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Took On A Life Of Its Own

Steve Zimcosky Author Interview

Murder at Manzanar follows a private eye with a knack for finding things others cannot who ends up uncovering more than he anticipated. What was your inspiration for the mystery that must be unraveled?

2022 was the 80-year anniversary of the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. I had been reading quite a bit about it and wondered how I could weave it into a story. As part of my research, I came across how many Japanese families had to just walk away from their homes and businesses never to see them again because of unscrupulous people, who conned them out of everything they owned. They were only allowed to take what they could carry when they were dispersed to various camps around the country. It wasn’t until 1990 that the US government paid out reparations to those who survived the internment camps. I thought about how interesting it would be to see how one Japanese family was conned out of their business and how the wrong came full circle to the detriment of the person who stole it.

How did the mystery develop for this story? Did you plan it before writing, or did it develop organically?

It developed gradually and I had some input from one of my Tai Chi students who happens to be a Buddhist priest she told me about a story that she thought would be interesting for a book and I asked her if I could use part of it and she gave me the permission to do so. From there the story took on a life of its own and I just put down on paper.

Was there a reason why you chose this location as the backdrop for your story?

The backdrop for my story is pretty much the same as all of the Polish Dragon P. I. stories. They, mostly take place in Northeast Ohio where I was born and raised. On occasion, Tom or Suzie may travel away from Ohio but always return to their home state. I like to share little tidbits about where I grew up. People don’t realize what a great place Northeastern Ohio is to live in. Things have changed over the years and Cleveland is a top vacation destination. It even has quite the food scene for all of you foodies out there. Right now Cleveland has three chefs who were named semi-finalists for the James Beard award. Time magazine calls the James Beard award the Oscars of the food world.

I hope the series continues in other books. If so, where will the story take readers next time? 

The story has continued with two more novellas following Murder at Manzanar. They are The Dragon is Missing and Finding Ami. In these two books, Suzie gets more of the spotlight, especially as the first title states Tom ends up going missing and Suzie must find him. In Finding Ami, she has to do a lot of the work because, well let’s just say Tom was out of the picture. I hope everyone enjoys reading them as much as I like writing them.

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When a Buddhist statue is broken in a temple, an envelope is found hidden inside. The name on the envelope is not anyone associated with the temple. The minister hires the Polish Dragon P. I. to find the person and deliver the letter. While attempting to find the person the Polish Dragon P. I. finds himself digging into the past and uncovering a murder and perhaps spying at one of the Japanese internment camps during World War II. The protagonist finds himself in the midst of corporate espionage and maybe even the Yakuza.

Murder at Manzanar 

Murder at Manzanar is an incredibly detailed and exciting story written by Steve Zimcosky. The gripping story follows a retired police officer who is also a talented private detective. Tom Sipowicz is contacted after a Buddhist statue is broken, revealing an old envelope addressed to Hideki Sakura, who no one knows who this is. Tom is employed to trace the owner of this mysterious envelope. Along the way, Tom interacts with several elders, who openly discuss their personal experiences of Japanese Internment camps. The eye-opening stories bring the reader’s attention to the atrocities many individuals faced during World war 2 at the hands of the US. This is an essential piece of history cleverly placed within this comprehensive book. The author describes in detail the process of finding the missing Hideki Sakura, speaking to many people with whom the protagonist may never have interacted otherwise.

I think this book is a fabulous read. It keeps the reader focused, and the author has an eye for details. I believe each character, from Tom to the elders he talks to throughout, is described in a way the reader can picture, which creates a good image of the story in the reader’s head.

Zimcosky creates a heartfelt story that discusses history in a remarkably well-written subtle way, which the reader can take away with them once the book is complete. The book’s pace is perfect for teen readers, keeping them engaged in the plotline. The addition of historical information is an added bonus that educators will appreciate. I think the writing style sets an excellent image for the reader and keeps them intrigued, allowing for an easy, relaxing read.

Murder at Manzanar is a captivating cozy mystery that draws on history and exceptional character development to keep readers interested. This short and fast-paced novel is perfect for picking up and reading on a lazy afternoon or when you need a clean intriguing mystery to solve.

Pages: 160 | ASIN : B0B3S7ZFHQ

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