Kai Cooke

Created by Chip Hughes

“Surfing Detective: Confidential Investigations–All Islands”
Kai’s business card

Hawaii’s KAI COOKE is no mere detective–he’s a surfing detective! And you can tell that right off the bat because he greets his very first client in the very first pages of his very first published adventure, Murder on Moloka’i (2004), in dripping wet board shorts and no shirt.

Although, to Kai’s credit, at least he has the self-awareness to “curse himself for having gone surfing so close to a client appointment.”

But hey, when your attorney’s going around telling people that you’re the “best private detective in Honolulu,” I guess you’re cut a little slack in the wardrobe department.

I think the author would be content to become known as “the Dick Francis of the Surfing Set.” Most of his cases seem to involve surfing and surfers–even a couple of jaunts to Paris are surfing-adjacent. But the most surfy of all might be 2011’s Kula, where he’s hired to find a missing (or possibly kidnapped) golden retriever known as “Kula, The Famous Surfing Dog”.

The wave-riding gumshoe has since appeared in several sequels and a handful of novellas. In fact, the series has become something of a cult fave–so much so that that first novel was subsequently reissued with  “The Making of Murder On Moloka’i”, basically fifty-five pages of bonus material: unpublished excerpts, outtakes and play-by-play by the author.


Chip Hughes earned a Ph.D. in English at Indiana University and taught American literature, film, writing, and popular fiction for nearly three decades at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Besides the Surfing Detective mystery series, he’s written plenty of non-fiction, including two books and numerous essays and reviews on John Steinbeck. Currently, Chip and his wife Charlene split their time between homes in Hawai‘i and upstate New York.



  • Hanging Ten in Paris (2012, Wipe Out & Hanging Ten in Paris)
  • “Another Problem in Paris” (2017, Hanging Ten in Paris Trilogy)
  • “Murder at Makapu’u” (2017, Hanging Ten in Paris Trilogy)


  • Wipe Out & Hanging Ten in Paris (2012) Buy this book Kindle it!
    Includes the novel Wipeout and “Hanging Ten in Paris.”
  • Hanging Ten in Paris Trilogy (2017) Buy this book Kindle it!
    Includes “Hanging Ten in Paris”, “Another Problem in Paris” and “Murder at Makapu’u”.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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