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That Extra Edge

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Sentinels of the Night is an action-packed novel that follows tracker Cat Morgan who uses forces beyond her understanding to find murder victims. What was the inspiration behind this story and how did you turn that into a novel?

I’ve always been intrigued with characters who have an extra edge, that ability to overcome adversity and danger. Add to that my infatuation with Native American myths and legends and Scottish and Irish folklore, and you have the backdrop for my characters.

In Sentinels of the Night, I created an elite FBI unit—Trackers. Each has a secret, that extra edge that defies reason and logic. Tracker Cat Morgan’s paranormal element was pulled from a Native American myth.

As for the plot, I have twenty-seven years of law enforcement experience. I served in patrol, undercover narcotics, advanced accident investigation and the SWAT team. I was a unit sniper. Several incidents in the book were based on those experiences. Early in my career, I crossed paths with a serial killer who was convicted on eleven counts of homicide. I have never forgotten the dead look in his eyes. That memory was the basis for the serial killer.

Cat Morgan is a mysterious and alluring character. What were some of the trials that you felt were important to highlight the character’s development?

The character had to deal with issues she couldn’t ignore. While her extraordinary gift added to her investigative ability, it made her different and there was the ever-present fear of rejection if her fellow agents found out.

I enjoyed the tension that builds between Cat and Kevin. Was their relationship something that was mapped out or did it grow organically?

It developed as I began to add depth to the characters. Kevin questioning his sanity as the plot progressed added another dimension of trust.

What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?

I published the second of the Tracker novels, Going Gone! about two months ago, and a third is on the way. I hope to have it completed by the end of the year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Sentinels of the Night: A Trackers Novel by [Dickason, Anita]FBI Tracker Cat Morgan has an unusual talent, one she has successfully concealed, even from her fellow agents. That is–until she finds a body with a strange symbol carved on the forehead during a stop in Clinton, Mississippi and crosses paths with the town’s rugged police chief, Kevin Hunter.

Despite his instant attraction to the sexy agent, Kevin is suspicious of her presence at the crime scene and isn’t buying her dubious explanations. He wants her out of the investigation and out of his town.

The discovery of another mutilated body with the same symbol sends Cat back to Clinton, and this time she isn’t leaving. To stop the killer, Cat must find a way to overcome Kevin’s distrust and will face an impossible impasse–truth or lies.

But will either one matter, when the killer fixates on her for his next sacrifice?

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Shadow of the Moon: A Fantasy of Love, Murder and Werewolves

The grisly murder of a diplomat’s son in Central Park draw NYPD Detective Gerald Meeker and FBI Special Agent Andee Trakes into a twisted and confusing investigation. Within hours, the evidence indicates the man was executed in the manner saved for werewolves. Andee Trakes is assigned to liaison with a history professor, who is an expert on folklore and legends.

Professor Alwyn Lloyd, handsome, articulate and successful, not only agrees the method of death was indeed an execution, he claims to be a werewolf. Andee is torn between the desire to date the man and the suspicion to arrest him.

From the initial killing in the park, a bloody spree is ignited that soon has Andee and Lloyd forced to work together to protect themselves and family members.

Shadow of the Moon explores the world of werewolves and paints a picture of what is good about them, as well as bad. The story explains what is beautiful as well as ugly about the wolf.

The story is fast paced and full of interesting characters and several twists and turns to keep both the fantasy as well as the suspense and romance enthusiasts entertained.

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Lockheed Elite

Lockheed Elite

Tyler Wandschneider’s Lockheed Elite is a thoroughly enjoyable soft sci-fi crime adventure – more akin to an episode of Firefly than anything else. We jump between the perspectives of a cast of intergalactic anti-heroes as they dance on the edge of the law, caught between the authoritarian Galactic Command and the ruthless criminal underbelly of the galaxy. A predictable plot is spiced up with more than a few twists and thoroughly human, flawed characters that keep you engaged right up until the end. If you’re a fan of the science fiction genre, you won’t go wrong with picking up this book.

