Kats Takemoto, the nisei private detective from Hunters Point, returns to investigate the murder of a young Chinese girl, killed in a covert CIA brothel in the heart of San Francisco. Her family, members of a Tong, a powerful Chinatown gang, demand vengeance that threatens to start an all-out war in Chinatown unless Kats can discover the truth behind the slaying. Along the way he will discover a personal connection to the suspected killer, a fellow veteran who was tortured and experimented on, turning him into a lethal weapon and a ticking bomb. Kats and his friends race to find this soldier before the government and the rival Tong gangs spiral into more bloodshed.

The provocative title comes from an actual CIA operation of the same name. Operation Midnight Climax was a subset of the better known MK Ultra project that used psychedelic drugs as a form of mind control. Midnight Climax involved two CIA run brothels, one in New York City and the other in San Francisco, from the mid 1950’s into the 1960’s that used prostitutes to lure unsuspecting ‘clients’ in and then dosed them with psychedelic drugs to study their effects. I first learned about this strange tidbit of San Francisco history from a column my friend, Gary Kamiya, wrote several years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle. When I first read it, I thought oh my god, there is a story here! You can find Gary’s original piece here.