New releases from Hawaii authors

Honolulu Cop -- Reflections on a Career with HPD
By Gary Dias
(Bess Press, $11.95)

Reviewed by Burl Burlingame

Gritty, direct and heartfelt -- says so right on the rear cover -- pretty much sums up this thoughtful biography-meditation by former homicide chief Dias. Dias has a knack for writing in casual vernacular that's the equivalent of being told an entertaining story by a buddy or favorite teacher. And what stories! Dias was your quintessential boy in blue who seems to have served time (oops, wrong phrase) in nearly department of Honolulu Police Department, from the days of the abandoned Sears store to the glitzy, uber-moderne fortress on Beretania. By nature, the work is anecdotal, and roughly follows his career, but he's more interested in spinning yarns about other officers rather than himself. He comes across as modest, intelligent, civic-minded, analytical and genuinely curious about the human condition, which is pretty much the way I'd prefer all cops to be. The incidents Dias describes are sometimes well-known and give mesmerizing inside detail, such as the 1979 Kakaako sniper shoot-out, or are legendary events that HPD would rather keep in-house, such as the time rookie Dias accidentally exploded a flaming planter at the Kaneohe Police substation. "Honolulu Cop" is a pretty accurate idea how Hawaii police operate and think -- Honolulu screenwriters should keep this as a reference -- and citizens should sleep better at night. Bess Press also breaks a string of dull book covers with this nice package.

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