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Good Reads: A Sporting Sleuth

“I need your help,” I began. “And by helping me, you’re going to save yourself a lot of trouble. I know that you’ve been masquerading as these football players, and that you’ve been sending this poor guy these pictures, and that he’s been sending you a whole bunch of s—t. Now, this can go away. It can. If it doesn’t, well, you’ve violated all cking kinds of interstate and local laws. I can go to the FBI and they’d be happy to investigate because it would be a high-profile case. Believe me, they’d be glad to take you down. That is, of course, unless you’re willing to talk to me.”

— Excerpt from “Hawaiian Eye: My Fifty Years as a P.I. in Paradise.”

The guy did wind up talking, of course. Spilled his guts out. He confessed to posing as several University of Hawaii football players to solicit money, gift cards and other items from an admiring booster who was attracted to young men. The situation came to a head when the booster arranged for a hotel room meeting with a player during a road trip, and when he arrived he found the room was trashed. Stuck with the repair bill, the upset booster contacted UH.

Enter Steve Goodenow.

Goodenow’s recently released book, “Hawaiian Eye: My Fifty Years as a P.I. in Paradise,” is a captivating collection of the private investigator’s most memorable cases. From catching thieves and tracking down missing persons to exploring the deep underbelly of Hawaii’s organized crime scene, Goodenow takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the life of a real-life Magnum P.I. As he notes in the book’s introduction: “I’ve been chased, threatened and assaulted. I’ve been accused, offered bribes and slandered. I’ve hidden in trees and scoured the Pacific Ocean. I’ve worked with world-famous celebrities and crossed paths with underworld bosses. I’ve donned disguises and designed makeshift hidden cameras. On more occasions that I care to admit, I’ve sped down freeways going in the wrong direction.”

Goodenow is a big-time sports fan, so it’s no surprise that he dedicated an entire chapter on his favorite sports-related cases. He shares his experiences working with the NFL as a drug testing agent. He recounts tracking down troubled running back Rickey Williams, the former Heisman Trophy winner. He details uncovering a Super Bowl ticket counterfeiting operation. In the mid-1970s, UH hired Goodenow to investigate the school’s men’s basketball program; his findings resulted in crippling NCAA sanctions and the departure of coaches Bruce O’Neil and Rick Pitino.

An avid UH supporter, Goodenow also helped found the UH Basketball Booster Club, and he goes into detail about how that came about. He also tells of a case involving an armed stalker who was harassing a member of the school’s Athletic Department.

”Hawaiian Eye” is an engaging read that provides an insider’s look at the life of one of Hawaii’s preeminent private investigators.

Published by Watermark Publishing, “Hawaiian Eye” is available at major bookstores and online sellers. To order a copy directly from the publisher, click HERE.

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