I think the word that really summarises Lockheed Elite is: competent. The writing doesn’t sparkle off the page; it’s straightforward in its delivery. But straightforward isn’t a negative word in this context. There’s a certain relief to not having to dig through layers of purple prose to find any kind of enjoyable story. It’s an easy read, especially if you’re already au fait with the science fiction genre.

The writing was absorbing precisely because it was easy to digest. I found myself chewing through ten to twenty pages at a time before I even realised it. If the goal of a writer is to engage the reader, then Tyler Wandschneider has certainly achieved it.

This is not to say the writing is flawless; it’s occasionally hamfisted in its delivery, especially when trying to describe emotions. Characters will pontificate on the stakes or over-explain themselves, even at points where the tension – and thus the pacing – should be amping up. The effect is something of a stumbling block in some of the most exciting scenes, as we have to sit through one character or another describing how and why they feel a certain way. The characters, too, can feel generic. As with all genre fiction, a certain amount of archetypal cliché is to be expected, but it’s important to expand on those clichés too. The book takes too long to flesh those characters out, leaving many of them feeling like empty slates until it’s too late.

But I complain about these small things because I truly enjoyed this book and I see so much potential. It’s engaging and it kept me reading all the way through to the end. I think Wandschneider has done a great job in writing a solid, exciting book. This is a stellar example of a sci-fi genre piece.

Pages: 416 | ASIN: B073VHM3QG

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Captive Threat

Captive Threat (The Wade Hanna Series Book 5)

You know a story is good when it makes it to the fifth installment. A story needs to be captivating, with intriguing characters and compelling action. Readers will find all of that and more in Joseph D’Antoni’s Captive Threat. This book is an addition to his ever-popular Wade Hanna series. It’s easy to see why these books have been able to sustain themselves for so long. The life that Wade leads is not typical at all. This includes his romances. Here we find a story steeped in action with heart-pounding risks and careful planning. Those who enjoy a great action-packed crime/military intelligence novel will definitely be entertained by what occurs within these pages. Where will Wade end up this time? Will he finally get to move forward in his relationship with Megan? Or will this task finally end up being too much for him?

While this is an installment in a series, it is not wholly necessary to read the previous four books. Yes, they will provide important backstory, but D’Antoni writes in such a way that a reader will not be lost. Even the complicated aspects of Wade and Megan’s relationship is not lost in this book. It is difficult to write in such a way that you can captivate newcomers without leaving them confused. A master of his craft, it is clear that D’Antoni knows what he’s doing. At first, the book doesn’t even feel like it’s about Wade at all, but about Megan. About what she is going through after her return to American soil. She has suffered an ordeal and D’Antoni takes the required time to have her move through these complicated feelings and post-traumatic experiences. This is how you capture readers.

The character development is very well planned and carefully laid out. When you have existing characters that have been carrying on for books upon books it’s easy to swap out romantic partners or close friends in favour of an exciting new character. It is clear that our author has spent the time energy required to foster and develop the relationships from existing installments. This is something not many serial authors can accomplish. Coupled with character development are the action scenes as Wade and company foray into their battlefields. Nothing feels out of place or too over the top. There is a pleasant balance between story development and a good old-fashioned fight.

If you are looking for a book that is exciting to read while giving you those complicated portrayals of human emotion then you have found what you are looking for in Captive Threat. It’s an excellent example of a crime/military novel married to dramatic elements done right. For the series to have gone on for as many installments as it has, it is clear that something is being done right here. There is even the potential for another installment into the Wade Hanna series based solely off how our adventure ends. Your heart will race for more than one reason as you devour the words in this tale. But still we are left wondering, where will Wade end up now?

Pages: 389 | ASIN: B01M3OAV36

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Mystery Man and the Killing

Kwen D. Griffeth Author Interview

Kwen D. Griffeth Author Interview

Dead Men Walking follows Nate as he is fighting for his marriage and career while getting involved in a case involving a mysterious man, a bullet and a whole range of unanswered questions. How did you decide on the direction for this second book in the series?

