Review — PROJECT NAMAHANA by John Teschner (KENYA)

 

Project Namahana
by John Teschner (Kenya 2003-05)
Forge Books
304 pages
June 2022
$14,99 (Kindle); $27.99 (Hardback); $17.86 (audiobook)

Review by  D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76) and (Costa Rica 1976-77)

John Teschner

Set on the island of Kaua’i, the fourth largest of the Hawaiian archipelago, this novel starts with the death of three local boys, apparently by drowning. The book is mostly narrated by the two main characters, Micah Bernt, a former military special forces soldier, living on Kaua’i, and Michael Lindstrom, an executive and former lead scientist for the Benevoment Seed Company, living in the Twin Cities.

The book includes a lot of conversation in Hawaiian accents. This makes the narrative especially entertaining to read. Author John Teschner spent seven years living on the island of Kaua’i, so his use of Hawaiian words and phrases is authentic. Further, his descriptions of Hawaiian cultural situations adds a great deal to the novel.

As the novel progresses, other persons either disappear or die under suspicious circumstances and questions are raised about Project Namahana, a Benevoment Seed project on Kaua’i. (Mount Namahana is the island’s highest mountain.)

The two protagonists try to unravel the mystery of what happened to the three boys and the others. First working separately and later together on the island as the mystery accelerates into an action thriller with the protagonists being pursued by those eager to keep the truth hidden.

As a person who can count the Hawaiian words I know on one hand, I would much appreciate the addition of a glossary of Hawaiian terms to this book. I love the authenticity of having the characters talk like Hawaiians, but would like to be able to look up expressions I have any question about.

Teschner says: “I hope this book entertains, educates and moves my readers, but most of all, I hope it honors that spirit (of the Hawaiian people).” Enjoy!

D.W. Jefferson was a Peace Corps agriculture volunteer in El Salvador (1974-76) and Costa Rica (1976-77). A blog about his Peace Corps years is at: dwjefferson.blogspot.com  He is currently retired from a career in computer software engineering.

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