The story is set in Hawaii just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. A policeman—our hero—stumbles into a gunfight at a ghastly crime scene. He barely makes it out alive. The victims, naturally, have a powerful benefactor. The criminals, it turns out, are spies. Off our man goes to the Far East to track down a killer. The war interrupts his search for justice and he spends the bulk of it as a prisoner of the Japanese. His adventure resumes when the war ends and a gripping finish ensues.
We meet Joe McGrady at a bar over a glass of bourbon and we find out straight away that’s he’s cool and tough. He’s the classic American hard-boiled detective but his experience in the novel is unusual in its scope and suffering. It’s a unique plot and a different kind of war story. The writing made me think of John Toland, especially his novel Gods of War.
Five Decembers gets five stars. I know you need a new book to read so buy this one!