Book One, The Tenth Nail, ended with several unresolved issues and questions. Book Two felt as if I was writing an additional chapter to the first book. Nate is a strong but flawed man. Just as his strength is a result of his efforts, his weaknesses are the totals of his flaws. He finds himself where he is forced to ask for help in order to survive in the world he has created from himself. Some of that sought for help has to come from people he has wronged. Mystery man and the killing involved Nate in a case that for all practical purposes was unsolvable. I felt the case assigned Nate had to be as complicated as the killing of the girl in book one. It had to be part of the stressors that pushed Nate to the brink.

Dead Men Walking begins with an intricately described murder scene. What was your inspiration for this crime and murder scene?

In truth, most crimes, especially murders, are not complicated. Most victims know their killers and in a high percentage of time are on a first name basis. Most of us really have to know a person well to hate them enough to kill them. I wanted the opening crime, the murder, to be as tough to figure out as I could make it. I hoped to detail a killing, done in broad daylight, in public view and witnessed, that yielded no easy to find clues and little evidence. I hoped to create a feeling in the reader that they, along with Nate, had to work to solve the killing. I hoped the reader would feel as if they walked along beside the big detective as he tried to solve the killing.

Between Nate dealing with his old demons, family problems, and exploring a mysterious case, we get to dig more into Nate’s character. Was there anything that surprised you about his character while you were writing all this?

Nate takes pride in being an uncomplicated man. He has always been resistant to self-examination and some of that, I think, is that he is afraid of what he’ll find if he was to risk looking beneath the superficial layer. Throughout writing the book, I felt Nate and I were in synch. There was really nothing he did that surprised me. The same cannot be said for Clare. Clare is more cerebral than her husband and she is more willing to work through mistakes than Nate. In truth, I thought she would make other choices than she did for most of the book. In fact, an original storyline was made up of different choices I expected from her. Clare, like Nate, faces challenges and is forced to make life altering decisions. She caught me off guard with some of hers.

Where does book three in the Nate & Clare series take Nate and when will it be available?

Currently, I am working on the second book of the Jack and Terri Series and as readers know, Jack and Nate become acquainted in The Tenth Nail. It is Nate’s effort to repay Jack that is a strong undercurrent of Dead Men Walking. Book three for Nate and Clare, “Dance With the Devils”, will force Nate and Jack into a closer working relationship and slightly uncomfortable friendship. The book is planned for publication in the winter of 2017.

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Dead Men Walking (Nate & Clare Book 2) by [Griffeth, Kwen]

There was no doubt the man was dead. A bullet through the head will do that. But, who was dead? The man had no identification, no known address, no Social Security information could be found, and the fingerprint search came up empty.

Detective Nate Burns, Albuquerque Police Department knew two things. The man was dead and he was blood type was O+. The most common type of blood in the country.

Dead Men Walking is a fast paced police drama that tells the story of Detective Nate Burns, a man haunted by his past. That haunting has suddenly appeared in the present.
His Captain wants him fired.
A friend is calling in a favor.
A convict wants to make a bargain
His wife is thinking of divorce.
It’s a good thing he’s serving a suspension. He’ll find time to work all this out.

Dead Men Walking is the follow up to the award winning first Nate and Clare novel, The Tenth Nail. The story continues with Nate being assigned to a most difficult case. At the same time, he is trying to salvage his marriage, and since his wife, Clare, has returned to college, he must make sure he is not late picking up his daughter from her summer reading class.

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The Enigma Broker

The Enigma Broker (The Enigma #8)

Who doesn’t love a good cyber-crime story peppered with intrigue and action? An excellent addition to that genre is none other than The Enigma Broker by Breakfield and Burkey. The current entry in a series that has chronicled an alternate future, this book is filled with thrills and chills. While the cast of characters is quite large, so much so that a single protagonist cannot be identified, the villains themselves aren’t quite so numerous, but their fearful plots are devious and cruel. It is not necessary to read previous installments in the chronicles, but it would undoubtedly be helpful at providing external context to the characters and their relationships. The intense nature of the crimes in this tale and the quick actions to circumvent them will leave readers breathless and waiting for more. There is truly very little to be disappointed with in this engaging tale.

