The Moving Blade: A Tokyo Mystery
by Michael Pronko
Raked Gravel Press

"When Jamie Mattson saw her father for the first time since she was thirteen, he lay in the casket in the Shida Funeral Hall and Crematorium."

Jamie Mattson’s reunion with her father in Tokyo isn’t what she expected. Just one week before she is to leave for a visit with Bernard Mattson, she receives word that her father has died. Now, in Tokyo, she learns he was murdered. Left to deal with the police inspectors, the U.S. Embassy, and, most daunting of all, the work her father left behind, Jamie is determined to discover why her father was killed. When detective Hiroshi Shimizu becomes involved with the case, he offers Jamie his personal help. Soon after they begin to uncover Mattson’s work, it becomes apparent that it holds the key to his murder, and they are also in danger. But Jamie is compelled to find the answers hidden in her father’s work and continues to search for the truth. With her every move being monitored and Hiroshi’s time divided between Jamie and work, she wonders how to keep herself and her father’s work safe from forces determined to suppress it at all costs. And she realizes another concern: Whom can she trust?

Ripe with surprising plot twists that take the reader into the deep underbelly of Tokyo, Pronko’s mystery/thriller offers an intriguing story of murder, mystery, and maleficence. The author writes with the intimacy of one who knows the town and its culture, including delightfully descriptive passages of the city and its people. This is hardly surprising, as this native of Kansas City has lived for twenty years in Japan's capital city. In this thriller, Pronko offers an interesting glimpse into Japanese culture including a funeral ritual and the protagonist’s visit to a back-alley restaurant. Those who enjoy learning about a city and its culture while enjoying a nail-biting story will find much to like in this second book in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi novels. Pronko’s fast-paced murder mystery is one that will keep readers turning the pages late into the night.

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