Sunday evening I finished Hell Bent by Jason Ryan (pages 188-254). I really enjoyed the view of “the other Hawaii” presented by Ryan – it’s a world populated by gangsters and filled with political nepotism. Hell Bent is typical of nonfiction – “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed and – indeed – the end of the book leaves many loose ends.
In the last 50 pages, crusading prosecutor Charles Marsland brings those he believes murdered his son to trial. Author Ryan does a good job of discussing the trial, keeping the narrative moving without bogging down in excess detail. The trial includes a great “Perry Mason” moment that makes the reader’s head spin.
Hell Bent is a short, easy read. The 254 pages contain few words. My hard cover is well bound with slick pages. The pictures were a letdown, however, as there are few of them and many are grainy. The publisher “cheaped out” by printing the photos on the same type of paper used to print the pages of text. A final area for improvement – I wish that Ryan had provided a longer update on the Hawaii underworld since the 1980s.
Still, I recommend Hell Bent and give it 9 out of 10.