Call this a sneak attack, coming on the eve of the date that will live in infamy.
I just had to write down today’s date for some reason, and it got me to thinking about Martin Cruz Smith. Well, specifically, one of his less-known novels, December 6. You ever read it? Here’s a synopsis from Wikipedia:
In late 1941, Harry Niles owns a bar for American and European expatriates, journalists, and diplomats, in Tokyo’s entertainment district, called the “Happy Paris”. With only 24 hours until Japanese fighters and bombers attack Pearl Harbor, Niles has to consult with the local US ambassador, break up with a desperate lover, evade the police, escape the vengeance of an aggrieved samurai officer and leave the island, the exit points from which are all closed. Having grown up in Tokyo, Niles is fluent in the Japanese language and culture, and is highly streetwise.
In other words, he’s streetwise for a gaijin, which is a word that comes up frequently in the book as Japanese folk interact with him. But it’s been awhile since I read it. I’ve never reread it as often as I have Rose and some of his Arkady Renko stories, especially Red Square. Although the one that pulled me and so many others toward his work was his amazingly brilliant first Renko story, Gorky Park.
So — are any of y’all fans? I’d like to have a discussion about his stuff sometime. The dude can tell a story. His characters are a bit repetitive — it’s like the same people crop up in both 1870s Lancashire and 1980s Russia — but he makes it work. It’s actually kind of fun to see a familiar character, just with a different name, show up in an entirely different situation…