Jim Shon’s Hawaii-

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Poison in Paradise


“Controversial, but I love how the 80s is depicted. I’m happy Jim managed to raise awareness in his book.”

—Christopher Fisher, Jackson, Mississippi

“As a mainlander that has traveled to Hawaii on a number of occasions, I found the book fascinating and well written. While fictional, [it] brings up a number of compelling issues that seem all too real. Great book, quick, and easy read.”

—Eric C. Lohr, Amazon reviewer

“A compelling work of fiction. Hawaii is a nice setting for crime and politics.”

—Evelyn Parkhurst, Pontiac, Michigan

About The Books

Poison in Paradise is about power, politics, crime, arrogance, cover-ups, the media, and the inner workings of a legislature. Set during the time when the environmental movement was just learning to challenge the growing appetite for development and profit, America debates what it means to be a democracy in the twenty-first century. It also examines how people think with the advent of multimedia and how these tools support different agendas.

“Jim Shon’s book takes you inside the hopes, aspirations, triumphs, and failures of the legislative process. Having covered the legislature as a reporter, I was left thinking it was both better and worse than I remember it”. Tom Coffman, author of Catch a Wave and Nation Within. Inside Hawaii’s Capitol tells the tale of Jim Shon’s twelve years as a member of the Hawaii State Legislature. Readers are encouraged to put themselves into the shoes of a legislator and to gain an appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of today’s representative form of democracy in general, and Hawaii’s recent experience in particular.

The Case of the Good Deed follows two investigators reminiscent of Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto, but not the same. An old Hawaiian deed from the mid-19th century is found in the wall of an historic church. The deed is to a valuable parcel in rapidly developing downtown Kakaako. A young museum researcher and a young reporter believe it can complicate if not stop a major development. Then a suspicious and tragic death. Was it an accident? Follow Detective Charlie, Izakaya owner Moto, and reporter Zoe as they unravel the authenticity of the deed, and if the death was murder.

Preview Characters

A rainbow of Hawaii characters appear in The Case of the Good Deed

Dr. Dayton Apo, Director, The Cook Museum
Charlie C. Chang – a Honolulu Police Detective
Kirk Daniels – a young researcher at the Cook Museum
Joe and Molly (Mai Tai) Davis – owners and managers of a small walk up apartment
Henry Doyle – a City bus driver
Yoshiro “Moto” Fujimoto – a restaurant owner
Sheri Ishihara – a young resident of Kaka‘ako, girlfriend of Kekoa Potter
Julie – a bar owner in Chinatown
Peter Kalani – a projectionist at a local theater, Uncle of Kekoa Potter
Kawika…a Hawai‘ian resident of Honolulu in the 19th century
Kono – Shilling’s assistant Zoe Lee – a young reporter
Dr. Jon Miller – a University of Hawai‘i Professor
Kekoa Potter – a young resident of Kaka‘ako, nephew of Peter Kalani
Leighton Thomas, Chief of Staff for the Kaka‘ako Commission
Sally, the Cat Lady – someone who feeds stray cats in Kaka‘ako
Robert Shilling – a developer Clare Song – the Head of a forensic investigation lab
Stan Takahashi – a Honolulu Police Detective

A Charter School Story describes the challenges and successes in Hawaii’s efforts to create a charter school system. For two years Jim Shon was its chief administrator – charged not only with securing funding and amending Hawaii’s laws, but also with explaining how charter schools are different, and why they deserve our full support. If you are wondering what the charter school movement is all about, and where charters fit in the reform of public education, Shon’s chronicle of his stormy and controversial tenure is worth reading. If you are thinking of starting your own charter school, this book tells you what you are in for.

High above Honolulu in the Tantalus rainforest a high school reunion turns tragic. A Honolulu detective, an Izakaya restaurant owner, and an on-line investigative reporter team up to solve another mystery. Follow Charlie Chang, Moto Fujimoto, and Zoe Lee as they navigate Hawaii’s multicultural modern landscape to uncover the connections between personal rivalries, cyber insecurity, and the opioid epidemic. A sequel to The Case of the Good Deed, these three quirky characters give us insights into how the media, the government and the private sector work together in a healthy democracy.

Preview Characters


Charlie C. Chang – a Honolulu Police Detective
Joe and Molly (Mai Tai) Davis – owners and managers of a small walk
up apartment
Yoshiro “Moto” Fujimoto – a restaurant owner
Michael Furutani, Chair of the Police Commission, Businessman 
Arthur Kido, Police Chief
Julie – a bar owner in Chinatown
Zoe Lee – a young reporter
Clare Song – the Head of a forensic investigation lab
Tako Bob – alias for a cybersecurity consultant
Senator Byron Wakayama – Representing the Makiki Tantalus district.

The Grover Cleveland High School Class of 94

Ben Flores – Unemployed
; Sabrina Matsumoto – Former Waikiki waitress

Sarah Taira – lives in Punchbowl condo; divorced, practices criminal law

Wendy Gushiken – lives in Manoa, is a chef at the
 Pacific Club, husband is a banker.

Maya Kai - lives in Waipahu, owns a small accounting firm, single.
Judy Conlin – single, lives in Helena Montana, runs outdoor adventure tours;
Gary Hoe – lives in Waianae; teaches math at Leeward Community College

Reed Radcliff – lives in San Francisco; investment advisor for futures stocks

Shirley Garcia – lives in Kalihi; works as a physical therapist at the Rehab Hospital;

Eileen Kerrigan – lives in Syracuse, NY, manages IT systems at Lemoyne College

Will Kalaiopula - lives in Makiki, works for State Department of Land and Natural Resources,

 Jake Kim – lives in Hawaii Kai, Pharmacist at HealthRite Drug Store;
Jarrett Tanji – Lives in Pearl City, Used car salesman; divorced.
Jason Menor – Lives in Los Angeles, plays soccer for the LA Galaxy.


Jim Shon lives in Honolulu. He has been a Peace Corps Volunteer on Jeju Island in Korea, a Hawaii State Legislator, Director of Charter Schools, a labor arbitrator, and a TV political analyst. He is an educational consultant, and a fundraiser for nonprofits. Jim has authored a number of books on education and politics. He holds a BA in Music Education, and a PhD in Political Science.

His books include Inside The Capitol: Lessons in Legislative Democracy, and A Charter School Story: Hawaii’s Experience in Creating a Charter School System.

Jim is currently the director of the Hawaii Educational Policy Center, providing objective, data-based information on public and private educational policy and practices at all levels.


“Working at the capitol required a new vocabulary. The most important thing to understand, Helen came to believe, was the idea of TRUST. The point is you can’t tell much about someone just by listening to them. You have to know who they’re close to. Just because he says he’s an environmentalist doesn’t mean you can count on him in the clutch. Trust was a hidden criterion that everyone judged everyone else by. It was the basis of bring included, and of being able to make a difference.”

“Mahalo for allowing me to give my mana’o—that’s opinion for you haole boys . . . I am just a simple woman, a simple Hawaiian. I cannot understand all your fancy numbers, Mr. Chairman. All I know is that my grandchildren love to eat meat and drink water. And now this man from the EPA has come and tells us that maybe the water and meat are not so good for us. Maybe they cause cancer or something.”

“For one eternal moment Helen stared into the face of the blue-eyed attacker, who knelt next to Randall's bleeding form. The man’s eyes shifted as he caught sight of the security guard rounding the corner. He lurched towards the exit on the far side of the parking garage. The guard pulled his gun and fired. The man escaped up the stairs into the dark night air. Randall Ogawa lay wounded at Helen’s feet, his blood staining the bottoms of her high-heeled shoes.”


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