PERSONAL: Born in San Francisco, CA.
CAREER: Teacher of social studies and English in secondary schools in Portland, OR, 1989–2003; high-school teacher of English in HI, 2003–. Worked variously as a newspaper editor, associate editor of a magazine, director of publications and sports information at a liberal-arts college, and as a professional poker player.
Wiley's Lament (mystery novel), St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2003.
Wiley's Shuffle (mystery novel; sequel to Wiley's Lament), St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Lono Waiwaiole's mysteries Wiley's Lament and Wiley's Shuffle are dark, violent novels featuring a gritty protagonist known only as Wiley. Living a marginal life in Portland, Oregon, Wiley makes ends meet by playing poker; when necessary, he supplements his income by robbing drug dealers. Wiley's life becomes even more bleak when his daughter Lizzie, who works for an escort service, is found brutally murdered in a motel room. Wiley sets out to hunt down her killer. He suspects a man named Leon, a wealthy kingpin in Portland's sex industry and a former lover of Lizzie's. Wiley finally locates Leon but is ultimately convinced of his innocence, and the two join forces to find the real killer, a rogue agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Reviewing Wiley's Lament for Chicago's Tribune Books, Dick Adler warned that the novel is "extremely violent," but added that the author "makes it all worthwhile" and is capable of "writing that tears at the heart."
The events of Wiley's Lament resonate in the sequel, Wiley's Shuffle. This novel finds Wiley losing badly while playing poker at Leon's casino. When he gets a call from his friend Miriam, a prostitute who is in trouble with her boss, Wiley hurries to help her. His innate goodness, hidden deep inside his disreputable exterior, makes Wiley "the quintessential noir antihero," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. Wiley's Shuffle, added the critic, pits the title character against a pimp named Dookie, "a true monster, maybe the most unregenerate, over-the-top baddie in recent crime fiction." Wiley's struggle to protect Miriam leads him to Las Vegas, Nevada, through Los Angeles, California, and finally all the way up the West Coast back to Portland. According to Frank Sennett in Booklist, Waiwaiole brings the story to life with "crackling dialogue and explosively entertaining characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Frank Sennett, review of Wiley's Shuffle, p. 1709.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of Wiley's Lament, p. 1812; April 15, 2004, review of Wiley's Shuffle, p. 367.
Library Journal, February 1, 2003, Rex Klett, review of Wiley's Lament, p. 121.
Publishers Weekly, February 10, 2003, review of Wiley's Lament, p. 166; May 31, 2004, review of Wiley's Shuffle, p. 55.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 30, 2003, Dick Adler, review of Wiley's Lament, p. 2.
Harriet Klausner's Review Archive, http://harrietklausner.wwwi.com/ (March 2, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Wiley's Shuffle.
Lono Waiwaiole Home Page, http://lonowaiwaiole.com (March 14, 2005).