For Immediate Release:
New Crime Noir Explores Life and Times in Tense Wartime Hawaii
Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 2022 – This fall, B&N Press will release the new period crime novel “Hotel Street,” a stark exploration of Honolulu during the tense months following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The novel takes a raw look at the wartime tensions that gripped the city and pivots on the fictional murder of a multi-racial child whose body is found floating in a canal at the edge of the city’s notorious red-light district on Easter Sunday.
“It was a time when thousands of troops poured in on their way to the fighting, and soldiers and sailors flooded Honolulu each day in search of illicit diversions,” says Howard Kim, who spent four years researching and writing the novel.
“Hawaii was a different place then. It was a time of widespread racism, police corruption, food rationing, work permits, blackouts, curfews, and paranoia. And at the center of it all was Honolulu’s Chinatown, which became a mecca for bars, dance halls, tattoo parlors, and prostitutes.
While most books and films focus on the war in the Pacific, “Hotel Street” explores the war’s effects on the thousands of island-based troops and civilians living in Honolulu. “At heart, it’s a sequel to James Jones’ ‘From Here to Eternity,’” says Kim. “It takes up where Jones left off.”
But it’s more than that. There is a forbidden multi-racial love story between one of the protagonists and a beautiful black brothel worker and another between a sheltered young Chinese girl and a streetwise sailor. “Then, of course, you have the bordellos, which flourished openly in Chinatown despite the law,” says Kim, “and the corruption of the vice cops who profited from keeping order in the district.”
Fans of classic noir will find lots to like here, as will lovers of films like “The Big Sleep,” “Chinatown,” and “L.A. Confidential.”
Kim, a former teacher, reporter, and U.S. veteran, has written articles for the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other media organizations. His first novel “Paradiseland” was a frank look at the everyday crimes that routinely occur behind closed doors at many struggling public schools.