The formatting and layout of the book is fantastic. The short-ish chapters make the story easy to read and take a break from if necessary. Some of the technical terms may go over the heads of readers and the authors have taken steps to address these concerns at the back of the book. You don’t have to be a computer genius to be able to understand what is happening, but it does not hurt to have some basic technical knowledge beyond pressing the power button on a computer. If you fall into the latter part, you may find yourself slightly lost while trying to follow those pieces of the story. The rest of the book more than makes up for that, however.

The relationships with the characters have some carry over from previous installments in this series. That can be difficult when you come into the series out of order, but it is dealt with easily by our authors. They give enough backstory and enough context that the present relationships are easily understood. As there seems to be a focus on romance and the development of these said relationships, this is crucial to get across to your readers who do not have the luxury of that backstory. The humor and action sequences are well thought out and planned accordingly. Nothing feels unnecessary or over the top. Everything has a place and the characters comply with their given roles.

A techno-thriller with a vast cast of characters can seem like more than the average reader is willing to take on. However, The Enigma Broker by Breakfield and Burkey is not one to be passed over. Any reader can tell that the research and partnership for this book was executed expertly. There is no clashing in the story where two authors disagree. Instead, this is a seamless book that flows as if it were written by one person. The romance and the action combine to give this book an added flair. Any reader would get a great read out of this.

Pages: 349 | ASIN: B01MQECQA9

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Dead Men Walking

Dead Men Walking (Nate & Clare Book 2)

Dead Men Walking, written by Kwen D Griffeth, follows Detective Nate Burns as he deals with the ramifications of a previous case that led him to fight for his job whilst he is suspended from the force. Meanwhile, Nate’s personal life is on the rocks as Clare, his wife, reveals that she is unhappy with their marriage and the anger that surrounds Nate on a daily basis. Between fighting for his marriage and career, Nate finds himself involved in a case involving a mysterious man, a bullet and a whole range of unanswered questions. Will Nate be able to save his relationship, his job and still solve one of the most complicated cases he has encountered?

Dead Men Walking begins with a intricately described murder scene that will leave nothing to the imagination. The reader will be walked through the exploding bullet, the impact and finally the target. You are given the impression that these details are important and the vivid imagery will be one that doesn’t leave your mind for some time.

Dead Men Walking is the second novel in the series and in this book we are shown a side of Nate that is normally hidden away. Nate starts to get in touch with his emotions as his love for his family and wife are brought to the surface. Old wounds will be exposed and history will be revisited in an attempt to heal the turmoil surrounding Nate. Dead Men Walking once again shows us that men and women in the police force are people too, who feel and experience the tragedies they encounter daily in order to protect our families. At times the story line was quite emotive and made you consider the impact of what everyday people are experiencing in order to keep us safe.

Between Nate dealing with his old demons and family problems, he is exploring a case of a mysterious man who has basically been labelled as a “well dressed homeless man” with no identity. The case is quickly slipping into being closed with the force running low with murder investigators but Nate is determined to find out more details. This launches the story into a whodunit style police investigation and the reader will be kept on the edge of their seat as clues to the puzzle are uncovered.

The story line is smooth, the writing vivid and the characters complex. Griffeth has a beautiful way of describing a scene and every intricate detail without drawing away from the plot line or boring the reader. Never been inside a police station or seen how their operations work? Dead Men Walking will take you through the inside, allowing you to visualize the physical attributes of a police station as well as the mental and emotional parts of those who serve. You will also be treated to the other side, where criminals in jail show their softer side as they desperately want to help their family.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a crime story mixed with a dash of romance and adventure.

Pages: 350 | ASIN: B071FLPQZ8

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The Voynich Gambit

The Voynich Gambit: The Sequel to Guarding Shakespeare (Norman Blalock Mysteries Book 2)

Author Quintin Peterson returns from Guarding Shakespeare with his next enthralling piece of crime heist fiction, The Voynich Gambit. The cunning mind of Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock is put to the test when a slew of D.C.’s most infamous artifact dealers set their sights on a mysterious treasure of immense value, the Voynich Manuscript. Blalock must outwit and outmaneuver enemies from all angles in this gripping noir tale of mystery, motive, and deceit. True to style, Peterson beautifully weaves the rich history of The Folger Shakespeare Library and the manuscript into the gritty drive of its ruthless pursuers. The Voynich Gambit is an epic tale of cat-and-mouse, arguably fit for a play by the Bard himself.

