MAINE, USA — When Elizabeth Hand left Maine to visit Maui, where her daughter had moved to, she was struck by something on her first trip there.
“Driving from the airport,” Hand writes, “I saw a small concrete structure in the middle of a field, covered with graffiti in the form of names and dates. ‘What’s that?’ I asked. My daughter replied, ‘Those are the names of people who have gone missing.’”
That’s all a crime novelist needs to activate her imagination, and it led to Hand’s new book, “Hokulua Road,” the story of a Mainer who becomes a caretaker at a luxurious estate in Hawaii and discovers the island’s dark side.
As different as Hawaii and Maine are, they have certain characteristics in common. They’re both known for their natural beauty, the vast numbers of visitors they attract, and the tension between natives and people from away, especially when the people from away flaunt their wealth.
Hand enjoys visiting Hawaii, but there’s no doubt where her heart lies.
“I love Maine,” she says. “People ask me, ‘Oh, wouldn’t you want to go live in Hawaii?’ I say no, I really wouldn’t.”