A Crime Noir by Howard Kim
In the weeks following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, police discover the body of a two-month-old girl at the edge of Honolulu’s notorious red-light district. The discovery sets off an island-wide investigation as two of the vice cops assigned to the case find themselves embroiled in a web of racial, moral, and political controversy sparked by the revelation that the dead infant was half-white and half-Asian.
Set amidst the wartime tensions of a city gripped in the throes of military rule, Hotel Street takes the reader on an eye-opening tour of a Honolulu long since gone but not entirely vanished, a time when thousands of troops poured in daily on their way to war in the Pacific and soldiers and sailors flooded the city’s streets in search of reckless diversions. It was a time of widespread racism, police corruption, and moral hypocrisy, an era when food rationing, work permits, blackouts, and curfews were a constant and Honolulu’s Chinatown became the luckless mecca of lurid bars, dance halls, tattoo parlors, and legalized prostitution.
When the child’s murderers are finally revealed, they’re the ones who were least suspected but most likely to gain from the killing.