World-class beaches, fragrant frangipani, swaying palms, and hula girls. Most folks think of Hawaii as a vacation destination. Mob-style executions, drug smuggling, and vicious gang warfare are seldom part of the postcard image. Yet, Hawaii was once home to not only Aloha spirit, but also a ruthless, homegrown mafia underworld. From 1960 to 1980, Hawaiian gangsters grew rich off a robust trade in drugs, gambling, and prostitution that followed in the wake of Hawaii’s tourist boom.
Thus, by 1980—the year Charles Marsland was elected Honolulu's top prosecutor—the honeymoon island paradise was also plagued by violence, corruption and organized crime. The zeal that Marsland brought to his crusade against the Hawaiian underworld was relentless, self-destructive, and very personal. Five years earlier, Marsland’s son had been gunned down. His efforts to bring his son’s killers to justice—and indeed, eradicate the entire organized criminal element in Hawaii—make for an extraordinary tale that culminates with intense courtroom drama. Hawaii Five-O
in author Jason Ryan’s vigorously reported chronicle of brazen gangsters, brutal murders, and a father’s quest for vengeance—all set against an unlikely backdrop of seductive tropical beauty.