Chinatown, with a deft juxtaposition of a bustling Honolulu against the island’s legends and wild beauty, Atkinson reveals a Hawaii that few visitors ever see as she unfolds a clever, contemporary plot laced with island lore.