1932 Japan, anyone?

I just finished Smoke over Tokyo by Matthew Legare. It is the second in a series of books about at Japanese police detective and a geisha who serves as his spy. 1932 wasn’t a very good year for Japan. The author took actual events as a backdrop for this fictional story that includes a yakuza crime family, opium dens, a bunch of assassination attempts, and Charlie Chaplin.

The book contains a lot of what I assume is a fairly accurate representation of Japan at the time. Although I have limited knowledge about the time period, nothing in the book struck me as being obviously wrong. Since I have a great interest in history, I enjoyed that aspect of the book a lot. I was able to learn a lot, but that in no way overshadowed the excellent story.

One thing that struck me was how Legare used many honorifics throughout the book. There are/were many different levels of honorifics and I have always been afraid to think about using them in my writing. I cannot swear that Legare has done it all correctly, but there is nothing to make me believe he hasn’t. This isn’t a point that would mean much to most people, I’m sure, but it was something I really noticed.

Currently, at least, there are only three books in this series. I think I will get the others before long. I really enjoyed this one and am sure I would like the others. I hope you will consider giving it a try yourself!

A very light mystery

I just finished Brutally Kaled by Tracey Quinn. This is the second book in what is currently a 6-book series. It is the first one of them I have read.

The main character, Dani, owns a restaurant, but in her heart she is a detective — or so she thinks at least. Her brother is a cop in town. Her sort-of boyfriend is a fire fighter. Neither of them thinks she is a detective. When a hair salon owner is killed and a friend of hers is arrested, though, Dani can’t help but try to find out who really did it.

The story was OK. It wasn’t a very complex story, but that isn’t necessarily bad. The ending, an Agatha Christie-style reveal with all the prospective bad guys and the cops in the same room, seemed a little unrealistic, but it was fun anyway. It isn’t a great story, and the proofreading left a lot to be desired, but it was fun. That was all I hoped for when I started reading. If that is what you are looking for in a book, you might want to give it a try. I know that I will probably read more of these if I find them on sale.

And the band gets back together

I just finished Sea of Swords by RA Salvatore. This is the 13th Drizzt book. And, as usual, I loved it.

Wulfgar has lost his warhammer. When his friends learn of this, they set out to get it back. Unbeknownst to them, Wulfgar is on a quest to recover it, too. With a little help from a wizard, who encourages Wulfgar to reunite with his old friends, they find the pirates who have the weapon and manage to defeat them and recover Aegis-fang. Wulfgar once again seems to be his old self, made whole in part by reclaiming the warhammer.

By the end of this book, the band is, indeed, back together, but there have been many changes. Little is as it used to be, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Theirs is a friendship that doesn’t depend on what used to be but rather one that is based on a deep love and respect for each other as they are in the moment.

The books ends with the promise of more adventures. I, for one, can’t wait to start on book 14!

Another mystery

I finished Blood Kills by Nanci Rathbun. It is number 4 in the Angelina Bonaparte series. I read the third one, Honor Kills, last month. I enjoyed that one, and I enjoyed this one, too.

Angelina is a middle-aged woman, divorced with two grown children. She is also a PI. She is a good person, a good daughter, a good detective and a good friend. She does, however, get involved in some not-so-good situations that nearly get her killed. This story is no exception.

An acquaintance, an artist, is murdered. She becomes involved indirectly in the investigation and, as always, aggravates her cop boyfriend, worries her doting father, and ends up figuring it all out. Rathbun created an interesting story on top of the interesting characters I met in the previous book. I highly recommend it!.

And now a legal thriller

I just finished Political Justice by Dennis Carstens. It was a good read. Published in 2017, there were elements that reminded me of the state of US politics at that time. Ultimately, of course, it was completely a work of fiction – and a very good one at that!

Tom Carver is going to be President. The plan is that his wife will seek that same office after Carver serves two terms. Spanning a period of two Carver terms, one term for another man and then Darla Carver’s election to the post, I sometimes feared that we would never get the bad guys, but of course they were gotten. It is a little hard to describe the long, drawn out series of events and how they all came together in the end, but rest assured that they did.

I am not usually a fan of books that focus that much on politics – and that was most of the book – and I kept waiting for more legal stuff. There were points when asked myself why this was billed as a Marc Kadella mystery; there were long stretches when he was not even mentioned, much less actively doing anything we could see. Realistically, I don’t see any real alternative to the way Carstens told the story; we needed to see the events as they happened over time, but there were moments when I questioned it.

This is book 7 in the series. I don’t think I have read any of the others — although some of the characters seemed familiar. If I read one, though, I neglected to record it here. I will definitely be reading more of them in the future.