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Hokuloa Road  By  cover art

Hokuloa Road

By: Elizabeth Hand
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
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Publisher's Summary

A young man is drawn into the dark side of paradise in this haunting and "perfectly crafted" mystery (Grady Hendrix), about the eerie secrets of one Hawai’ian islandand the lengths some will go to keep them.

On a whim, Grady Kendall applies to work as a live-in caretaker for a luxury property in Hawaiʻi, as far from his small-town Maine life as he can imagine. Within days he's flying out to an estate on remote Hokuloa Road, where he quickly uncovers a dark side to the island’s idyllic reputation: it has long been a place where people vanish without a trace.

When a young woman from his flight becomes the next to disappear, Grady is determined—and soon desperate—to figure out what's happened to Jessie, and to all those staring out of the island’s “missing" posters. But working with Raina, Jessie’s fiercely protective best friend, to uncover the truth is anything but easy, and with an inexplicable and sinister presence stalking his every step, Grady can only hope he'll find the answer before it's too late.

Perfect for fans of Peter Heller and The White Lotus, and from award-winning writer Elizabeth Hand, a master of crime fiction known for her magnetic characters, seductive prose, and fearless excavations into the darkest corners of our world, comes a chilling and illuminating new novel about a place unlike any other—and the deadly cost of keeping it so.

"Set in a Hawaii so vividly imagined I'm still shaking sand out of my shoes."—Grady Hendrix

“Twisty and dark . . . easily one of the best thrillers I've read.” —Rachel Hawkins

“This is the perfect book for your summer beach bag—an evocative mystery set in a tropical island paradise . . . I was completely enthralled!” —Jason Rekulak

©2022 Elizabeth Hand (P)2022 Mulholland Books

Critic Reviews

“Elizabeth Hand has been one of my favorite authors since Wylding Hall, so when I opened Hokuloa Road I knew I'd get her signature mix of deeply evocative prose, sinister surroundings, and fascinating characters. I was right, but even as a long time Hand Fan, I was completely blown away by this book. Hokuloa Road is twisty and dark, easily one of the best thrillers I've read, but it's so much more than that, too. It's thoughtful and pensive, smart and scary, and exhilarating as you realize that you're in the hands of a master storyteller. After reading this book, I promise, Elizabeth Hand is going to become one of your favorite authors, too.”—Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of Reckless Girls and The Wife Upstairs
"Set in a Hawaii so vividly imagined I'm still shaking sand out of my shoes, Elizabeth Hand's perfectly crafted ghost story is exactly the comfort-destroying read you need on a long, lonely night."—Grady Hendrix, New York Times bestselling author of The Final Girl Support Group
“This is the perfect book for your summer beach bag—an evocative mystery set in a tropical island paradise. The locals warn that Hokuloa Road is dangerous, but I was completely enthralled by its scenery and secrets!”
 —Jason Rekulak, author of Hidden Pictures

What listeners say about Hokuloa Road

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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“There’s something happening here…”

….what it is ain’t exactly clear”. The story is weird. There are some spooky parts but the plot drags. Very disappointing. But good narration.

20 people found this helpful

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It doesn't get much better than this.

I'm a fan of this author's Cass Neary series, but this audiobook completely swept me away.
It was altogether perfect, and I stayed up all night listening.
The characters, (including the island itself), just brim with life, and I think I fell in love with Grady.
Kaleo Griffith's performance was truly wonderful.
I'm so glad I listened.

19 people found this helpful

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Another Great Book by This Amazing Writer!

I've been reading/listening to this author's books since the 1990s. I've read nearly everything she's published, with the exception of the television/film tie-in books from popular franchises, though I'll probably get to them at some point. I love the way she weaves mystery, suspense, science and folklore into her stories. I appreciate the thematic threads she's worked into her last several books. Don't want to spoil anything here, but some things are happening everywhere all the time, and she's made a point of addressing those things. The narrator's performance was perfect for this book. As always, I am looking forward to her next book.

