The Kauai Connection

The Kauai Connection

by A. Keith Barton


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Jack Cahill uncovers a family secret after fifty years about America's entry into World War II. The CIA wants him dead to protect the President's upcoming trade agreement with Japan that threatens the economic survival of our NATO allies.

Jack Cahill returns to his boyhood home of Kauai to spend his retirement after a tumultuous career with Global Dynamics. He is surprised to learn of a family secret that his father had worked for Japan during WW II by sharing intelligence information about American naval vessels. Cahill enlists the support of his boyhood friend, Nathan Kaleo, to decipher records found in an old island fort that lead to a startling discovery that the elder Cahill did not act alone. The CIA is determined to kill Cahill before he uncovers the truth about Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780595241996
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/13/2002
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

The rugged Na Pali coastline descended below the single shadow from Pu u o Kila Lookout to the crashing waves five thousand feet below. The lush green vegetation swayed ever so gently in the Pacific breeze. The deep, orange hues propelled across the dark blue water gave a hint of the kaleidoscope that was to follow. The wind pierced the single figure atop the lookout to remind him of nature's potency when juxtaposed against the fragile human. Bald eagles returned to their nests cut deep in the cavernous rocks permeating the sloping cliffs below. Undulating water made its way towards the shoreline circumventing the jagged volcano remnants of a land formation that stretched northwest to Japan. The damp, cool air brushed against the graying beard. The steely, blue eyes fixed on the orange ball that was about to disappear below the horizon.

The lone figure grabbed his canteen to wet his parched lips, the water trickling down the corners of his mouth to moisten the gray filament below. The Kala trail with its breathtaking views and switchbacks had pounded the man's chest like a punching bag during the previous five hours of rugged terrain that included crevices capable of engulfing one's body in perpetuity. The lone hiker slowly lowered his aching body onto a flat rock to remove his boots and assess any tissue damage. He removed the bloodstained boots ever so gently to avoid tearing the flesh already peeled from the constant chafing against the rubber insulation of his boots. The contents of the canteen caressed the bare skin as he massaged his feet and toes to restore circulation and brighter color.

Purple hues radiated from the west casting ominous, amorphous shapes against the sides of both cliffs jutting below him. The wind swirled in the crescent moon-shaped valley below him. Wildlife began to take refuge as the temperature plummeted with each passing minute. The down-filled parka provided warmth to his brittle skeletal mass beneath the numbness and cold muscles, and his body strained for oxygen to increase the rushing blood through six miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries. The stone below his fragile frame penetrated his parka like cold steel causing this solitary figure to gasp momentarily. He removed his sleeping bag from his backpack and slipped into its protective womb for the next few hours. Sleep overcame him.

Twenty-four hours ago Jack Cahill had sipped the last of his vodka martini as the 747 descended through cloud cover towards its final approach to Lihue Airport on the southeast shore of Kauai. This beautiful "garden island" of Hawaii's magnificent chain of seven islands jutted upward from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Cahill had just ripped the cord of his golden parachute following the merger of his company, Global Dynamics, with his chief competitor, Levitron International. Six months of due diligence with auditors, bankers, and the Federal Trade Commission had taken its toll on the sixty year-old Silicon Valley magnate. Now he planned to return to his birthplace to enjoy his retirement.

The Cahills were well-known in Kauai having owned the island's largest sugarcane plantation on the southern coast near Koloa, where there is now a famous golf course where the PGA major tour winners play each December for the honor of besting their competitors. The only child of Wanda and Zachary Cahill, Jack learned to swing a machete at eight, cutting down the cane stalks that would be ground into sugar for export to the mainland. Prep school was mandatory for the frail, young boy, whose taciturn demeanor kept him in many a fight, due to his refusal to defend himself. The elder Cahill was well-known on the island, having befriended the locals with jobs to support their large families in an otherwise tourist economy. Japan had yet to drop its bombs on their neighboring island to the east. The local, weekly paper headlined Hitler's occupation of Poland, but such geo-political events were a world away from the sleepy town of Koloa.

The younger Cahill played with the multi-ethnic Polynesian children who were gracious in their inclusion of Jack in games of hide and seek in the fields of sugarcane and pineapple. The young boy quickly acclimated to the gentle nature of his plantation friends and found refuge in their camaraderie. His best friend, Nathan, was a fifth-generation islander, his family having emigrated from the Fijian island of Vanua Levu three thousand miles to the southwest in the eighteen hundreds.

Jack attended the old Kalaheo School with twenty-five teachers and five hundred students in grades one through twelve. At ten years, he quickly mastered the machine and carpentry shops and used his hands to create storage boxes for pineapples that were loaded onto trucks for transport to the southern port of Poipu. Jack and Nathan were inseparable during their school years. Jack's day began at five a.m. He pumped diesel fuel into the side-paneled trucks that dotted the landscape as the field workers loaded boxes of pineapples onto the trucks during the cool mornings. Large machetes danced overhead as the tropical fruit was separated from its arbor host. Jack and Nathan joined the older children in the fields after school to cut the cane stalks and throw them into the waiting trucks for the curing barns south of the cane fields.

The war quickly changed the Cahill farm into a supply base for 55th Medical Group that took over the Kalaheo School in 1942. Jack was fifteen when the farm shut down due to the islanders being drafted into civilian service to care for the wounded from Midway, the Philippines, and Solomon Islands. Makeshift tents quickly transformed the once pristine fields for the lucky few U.S. Marines before their journey to Honolulu and the mainland. Many unfortunate souls died in the same fields in which Nathan and Jack once hid on warm nights during their youthful innocence. Such was the island that now peacefully immersed the lone, prostrate figure atop the cold stone overlooking the darkness of the Na Pali coastline below.

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