Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Jason Ryan, Hell Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob, with music by The V-Tones. Sun., Nov. 2

Hell-Bent Cover

Join us, Sun., Nov. 2, 4-6 pm as local author Jason Ryan signs copies of his new book, Hell Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob. (Globe Pequot Press, hb., 304 pp $27). The V-Tones of Charleston  will also be playing Hawaiian music during the release party.

World-class beaches, fragrant frangipani, swaying palms, and hula girls. Most folks think of Hawaii as a vacation destination. Mob-style executions, drug smuggling, and vicious gang warfare are seldom part of the postcard image. Yet, Hawaii was once home to not only Aloha spirit, but also a ruthless, homegrown mafia underworld. From 1960 to 1980, Hawaiian gangsters grew rich off a robust trade in drugs, gambling, and prostitution that followed in the wake of Hawaii’s tourist boom.
     Thus, by 1980—the year Charles Marsland was elected Honolulu’s top prosecutor—the honeymoon island paradise was also plagued by violence, corruption and organized crime. The zeal that Marsland brought to his crusade against the Hawaiian underworld was relentless, self-destructive, and very personal. Five years earlier, Marsland’s son had been gunned down. His efforts to bring his son’s killers to justice—and indeed, eradicate the entire organized criminal element in Hawaii—make for an extraordinary tale that culminates with intense courtroom drama.

Jason Ryan is the author of Jackpot: High Times, High Seas and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs, the true story of the rise and fall of the South’s “gentlemen” marijuana smugglers. Ryan is a former staff reporter of The State newspaper and a graduate of Georgetown University. He lives in Charleston.


The V-Tones are Charleston’s only ukulele hot club jug band vaudeville ragtime neo-retro-postpostmodern beachfront quasi-primitive anachronistic revolutionary anti-inflammatory mass catharsis jazz freakout and philharmonic group therapy session.


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