18 people found this helpful

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GenZ warning

With these new books, they should rally put a GenZ label on them so we're not wasting our time. The immature expletives and cell phone use and lingo gets old, fast. Returning

4 people found this helpful

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So What Happened? And so what?

During Covid lockdown, a kid from Maine, Grady, looking for a fresh start, moves to a fictitious Hawaiian island to be a caretaker for an eccentric gazillionaire. Strange things start happening, including the disappearance of a girl he met on the airplane, along with many others. Grady tries to figure out what is happening.

I got this book as a Daily Deal because I've grown obsessed with the idea of moving to Hawaii myself. The depiction of the island, which sure matches Maui to a tee, is the best part of the book -- so too the lockdown setting, which allows the island to be viewed without the Heisenbergian presence of hordes of tourists. The connection to Hawaiian folk myths, on the other hand, meant to evoke elements of horror, is the worst part of the book.

So what exactly happens? Is the horror a red herring for the mystery, or is the mystery a set up for the horror? It would help if the author decided which way to go -- trying to walk a fine line between the two, both the horror and the mystery end up being, well, not sure exactly what, but so what? By the end we don't really care anymore.

Neither apparently did the author, because it all wraps so quickly, without any concrete reveals, and with one story line about human trafficking completely abandoned and left inconclusive, even to the point where we never learn what happened to one key missing person. The authorities also don't seem to care that so many people have gone missing and never found -- sure, crime against natives in the U.S. is scandalously under-investigated and under-reported, but the apathy of authorities in this instance, with tourist dollars on the line, is laughable.

I often read a good novella and wish it was a full length book. This time, there is so much wasted time, I feel like maybe it would have been better as a novella. Judging by other reviews, if you're already a fan of the author, you may like this one too, but if like me you have no preexisting connection to her, meh.

2 people found this helpful

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Was this a YA category book?

I found the first couple of hours intriguing, but after that more like an environmental text zzzzz. I also have to wonder how a guy who had never been so much as out of his home state of Maine pronounce Hawaii with a “v”?

2 people found this helpful

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Story had potential

Disappointed. Main character seemed weaker and less informed than his training in various areas would indicate. He seemed very young, like a high school kid. The build up to island spirits and their role in this story fell flat.

2 people found this helpful

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native conservation with murder mystery and spirits

Although this book is a slow burn, the descriptions and Hawaiian scenes are captivating. It’s not your typical murder mystery book. There was a lot of native Polynesian culture and legends. It held my interest throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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Hawaiian wild life and mysticism..

A well-narrated story of life in Hawaii during the covid pandemic. It smoothly mixes tales of missing persons, Hawaiian wildlife, and spiritualism. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Elizabeth Hand's books.

1 person found this helpful

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Folklore and Hawaiian Nature

The descriptions of nearly uninhabited places in Hawaii are beautiful and well written. This seems like a long tale with interesting characters.
However, I did fast forward through some parts.
Good narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Nigel Quinlan
  • Nigel Quinlan
  • 08-19-22

Excellent

An unexpectedly enjoyable part of this hugely enjoyable supernatural mystery is its setting during the covid lockdown, something that will, I suspect, culturally appear across various artworks from that particular time in a way a forest fire can be detected in tree rings. The loneliness and desolation of lockdown, the practical difficulties and imposition of quarantine are all seamlessly part of life in this book as a young carpenter travels to a remote Hawiaiian island to work as caretaker for a billionaire. Mask etiquette is followed, spacing and eating outdoors, while the island's entire tourist industry has shut down, Text messages and chats rather movingly keep scattered family and friends in touch. It probably helps that Hand has written science fiction fantasy and horror to acquire the sorts of skills to write a pandemic-as-everyday-background novel, though maybe any writer could do it this well if they're good enough, and Hand is that good. Other timely themes are preserving the last shreds of an already-damaged natural environment and the strange, almost alien designs of the incredibly rich. It's a riveting thriller, with wonderful wrting about the flora and fauna and sights of Hawaii and some deeply lovable characters, as well as a chilly atmosphere of fear and slowly mounting worldly and otherworldly suspense. Narration is superb