The novel is set in a bustling modern day D.C., a mecca of polished skyscrapers, historic landmarks, and endless traffic. Peterson’s vivid imagery is infused throughout the novel, generously describing the luxury of these looming buildings. At the Folger Shakespeare Library in downtown, Lieutenaunt Norman Blalock has been working as a security guard for over two decades, protecting its treasures from the likes of handsy museum-goers and would-be theives alike. His seasoned tenure makes him a trusted employee to the security staff, but it also makes him an invaluable asset to Rupert Whyte, an aristocratic con-artist who is scheming up a heist fit for the history books. Whyte reads from the pages like a regular King Pin – a ruthless blueblood brimming with determination for ill-gotten gains. When he requests that Blalock palm the Voynich Manuscript, an ancient archive of medical knowledge, Blalock must decide where his true loyalties lie – in riches or in righteousness. This is a conflict as old as time, weighing greed against integrity, and Norman is no exception to this struggle.

To complicate matters even more, the buxom beauty Kavitha Netram has arrived at Blalock’s door, suitcase in hand. Kavitha certainly has the looks to be a trophy wife, but Norman must trust his instinct that she’s here for much more than just a cuddle buddy. As their relationship begins to develop, author Peterson injects a modest amount of cheeky pop culture into the mix, noting some current brands along with a famous U2 song. These moments of reference feel quirky and endearing, and offer a refreshing change of tone from the steep historical passages. Don’t be surprised to find yourself absent-mindedly humming along to “With or Without You” as you read along.

As it becomes obvious to Norman that Rupert Whyte isn’t the only artifact dealer dipping his hands into the cookie jar, he must strive to stay two steps ahead of this dangerous game of fidelity and fortune. Peterson’s quick writing style will keep you engaged, even through the varying pace of lavish history and casual conversation. Peterson writes confidently, and it’s admittedly impressive how far his knowledge seems to spread. Art, history, crime, action, and romance – The Voynich Gambit honestly has it all. I would heartily recommend it to any fellow lovers of the noir style.

Pages: 152 | ASIN: B072BHSNKZ

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Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody

Suzy Spitfire is a take-no-bull fugitive on the run. Her best friend Aiko, who was her father’s lab assistant and is also on the run, wants to see her and she’s taking a big risk by coming back to Earth. She wastes her time at the bar flirting with Ricardo until Aiko shows up. Her friend reveals the location of a top-secret Artificial Intelligence her father developed for the government, and also informs her that her dad’s death was a murder, not an accident. Almost on cue, the bar is raided by the feds. Ricardo comes to their rescue (while stealing a case of whiskey on the way out) and they are on the run again, this time with a price on their heads and Special Forces on their heels.

With the feds, a fleet of pirates, and a criminal gang all gunning for them, this crew of outlaws has nowhere to turn. Blurr, the Special Forces commander, has no qualms about using extreme methods to get what he wants. Getting to Suzy – and the secrets she knows – would be even better.

I really got into the rapid-fire action. There’s never a dull moment in this book. Suzy is a larger-than-life antihero who would rather shoot than talk, and when she does speak, it’s usually a string of smartass remarks. Surrender is for weaklings and arguments are best ended with her pistol set on “stun” so she can mock the loser later. The action escalates through the book, with the crew of the Correcaminos Rojo bouncing between criminals, pirates, and the law, trapped on posh spaceships, hell-hole prisons, and domed spaceports. Her banter with Ricardo is fun, and her inability to keep her mouth shut gets her in trouble more than once.

Along the way, Suzy begins to second-guess her impulse to fight and starts listening to Ricardo. There may be a lot more to the guy besides his stunning good looks and bad poetry. She realizes she might be falling for him, but she can’t be sure that he’s not working for one of the factions trying to chase her down. It makes for a nice romantic subplot that may or may not involve bullets before it’s all over.

I also liked getting occasional glimpses into the stories of the people on the other side of the fight. Getting insight into what was going on behind the action provided a break between fight scenes and added a lot of scheming and intrigue. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but getting the inside scoop on other key characters added a lot of excitement to the story.

