A Japanese American nurse's aide navigates the dangers of post-WWII and post-Manzanar life as she attempts to find justice for a broken family in this follow-up to the Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning Clark and Division.
It’s been two years since Aki Ito and her family were released from Manzanar detention center and resettled in Chicago with other Japanese Americans. Now the Itos have finally been allowed to return home to California—but nothing is as they left it. The entire Japanese American community is starting from scratch, with thousands of people living in dismal refugee camps while they struggle to find new houses and jobs in over-crowded Los Angeles.
Aki is working as a nurse’s aide at the Japanese Hospital in Boyle Heights when an elderly Issei man is admitted with suspicious injuries. When she seeks out his son, she is shocked to recognize her husband’s best friend, Babe Watanabe. Could Babe be guilty of elder abuse?
Only a few days later, Little Tokyo is rocked by a murder at the low-income hotel where the Watanabes have been staying. When the cops start sniffing around Aki’s home, she begins to worry that the violence tearing through her community might threaten her family. What secrets have the Watanabes been hiding, and can Aki protect her husband from getting tangled up in a murder investigation?
About the Author
Naomi Hirahara is the Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author of Clark and Division, and the Edgar Award–winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, including Summer of the Big Bachi, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and one of the Chicago Tribune's Ten Best Mysteries and Thrillers; Gasa Gasa Girl; Snakeskin Shamisen; and Hiroshima Boy. She is also the author of the LA-based Ellie Rush mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, she has co-written non-fiction books like Life after Manzanar and the award-winning Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor.
The Stanford University alumna was born and raised in Altadena, CA; she now resides in the adjacent town of Pasadena, CA.
Praise for Evergreen
An Amazon Best of the Month - Mystery/Thriller CrimeReads Best Historical Fiction of 2023 (So Far) CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of Summer 2023
“Absorbing... Like Walter Mosley in his great Easy Rawlins books, Hirahara shows us a corrupt LA whose most endemic corruptions come steeped in racism. But — and this too recalls Mosley — she doesn't wallow in the self-indulgent cosmic nihilism that defines too much noir.” —John Powers, NPR's Fresh Air
“Hirahara humanizes the struggles of Japanese Americans rebuilding their lives from scratch. Her evocation of Little Tokyo haunts will bring a flood of memories for some Angelenos while introducing a new generation of readers to a pivotal period in L.A. history.” —Paula Woods, The Los Angeles Times
“Hirahara’s affinity for sculpting real characters and placing them in historical context while creating palpable suspense shines in Evergreen.” —South Florida Sun Sentinel
“I have long been a fan of Naomi Hirahara’s writing, but Evergreen may be my favorite of her novels. The mystery is set against the backdrop of Japanese Americans returning to their homes in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo after World War II as they try to rebuild their lives after either having been unfairly held in detention camps or fighting with the 'Go for Broke' battalion, with everyone dealing with different types of discrimination, fear, and trauma. The historical details are accurate, heartrending, and eye-opening.” —Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women
“Hirahara’s Clark and Division was one of the more accomplished crime novels in recent memory, and this year she’s following it up with Evergreen... [The novel] dives into the shadows of Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo to tell a story about one of the darker chapters of American history. With these books focused on the Japanese-American experience of post-WWII America, Hirahara has found a pivotal subject and brought her immense talents to bear.” —Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads
“Excellent.” —Sarah Weinman, Alta Journal
"Intriguing and provocative . . . Hirahara cleverly weaves together a riveting mystery with historical details of postwar Little Tokyo, touching on issues of race, postwar trauma and the rebuilding of community. Her extensive research as a non-fiction writer offers a solid base for her insightful reimagining of postwar resettlement." —Nichi Bei
“Evergreen is an ideal selection for book club groups wishing to learn more about the Japanese American experience during and after WWII. Fans of other great storytellers like Sujata Massey, Julie Otsuka, and Jamie Ford will enjoy this latest novel from Naomi Hirahara.” —BookTrib
“Brilliant . . . A sharply plotted mystery and a historically rich story.” —Historical Novel Society
“Highly recommend.” —Dear White Women
“Evergreen is a wonderful example of historical crime fiction. It is a crime story that reflects the social injustice that happened to Japanese Americans.” —Crime Fiction Lover
“Hirahara expertly folds this crime story into her insightful and fully realized portrait of postwar America and the struggles of Japanese Americans to come to terms with the American society that had imprisoned them during the war... A thought-provoking noir with a searing period flavor.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Once again, Hirahara illuminates the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II by embodying them in the lives of the Ito family. The author weaves a compelling tale, which is all the more poignant as it reminds readers of the shameful treatment of Japanese Americans, along with the racial prejudice still at work. A must-read.” —Library Journal, Starred Review
“Hirahara provides a visceral account of the hardships facing Japanese Americans during and just after WWII, and her lucid prose elevates this above standard mystery fare. It’s a memorable outing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Hirahara, who has a background in journalism, sets the stage for suspense with a carefully researched social history of Japanese Americans after WWII.” —Booklist
Praise for Clark and Division Winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award Winner of The Lefty Award for Best Historical Novel A New York Times Best Mystery Novel of the Year A Parade Magazine 101 Best Mystery Books of All Time A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice A Washington Post Best Mystery and Thriller of the Year
“Searing . . . This is as much a crime novel as it is a family and societal tragedy, filtering one of the cruelest examples of American prejudice through the prism of one young woman determined to assert her independence, whatever the cost.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Naomi Hirahara was destined to write Clark and Division . . . The vibrant characters, the history and the aura of determined optimism that permeate the novel make it feel like the beginning of a saga not unlike Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs mysteries.” —Los Angeles Times
“A rich and vibrant portrayal of Nisei life.” —Los Angeles Review of Books