Excerpt from December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

December 6

by Martin Cruz Smith

December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2002, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2003, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Harry turned away to deal with Willie and DeGeorge. Al DeGeorge was the correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor and as stir-crazy as a zoo bear. Willie Staub was a young German businessman headed home from China via Japan and looked like an innocent among thieves.

DeGeorge was saying, "Harry runs a pool on when war will start between America and Japan, Tokyo time. Say there's even military action. The Philippines are on our side of the dateline, Hawaii's a day behind, doesn't matter, has to be Tokyo time. There's got to be at least ten thousand yen in there now. Of course, the house -- that's Harry -- takes five percent. Harry would take five percent on the apocalypse. Today's the fifth. Hell, Willie, you've still got most of December. I got Christmas Day."

"You're a sentimentalist," said Harry.

"The only problem," DeGeorge said, "is that if we're still here when the war begins, we're fucked. No way out." He directed a baleful gaze at Harry. "Rumor is, they're going to get Nippon Air flying again. Put on a show with champagne, cute air hostesses and photographers, and fly some foreign bigwigs to Hong Kong as if everything is absolutely normal. My question is, who gets on that plane?" He turned to Willie. "The embassy sent special-delivery letters telling all Americans to leave. But no, we waited to see what Harry would do. We figured the boat Harry takes, that's the last boat out. Now all the boats are gone and we're down to a single plane."

"I don't know anything about this," Willie said. "I just got here."

"The Nazis must have told you to stay away from Harry."

"I am a Nazi."

"Willie thinks he's a Nazi," Harry told DeGeorge. "Anyway, don't you have a job to do? Didn't you tell me that the first man who calls the war can pick up a Pulitzer?"

"There's no point in staying if I can't do my job. No one will be interviewed by an American. I can't even get them on the telephone because the Japs say all calls have to be in Japanese. Who speaks Japanese?"

Willie told Harry, "My embassy said you were engaged in sharp practices and I should stay away from you."

"Good advice," said Harry.

"But they don't want me, either. I told them about my China report."

"What report?" DeGeorge asked.

Harry said, "Willie was factory manager for Deutsche-Fon in China. He saw a lot."

DeGeorge lowered his voice. "Jap atrocities? Rape of Nanking?"

"Exactly," Willie said.

"Old news."

"Not in Berlin. Germans should know these things."

"It was just one of those things..." Michiko hugged herself as if holding someone tight, her face conveying a private reverie that men in the Happy Paris yearned to join. The noise level was high because the Japanese loved to drink and got drunk fast and flirted with the waitresses even as they craved Michiko. Kimi batted her eyes at Willie, who had the golden looks of Gary Cooper and displayed a wounded Cooperish look when people disappointed him.

"I don't think the German people are interested in atrocities," Harry said. "There's been a lot going on there that you haven't heard about in the hinterlands of Asia."

"But Germany is winning the war."

"Maybe. You should probably keep your nose clean and stay away from me."

"You're the only person I know in Tokyo. Also I had to show you something." Willie pulled a folded newspaper from his jacket, but Harry was distracted by a customer who grabbed Haruko and planted her on his lap while she squirmed like a satin worm. This wasn't a rare occurrence; she had many admirers.

Harry joined them. "Haruko, go wait on tables. Matsu, let her go."

"He's just playful," Haruko said.

Copyright © 2002 by Titanic Productions

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Lincoln in the Bardo
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders
    George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo is a philosophy discourse brilliantly disguised as a ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tender
    by Belinda McKeon
    Most of us have heard the slightly trite saying: "If you love something, set it free." But one can ...
  • Book Jacket
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Fifth Petal
    by Brunonia Barry

    Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport

    A masterful retelling of the Russian Revolution from the author of The Romanov Sisters.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

All my major works have been written in prison...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.