Few novelists possess Martin Cruz Smith’s talents in transporting a reader to a different era and actually making them believe they too are living in that time frame every time they open the book, Smith’s research for December 6 is every bit as thorough and imaginative as that of his Gorky Park and Polar Star. Harry Niles is an American raised in the militaristic and racist Japan of the 1930s. A nightclub owner and seemingly amoral loner, Niles finds himself caught between Japanese police and naval intelligence, a homicidal army officer seeking revenge, and the two women in his life. Intent upon escaping Japan before she launches her surprise attacks on Western Pacific bases, Niles attempts to inform Westerners of the impending Pearl Harbor strike while simultaneously helping others escape Japan before the shooting starts. The description of Tokyo daily life and the author’s quite impressive understanding of Japanese thinking are nicely played out against a tale of intrigue and passion.