If I had to criticize one thing, it would be that the action gets a little repetitive. Several encounters with enemies are similar, but the great thing is that none of these situations resolve in the same way. It was nice to see the characters playing to their strengths and weaknesses, and the author does a great job at blending screwball humor into the mix. There is a minor loose end concerning a secondary character, but that might be covered in a sequel.

I would absolutely recommend this for a quick, fun, summer read. It’s a great blend of over-the-top action that reads like classic pulp fiction, and characters who play their tropes for all they’re worth. Suzie Spitfire Kills Everybody will leave you smiling.

Pages: 297 | ASIN: B072PXT1P7

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People-Watching

Michael Pronko Author Interview

Michael Pronko Author Interview

The Last Train revolves around Michiko Suzuki and the team of detectives that are investigating the train murders. What was the inspiration to the setup to this thrilling novel?

For quite a few years I was writing about jazz every week, so I was always going to Roppongi and Shinjuku and Shibuya, nightlife parts of the city. I’d see the hostesses who work in all the clubs there, and they would often be in the jazz clubs. They were almost always strikingly attractive, but underneath that seemed some sadness. Whatever one thinks of their work, the women seemed smart. What impressed me most, though, was the great personal dignity with which they carried themselves. So, I started wondering what kind of life those women lived, and what if they turned the tables. What if one of those people-savvy women took things into her own hands to do things men usually do? And what was this odd dynamic between men and women that seemed so unfair to women, but then again, was something else, too. Many Japanese women might not even say Japanese society is unfair exactly, perhaps because Tokyo is home to a vibrant urban culture where women are incredibly free to do what they want and live how they like. But, what would that freedom turn into if taken to an extreme? Michiko is that extreme. The men struggle to catch up.

Michiko is the daughter of a factory owner whose mother died when she was young. Her character continues to get deeper as the story progresses. What did you use as a starting point for the character and what was your guidance as you built the character?

I think the way Michiko grew as a character was based on my observation of women, and men, in Tokyo, but all kinds of women, not just hostesses. There’s a lot of people TO observe in Tokyo, for one thing, but I like to talk and interact with people as much as I can. Michiko is a “typical” character in that her experience parallels the shift in Japan from a manufacturing society, which is where Michiko grew up, to an information and service society, which is how she makes money. I wondered how that shift affected women? Is it easier for women to adapt to economic changes than men, or harder? Michiko is working class in origin, growing up above a factory, but she turns herself into something else altogether through her own efforts. She’s tough and resilient, which is how I see most Japanese women, and yet still very feminine in traditional ways. She has no hesitation to compete in a man’s world, and to do it on her own terms. Like many characters, once she was created, everything followed from that.

The novel takes place in Tokyo. Why did you choose a train station in Japan as the setting to your novel?

Trains are one of the things I love most about Tokyo, but they are also these huge masses of steel shooting through a very densely populated city. Just as America is built around the car, Tokyo is built around trains. Suicides on the train lines, sadly, happen all too often.

I came upon the clean-up after a suicide one time years ago, and the image stayed with me.

Like every other commuter, I have been stuck waiting on a train or a platform when a suicide shuts down the entire train system. It’s so shocking because usually everything runs on time. So, I guess, if you transplant the American car chase to Tokyo, it becomes a train chase, or a chase on a train. I also like that as a setting because trains and train stations are great levelers. Everyone takes the train, together, equally. I also love trains and train stations because I can completely indulge in people-watching. It’s startling how many people you see in a day. Still, it’s never so lonely as in a crowd, and there’s always a crowd in Tokyo.

What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next novel is called Japan Hand and Detective Hiroshi is again in the lead, together with Sakaguchi. They investigate the death of a long-time Japan specialist who helped negotiate the complicated relations between Japan and America, including the US military bases in Japan. That novel should be out by December of this year or early 2018. The next one after that is called Thai Girl in Tokyo and will be out in spring of 2018. I’ve finished writing those both, so they’re now being edited and polished.

Pages: 348 | ASIN: B071DPXP7M

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