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HUNTERS POINT - Peter Kageyama
A Novel of San Francisco
St. Petersburg Press
ISBN: 978-1-940300-4 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-940300-64-1 (eBook)
January 2023
Fiction

San Francisco, California - 1957

Katsuhiro Takemoto returned a hero from the war in Europe. After his family, and thousands of Japanese Americans were forced into camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kats eventually joined the U.S. Army, and was sent to the European Front with a battalion of fellow Japanese-Americans. Now he is back in his home town where he works independently as a private investigator. His parents moved back to Japan after the war ended, but Kats, being a Nisei, a second generation Japanese-American, had little to no reason to go with them. At the moment he is working for a Hollywood motion picture company as a consultant to help actor Jimmy Stewart know the lingo and style of a private eye. It's not exactly what Kats is accustomed to doing, but it's a paycheck. He and Stewart become friends before the shoot is over.

Kats' friend, Shigeyoshi Murao, Shig, who works at the City Lights Bookstore, introduces him to a fellow poet, Anton Vello who wants Kats to do some investigating for him. Anton's father owns a ship building business in Bayview Heights, an area along the bay next to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Recently Anton's father was diagnosed with cancer, and he has been approached by someone who wants to buy the shipyard. The land surrounding it at Bayview Heights has been slowly being bought up by unknown sources, and apparently they want the entire area. The problem is that lately there have been incidents of threats, as well as break-ins in the community, and Anton would like to find out who is behind it all. Kats agrees to take on the job.

Kats initial research discovers that a company owned by H. W. Charles and calling itself by a fictitious name is the initial contact trying to purchase the Vello land. When he visits Charles Construction he meets the owner's secretary, a very pretty woman named Molly Hayes, who eventually discovers who he is, and why he's investigating the company. But there seems to be more to this land grab than meets the eye. Molly tells Kats about the men who have been meeting with Harry Charles, and how odd the situation is.

The more Kats delves into the mystery of who wants the land, and why they want it, the more confusing things get. Lately, the announcement is made that the New York Giants are moving to San Francisco, and that a stadium will be built for the team. But why would they want Bayview Heights? And just what does the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard have to do with any of this? When the Vello brothers are openly threatened after the death of their father, Kats uses his stealth skills to get some facts.

HUNTERS POINT is a hair-raising novel of government cover-ups, as well as the dangerous west coast organized crime groups that will stop at nothing to get what they want. What is the Navy hiding at their base? Can Kats, with Molly and Shig's help, get to the bottom of these growing mysteries? Readers will be introduced to the new "beat" generation in the city, as well as several famous people. Based on historical fact, HUNTERS POINT is a real page-turner. And an exciting first novel for this author. 

As an aside, the main reason I wanted to read this book is that my late mother worked as a civilian employee at Hunters Point during the war. And I grew up just up the peninsula from the base, and the baseball park that would eventually be built nearby - Candlestick Park. But even I was surprised by the real history of Bayview Heights and the base. 

Jani Brooks

 
 
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