• Damned in Paradise

  • A Nathan Heller Novel, Book 8
  • By: Max Allan Collins
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1931, Nate Heller - on a leave of absence from the Chicago P.D. - goes to Hawaii to work as an investigator for family friend Clarence Darrow. One of five Honolulu natives accused of the rape of recent bride Thalia Massie has been murdered; facing murder charges are Thalia’s naval officer husband and her socialite mother. Something doesn’t seem right, and Darrow has brought Heller in to get to the bottom of it. A first-rate detective thriller, Max Allan Collins’ Damned in Paradise shimmers with authenticity as it drives inexorably towards its grave conclusion. Heller - aided by Chang Apana, the real-life model for Charlie Chan - determines that while Thalia surely was raped, the identity of her attackers are in question, and the lush tropical setting cannot dispel the morass of bigotry, lies, and revenge through which the young detective must wade to reach the bitter truth.

©2011 Max Allan Collins (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

STRANGE FRUIT HANGING FROM HAWAIIAN PALMS.....

Where does Damned in Paradise rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Nathan Heller series is only a "guilty pleasure" for me. I usually read more complex historical books based on fact. I don't want to downplay Max Allen Collins' talent but I've listened to over 2,000 audiobooks and would not rank it very highly among those works. However, that doesn't mean it's not a great book. If I compare this book to others in the written "film noir" genre, I'd have to say it's in the Top 5.

What other book might you compare Damned in Paradise to and why?

The only books like this, done this well, are all by this author.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The amount of racism disturbed me. I have never heard the word "nigger" so many times without one single black person in the book anywhere! The hate was directed to the citizens of Hawaii - not the white ones on Pearl Harbor - the real Hawaiians whose island the whites took over. This story could have just as easily taken place in Mississippi with black men being railroaded over some allegedly raped cheating married white woman. That's what my title refers to: the unfair justice given to people of color. The only difference here is that the hatred is directed towards Hawaiians. Who knew there was some other "niggers" in this country that whites dogged out?!"Southern trees bear a strange fruit,Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees."

Any additional comments?

Nathan Heller is always charming and Dan John Miller gives him a lovable "Richie Cunningham" quality.

7 people found this helpful

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Hawaii in 1932

I'm a solid fan of the series now, the highlight for me being the settings, time and place. In this one Nate goes to Hawaii in 1932 with Clarence Darrow, a family fried, to help solve a murder case.

This was 9 years before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hawaii was 10-15% Howlie (white) with most of them being military. There were, of course, the native Hawaiins but there were plenty of Pacific Islanders from all over the Pacific and there were a good number of Chinese. Most noticeable, however, were the Japanese which were flooding in looking for jobs and getting away from the Japan they saw coming and their percentage on the island was growing quickly. It all added up to lots of racism coming from all directions, all directed directed at everyone else.

Into this scenario the author thrusts Nate Heller into a mystery involving a Navy officer's wife, the officer himself, her mother, and residents from all the different types. It was a volatile mix of people just 9 years before World War II started right there. I found it all enjoyable and interesting.

Now it's on to Ameria Earhart......








Hawaii was a territory ot a state, that was yet to come.

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Blue Hawaii

Nate leaves Chicago and joins Clarence Darrow and a cast of characters in Hawaii to once again provide a fun and interesting listen. As always, Nate finds himself in the middle of a mystery that only he can unravel. A great listen and Dan John Miller once again provides the voice of Nate in great fashion.