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Greed Trickles Down

Michael Pronko Author Interview

Azabu Getaway follows a detective in Japan who investigates a murder and kidnapping. This case takes the detective into a dark world of greed, and he must find the girls before more violence occurs. What was the inspiration for the mystery in your story?

I was reading all these articles about how wealthy businesses and individuals were moving their money overseas to avoid taxes, and it really irritated me. Most people stumble around, complain, and pay their taxes, but some feel the need to avoid paying any tax at all. They really got away with it, so it all seemed so simple and so unfair. I wanted to look at how that system affects ordinary people, and what it means. I don’t believe in any economic trickle-down theories, but I’m sure that greed trickles down. I also wanted to look at how non-Japanese live in Tokyo, and how they integrate into life or fail to. That’s a topic close to home for me. So, all of that mixed together into this mystery about marriage and crime.

With five books (so far) for Detective Hiroshi, he has faced a number of unique and creative adversaries. Where do you get your inspiration for the villains in your novels?

I’d like to say the inspiration is outside of me, but I think all of us have some degree of villainy lurking inside of us. One of the problems of the media is they don’t go into the motivations of criminals, so that’s why novels are so important, to give us a more rounded and complex view of why crime happens. I don’t think it’s about taking a crime and putting that into a character. It goes both ways. Usually, I start by wondering what kind of person would do these terrible things and then think about why. In that sense, Detective Hiroshi is not fighting crime but fighting individuals. The adversaries are very good at what they do, even though they do horrible things. So, I imagine how that kind of person would think or act, and then I ratchet it up a level or two.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I often rewrite while I’m commuting. I try to find a not-too-scrunched space on the train or at least with enough room to move my right hand, which isn’t easy on Tokyo trains. And then I pull out a pen and work over a few printed pages. Fairly old school, but the paper printout seems to give space to the words and makes them special. Writing on the train helps me see the flow of words differently. I have to finish the chapter before the last stop. When I get home, or to my office, I type the changes in and print them out for the next commute. It seems to help me focus.

Will you be continuing the Detective Hiroshi series, or do you have any new series planned? 

I have several more in the series outlined, so I’ll finish those. There is a new detective, Ishii, and Hiroshi will have some changes in his home life. I do have another new series planned, one written in the first person, and also set in Tokyo, but it’s still in the planning stages. I’ll probably work on two historical standalone mysteries I’ve been researching before I start that new series, though. I’ll squeeze in another collection of non-fiction essays about Tokyo life, too. Lots more to write!

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Money isn’t the only thing. It’s the deadly thing.

After the murder of a high-flying executive in one of Tokyo’s wealth management firms, Detective Hiroshi finds himself investigating the financial schemes that secure the money of Tokyo’s elite investors. His forensic accounting gets sidetracked, though, by a second murder and the abduction of two girls from the home of a hotshot wealth manager.

The abducted girls are the daughters of an international couple who seemed to have it all—a large apartment in the high-end Azabu district, top schools for the children, and a life of happy affluence. Their life falls apart and they are swept up in threats and pursuits for reasons they cannot fathom.

Tracking the money and tracking the two daughters leads Hiroshi into Tokyo’s murky financial past and outside Japan’s borders as he discovers how overseas investments and tax shelters are really managed.

Hiroshi works with Sakaguchi and Takamatsu and others on the homicide team, including an assertive new detective, as they confront greed and violence in one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Azabu Getaway is the fifth novel in the award-winning Detective Hiroshi series.

“A series that’s only getting better.” Kirkus Reviews

“If there’s a better crime series set in Japan, I’ve not yet read it.” Crime Thriller Hound.

“Hiroshi is one of the most distinctive and intrepid detectives in contemporary crime fiction.” Best Thrillers.

“Fans of quality police procedurals will welcome more of Hiroshi.” Publishers Weekly

Azabu Getaway

Ripped away from the typical cases he could solve from the safety of his computers, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is forced into a case with layers of secrets and dark histories. Along with fellow detectives Takamatsu and Ishii, they hurry to track down Patrick Walsh, who broke into his soon-to-be ex-wife’s home and whisked away their two daughters. But the plot thickens when Joseph Leung, CEO of the Nine Dragons, is found murdered in his office. Our brave group of detectives must solve the mystery of his murder and the abduction and how they are connected. But can they solve this complicated mystery before it’s too late?

Azabu Getaway by Michael Pronko is a murder mystery that takes place from different perspectives of the characters. We mainly follow Hiroshi Shimizu and Patrick Walsh and their different journeys in this captivating plot. I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters, Detective Hiroshi is an enjoyable reluctant hero, and Patrick is a caring father you can’t help rooting for. However, it is worth noting that the other detectives, Takamatsu and Ishii, won my heart completely. Takamatsu is a character I grew fond of because of his laid-back, sometimes snarky attitude and humor, which complemented rookie Detective Ishii’s easy-going attitude, and her tenacity and intelligence. Truly, all the characters were interesting and played a role in this adrenaline-inducing story.

This was an incredible story that kept me interested in every new development. The only critique I would give is that the ending seemed rushed, but that would be the only thing I would fix. Everything else was great, with excellent grammar, world-building, and intriguing characters you grow fond of. I think it’s a great story if you’re seeking a murder mystery to keep you interested.

Azabu Getaway (Detective Hiroshi Series Book 5) is a fast-paced, thrilling crime novel that gives readers an excellent mystery to follow and memorable characters they will want to get to know more about. Readers will enjoy the adventure they are taken on in Japan as the hunt for a killer takes the detective team into a world of wealth, greed, and violence.

Pages: 324 | ASIN : B0B4FMYGC4

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