FIVE DECEMBERS
James Kestrel
October 2021
ISBN: 978-1-78909-611-8
Cover art by Claudia Caranfa

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"A crime epic for the ages."
DENNIS LEHANE

"Utterly enthralling. Wildly ambitious and deeply haunting,
FIVE DECEMBERS drops you in the middle of a dark noir dream
full of heat, loss and memory. Not to be missed."
MEGAN ABBOTT

"Magnificent...a work of panoramic historical fiction [that’s] also a
transcendent love story and a gripping thriller...All [the] plot strands
come together exquisitely in a truly breathtaking finale that is
unbearably violent one moment and tearfully tender the next.
Give this special novel the word of mouth it so richly deserves."
BOOKLIST, starred review

"This tale of love, courage, hardship, and devotion is unforgettable."
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

"Hardboiled fiction at its best: an exceptional tale, filled with emotion."
LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

"Epic...razor sharp."
KIRKUS REVIEWS

"FIVE DECEMBERS is really excellent. A first-rate book."
JAMES FALLOWS

"The best book I’ve read this year and one of the best I’ve read in a long time...I give it my highest recommendation."
JAMES REASONER

"James Kestrel evokes the Hawaii, the Hong Kong and the Tokyo of the 1940s with an urgency, a vividness—a passion—few of us can have met before. Read this book for its palpitating story, its perfect emotional and physical detailing and, most of all, for its unforgettable conjuring of a steamy quicksilver world that will be new to almost every reader."
PICO IYER

"[A] gripping, resonant neo-noir odyssey."
NEW YORK MAGAZINE

"I doubt I’ll read a more satisfying novel this year."
MORNING STAR (UK)


December 1941. America teeters on the brink of war, and in Honolulu, Hawaii, police detective Joe McGrady is assigned to investigate a homicide that will change his life forever. Because the trail of murder he uncovers will lead him across the Pacific, far from home and the woman he loves; and though the U.S. doesn’t know it yet, a Japanese fleet is already steaming toward Pearl Harbor.

This extraordinary novel is so much more than just a gripping crime story—it’s a story of survival against all odds, of love and loss and the human cost of war. Spanning the entirety of World War II, FIVE DECEMBERS is a beautiful, masterful, powerful novel that will live in your memory forever.

  • First publication anywhere!
  • Author has previously won praise from Stephen King, James Patterson, Lee Child, Meg Gardiner, Justin Cronin, and many more
  • Author has been a finalist for the Edgar, Stoker, and Dashiell Hammett Awards

More Praise for the author of FIVE DECEMBERS...

"A deliciously dark tale...gripping."
Washington Post

"Utterly compelling...a stunning story."
Daily Mail

"Sophisticated, engrossing entertainment."
Sunday Times

"Crisp, vivid writing—not a word is wasted...as satisfying as it is deeply unsettling...Highly recommended."
The Guardian