In order of appearance:
Kumai Alohi Kaimana:
Private concierge and professional diver who wants to lead a quiet life and piece back together any clarity that went down the drain when all her interests went up her nose in Florida. Attends online 12-step meetings for narcotics addiction. She has found a healthier bliss by helping others get what they need or want. She is a knockout who tones it down in drab khaki’s, sometimes walking on the wild side with a swipe of lipstick. Unless she has a blow to the head or gets overly tired, she thinks one thing while she says another. Secret weapons: Snoballs and determination.
A bird. Kumai’s African Grey parrot. Highly skilled at imitating sounds, especially other animals’. Uncle Leo in Captain Cook teaches him weird tricks whenever Kumai leaves the bird with her ohana. The latest: while perched on a finger he can swing upside down as if dead when prompted by the sound of a gunshot.
Head of Guest Services at the Four Seasons Resort and Kumai’s supervisor until she mysteriously isn’t. Kumai waits for Annamae to resurface, but wonders whether it will be like a road resurfacing or like driftwood or like a chemical peel facial. Annamae seems like a ditz who needs to attend On-and-on Anon but she employs wordy lip-flapping as a distraction.
Waimea Antiques dealer who met Kumai when she browsed his place for skeleton keys. He didn’t have any, but he handed her the keys to his heart. She hasn’t found any use for them yet, and it’s been a year.
Susan P. Winters:
Kumai’s current client for concierge services. Just bought a ranch in Hawaii which is like saying she had one-quarter of a haupia pie for dessert. Ships a dog and stuff from New Zealand, herself from California on a private jet, and upon first meeting takes Kumai to the event of the year in Hawaii.
Pronounced “kahNAY”. Let’s just say “ay” for his last name, okay? A prominent person’s son who helps Kumai when not-her-dog gets away from her on the airport runway. Saves Kumai from a TSA full-body probing and invites her to meet him at Choo’s, the same place he invites everyone to meet him, especially women. Drives a Hummer and looks like it too.
HICO; Hawaii Consignment; Charlie, Dede, and Hele:
Kumai’s favorite upcycling spot on the Big Island. The family that runs the shoppe saves skeleton keys for her collection. They’ve recirculated more than a few useful geegaws for Kumai over the past year. Charlie & Dede, wife & husband; Hele is their 20-something niece.
EMT who met Kumai at a banquet the night before her neighbors were murdered and was kicking himself for not getting her number then. He makes up for his mistake when he is called to the scene, but doesn’t get clear signals about whether Kumai is available. However, her signals about willingness are all too clear. Too bad for both of them, that’s not how he rolls. Raised third generation Japanese American in the Honokaa shade of Tex Drive In, he knows that malasadas and pretty much anything else in life is going to kill you. He’s seen it and made a career out of the sad fact.
Uncle Leo and Auntie Helen:
Kumai’s hanai (adopted-like) family. Helen and Leo met Kumai when she arrived on-island and booked a night at their place on Air B&B. They decided to reserve the room for her use without so much as a “sorry you don’t get to stay at our treehouse-kine cool place” to future B&Bers.
Lani; Kumu Lani (Leilani Punahele Na’auao):
A professional mermaid with a powerful tail. Sporting blonde dreadlocks, California girlness, and disturbing flexibility, she is Kumai’s closest friend on the Big Island and knows most of her dark corners. Girlfriend of Tommy Tennyson, a surfer dude.
Chaz; Charles Kapuna:
Manfred Y. Tokushima:
Serves his chief as bodyguard at social functions.
Tom; Tommy Tennyson:
Kumai’s contact for the less legal aspects of her work. He is in love and lives with Kumai’s best friend, Sage. A surfer dude who knows how to talk dakine and spends a little too much time chillaxin with pakalolo and bejewelled.
Dr. Tao Ching:
Maori Chief who has had differences with Lani and thinks Kumai is an acolyte of her nemesis. Tells Kumai to go visit another organic gardener that she knows: Tane. Provokes Kumai to investigate her ancestry.
The man about town: exclusive restaurants, yacht brokers, fine jewelers, realtors, cosmetic surgeons, and relaxation houses all know him by name. Often they use their own names for him, usually rhyming with mastered, perk, and handhold, but call him Mr. Summerbourne to his face. His custom-built yacht is named the Shades of Summer.
Kirby’s older brother who has the life that Kirby seeks, wife, kids, and paniolo playtime.
Carol and Joyce Ishita
An organic farmer on the Big Island who has the strange idea that if he treats his interns fairly and teaches them well, the entire planet will benefit. He could make bank just teaching and charging for what he knows, but he chooses instead to pay those who work for him. Trained in East India by family, he brings a humble respect to his work and his workers.