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James Kestrel Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Redheads (As:Jonathan Moore) (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Close Reach (As:Jonathan Moore) (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Poison Artist (As:Jonathan Moore) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dark Room (As:Jonathan Moore) (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Night Market (As:Jonathan Moore) (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Relations (As:Jonathan Moore) (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Five Decembers (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Kestrel

It’s exciting when an author’s book is praised by the likes of James Patterson, Lee Child, Meg Gardiner, Stephen King and numerous others. The excitement it builds is palpable.

“Five Decembers” by James Kestrel had the mystery crime world ready to receive it the moment it dropped. “Five Decembers” was an immediate finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker Awards as well as the Hammett Prize.

It’s December 1941 in Honolulu, Hawaii and America is being strongly urged by other world leaders to join the war in Europe but FDR is holding back. The country is recovering from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl tragedies. He wants to keep looking inward, allowing his country to gain its strength back. Getting involved in others’ problems at this time will not accomplish this.

At the same time in Hawaii Joe McGrady is a police detective in Honolulu, with an assignment that turns out to be one that will affect his life in a way he never anticipated. It will change him forever.

McGrady is assigned to investigate a brutal homicide on a dairy farm across Oahu island. He’s working alone on a long Thanksgiving weekend and it’s his first homicide. Although McGrady has lived on the island since his military service five years ago, his police captain makes it clear he’s still a newcomer and hasn’t earned his trust.

Following the leads, Joe is prompted to travel across the Pacific, away from his beautiful lover, and into unanticipated complications. As he’s heading to Japan, the Japanese military is at full-steam to Hawaii for a collision with history.

The story of “Five Decembers” spans the entirety of WWII. Mr. Kestrel is able to reel us into the gritty feel of 1940’s Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Honolulu based on his own real-world living experiences in the Orient.

The hand-drawn cover by artist Claudia Caranfa of “Five Decembers” gives an immediate “noir fiction” vibe. The sexy woman sitting on the bed, wrapped in a sheet while her lover, holding a hand gun, is looking out the window, gazing at bombers flying through fire-red nighttime sky gives a definite noir character. The fonts and cover art further draws you into the nostalgia of the vibe, placing you in the 1940’s.

Excerpts from “Five Decembers” by Mr. Kestrel: “Part 1, Chapter 1, Honolulu, 1941: Joe McGrady was looking at a whiskey. It was so new the ice hadn’t begun to melt, even in this heat. A cacophony surrounded him. Sailors were ordering beers ten at a go, reaching past each other to light the girls’ cigarettes. Someone dropped a nickel in the Wurlitzer, and then there was Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra.” “…he picked up his drink, and sniffed it. Forty-five cents per liquid ounce. Worth every penny, even if a three-finger pour took more than an hour to earn. Before he had a taste of it, the barman was back. Shaved head, swollen eyes. Straight razor scars on both his cheeks. A face that made you want to hurry up and drink. But McGrady set his glass down.”

“He walked. It wasn’t steady. One of his pupils was twice the size of the other. His gait was uneven and he pulled to the right. Turn him loose in an empty field, and he might wander in circles. McGrady had to nudge his shoulder every ten paces to keep him going straight. He wasn’t about to take his arm. They went back across the quad and up the morgue steps.”

“Five Decembers” has been favorably compared to “All the Light We Cannot See”. (by Anthony Doerr)

After majoring in creative writing in college he traveled to Taiwan to teach English. Living there for four years, he became fluent in the Chinese language. He attended law school after his return to the states. Graduating, he set up his law practice in Hawaii. He lives in Volcano, Hawaii and practices throughout the Pacific.

Mr. Kester is a pseudonym for Jonathan Moore. Mr. Moore has previously published six novels which have been translated into twelve languages. The series of six novels are described as horror and thriller and have won awards- Edgar Award, Hammett Prize, BBC Radio 2 Book Club, and one was optioned as an Amazon feature film.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Kestrel

3 Responses to “James Kestrel”

  1. Jane: 3 months ago

    Read Five Decembers, and would LOVE to get a paperback of “Close Reach”. My brother sails, and I see the author is a white water rafter guide and one of our kids also works for a company and rows the baggage rafts for them down thru the Grand Canyon every summer.

    But I cannot find this book in a format that my brother and we can use and pass around thru the family. Any ideas?
    Thank you,

  2. David: 1 year ago

    I was blown away by 5 Decembers. Incredibly believable. The narrative was second to none. A crime thriller that has reset the bar for others who attempt to write noir. I am searching now for any other books that might possibly come close to this level of crime fiction.

  3. Jim brady: 1 year ago

    I just finished “Five Decembers”, a “page turner throughout all 400+ pages.
    ?? / many years ago I was a big fan of an author of political ( U.S. Senate) intrigue but I can’t remember his name. If you know who this was and of an other author of similar stories I would appreciate receiving that information. Thank you, Jim


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