Title: THE WHITE LEHUA
Genre: YA Mystery
Word Count: 75,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
Dr. Stephanie Hanley, M.D., MFCC
New Patient Survey
Patient Name: Claire Wells
What is your greatest fear?
It would probably save time if I said dead people, or funerals, or cops showing up in the middle of the night. But what scares the hell out of me is bugs. Not spiders or whatever. Sure, we’ve got spiders on the island. Spiders as big as your head. But I’m taking about bugs in your code. You know, syntax stuff the compiler won’t catch. And your program will run fine. For a while. But then it will become unpredictable. Unstable. And you’ll have to debug it, which is hard, because the code looks alright. Think bugs aren’t scary? Ask the guys at NASA about the Mars Climate Rover.
Half-Hawaiian teen Claire Wells spends each summer in the tiny town of Na’Alehu on the southern-most tip of the Big Island. To a tourist, it's paradise. But for Claire, it means even more. The visits bring her close to her archaeologist grandfather, a professor of Polynesian studies and a master storyteller.
During the rainy season, power outages are common at Hale Moana, their remote, hilltop home. But this time, her grandfather heads out to start the backup generator and doesn’t come back.
When his body is found the next day, floating in Kealakekua Bay, the police say it’s an accident. Claire is convinced otherwise while the rest of the town is convinced she’s crazy.
From a chance encounter at the local diner, Claire stumbles upon her grandfather’s investigation of a mysterious academic research group known as the Cook Monument Foundation. All those years spent as the only girl in Linux Users’ Group finally pay off and Claire puts her hacker skills to work. Breaking into The Foundation’s computer system, she learns the researchers’ real project is murder.
As Claire pieces the clues together, she unearths the cult behind the group, a bizarre sect dedicated to an ancient ritual of immortality. And just when Claire thinks it can't get any darker, she realizes the groups wants her own blood to complete their human sacrifice.
But it's not all grim. Claire gets a little help from sexy smartass, Sam L’ia, a tough Hawaiian who pledges to protect her. Together, they race to follow up on the clues her grandfather left behind. If they can’t find a way to stop the Foundation, they won’t live long enough to go on a real date.
First 250 words:
Anything tossed into the sea washes up at Ka’u.
This is what my grandfather told me.
I wasn’t tossed into the sea but was still drawn to the island by a force as irresistible as the tide.
On a rainy August day, our plane rolled to a stop in front of Kona’s small airport. My little brother Charles snored in the seat next to mine. I nudged him and he awoke with a loud yawn.
A cheerful flight attendant stepped in front of us as we made our way up the aisle. She gestured to a spot in front of the bathroom and said, “Wait here, kids. As soon as everyone’s off the plane, I’ll walk you down to the terminal.”
I glanced down in irritation at the Unaccompanied Minor badge hanging around my neck. I was sixteen and capable of parking my butt in an airplane seat without special assistance. But Dad thought we needed a babysitter on the flight from Phoenix.
“We’ll be fine,” I told the woman. “My grandfather always meets us at the curb.”
She chewed her thumbnail uncertainly, but taking in the seats covered with unfolded blankets and the awful smell coming from the bathroom, she nodded. “Well, technically you’re old enough to fly alone,” she said. “Okay. Claire Wells. Charles Wells.” She made a checkmark with a flourish next to our names on a form attached to her clipboard.
“Aloha and welcome to Hawaii.”