Five Decembers

Five Decembers



The Pequod Review:

Five Decembers is a historical crime novel that begins in late November 1941 — a couple weeks before Pearl Harbor — when Honolulu police detective Joe McGrady discovers a double homicide involving a young Army solider and a Japanese girl. His investigation leads him first to connections with senior U.S. military officers and eventually takes him to Hong Kong in pursuit of a suspect. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, he finds himself stranded (for multiple Decembers), and at this point the story shifts gears and becomes not just a police procedural but a wartime romance. While these sections have some cliched plot elements, the book nonetheless has superb characters and a strong sense of place in 1940s Oahu. Kestrel has some good hard-boiled lines too:

McGrady had one of those faces. Everything squared off and somehow unfinished, as though his sculptor had snapped a chisel on unexpectedly hard stone.

Five Decembers is a bit of a combination of Raymond Chandler and George Pelecanos, and if you like either of those authors you'll probably like this book too.