Book Review: “Hunters Point: A Novel of San Francisco” by Peter Kageyama

Hunters Point: A Novel of San Francisco by Peter Kageyama

I was provided a copy of this book by the author’s representative, however, have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own

Conspiracy, Lies and Cover-up in 1950s San Francisco

Katsuhiro (Kats) Takemoto is a second-generation Japanese American currently living in San Francisco. Despite the unjustified hardships his family endured at the hands of his adopted country during World War II, Kats persevered and became a decorated military veteran. Now discharged, he has returned to his beloved San Francisco and makes a living as a private detective. After accepting a case in Bayview Heights, Kats meets the Vellos, a family of shipbuilders who own and operate most of the dock area around the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The family advises Kats that a few months ago they were approached by a person offering to buy out their business and their land. After refusal, the family noticed strange “incidents” starting to occur not only on their property, but also that of the surrounding property owners. With most of the other owners giving in and selling out the Vellos appear to be the final holdout, but with the tactics escalating to violence Kats and the Vellos feel that there is more to the story than just an eager real estate mogul. Armed with his wits and assisted by his best friend Kats begins to investigate, but what he uncovers at the Hunters Point Naval Facility goes far beyond the scope of just boat repairs. The more Kats and his friends discover, the more they realize that the secrets hidden inside the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and its surrounding waters are a ticking time bomb that could very well cause a scandal of a global scale. With San Francisco as the potential “ground zero” the PI will need to call in some impressive contacts to bring this case to a close before any more damage is done.

While this is not author Peter Kageyama’s first book, Hunters Point: A Novel of San Francisco is his fictional debut. Set in San Francisco in the late 1950s Kageyama transports the reader back to a time where America was attempting to recover from the scars of World War II. While the city is starting to resemble its current modern-day self regarding acceptance and diversity, there is still a lingering “anti” sentiment that at times was jarring and shocking to read. With basing his main character on his father’s experiences during this time, Kageyama has managed to weave a tale that is not only entertaining, but also has a personal feel. And the fact that Hunters Point includes several historical reference was such a thrill for me. I absolutely love books that are not only entertaining, but also informational and I soon found myself taking side trips to the internet to research more about certain personalities, locations or events that were mentioned during the course of the story.

Written in a noir style that I feel really fit the characters and the story the mood was set from the very beginning. At one point I even joked to my husband that I was “reading in black and white” as it was easy for me to imagine the characters, mannerisms and styles as that of an an old black and white movie. For me, everything worked together to make Hunters Point an engaging read. From the cameo appearances of various influential poets and personalities of the Beat Generation to a minor supporting role by the legendary silver screen actor Jimmy Stewart, Kageyama elevated Hunters Point from a mere “novel” to a masterfully written immersive historical noir that will captivate any reader.  After much enjoying Hunters Point, I am hoping that this is the start of a larger series based on these core characters.

If you are a fan of the Noir genre, like quirky characters with an almost “McGuyverish” type of ingenuity, and stories that are hard to put down Hunters Point: A Novel of San Francisco will not disappoint and will have you waiting for more.

One thought on “Book Review: “Hunters Point: A Novel of San Francisco” by Peter Kageyama

  1. Totally agree with you! From start to finish, Hunters Point was engaging and thrilling. The way Peter Kageyama weaved in historical elements of that decade both in location and in the character of Kats Takemoto interacting with James Stewart and Jack Keroauc, with his own personal Japanese American background, made for an authentic immersive experience. Kageyama’s transition from non-fiction to fiction was seamless and allows the reader to visualize the story on the big screen. I look forward to reading the next adventure of Kats and Molly!

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